Posted December 12, 2011 Atlanta, GA
Office of the Provost
The Office of the Provost has recently finalized a recalibrated organizational structure, with a streamlined leadership team and refined areas of scope, in support of its core academic responsibilities and the goals outlined in the Institute’s 25-year strategic plan.
The changes reflect feedback received through an internal review including interviews with key stakeholders, and in particular the leadership of the colleges. The feedback pointed to the need for a flatter organization focused on the needs of students and faculty, with greater operational coordination and consistency across the units.
In response, the reorganized structure includes eliminating a layer of senior management, reducing the number of vice provosts, creating a new office dedicated to graduate student and faculty affairs and grouping similar functions to create efficiencies. These actions will also result in substantial cost savings within the Office of the Provost.
In a presentation to Provost’s Office employees to introduce the preliminary organization last month, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Rafael L. Bras outlined planning priorities for academic affairs. The new structure builds on these priorities, which include leveraging the Clough Commons, increasing faculty and student interactions, continuing growth and investment in the faculty, and developing clearer pathways in key areas such as educational technology and international activities.
“The strategic plan is clear in its emphasis on students and excellence in our educational programs. Each of our decisions was guided by input received during the review process and by the educational mission and goals articulated in the strategic plan, including the pursuit of institutional effectiveness,” said Bras. “Above all, we seek to serve the best interests of students, faculty and the staff who support them.”
The Office of the Provost will consist of two primary leadership teams: the deans — those who lead the academic units, develop and deliver education, and grant credit and degrees — and the vice provosts, who provide leadership and services in support of academic programs, students and faculty.
Fundamentally, the organizational structure for the deans does not change, though Bras did announce that the role of vice provost for Distance Learning and Professional Education, held by Nelson Baker, would be retitled as dean of Professional Education. Additionally, the role of the dean of Libraries, held by Catherine Murray-Rust, will be renamed the vice provost for learning excellence and the dean of Libraries, supporting the functions related to educational excellence and assessment.
“Fostering learning excellence and pedagogical support for our students and faculty, as well as providing lifelong learning to students both locally and around the world, is consistent with what we want to achieve as part of our educational mission,” Bras said.
The organizational review focused primarily on the major units within the provost’s organization.
Recommendations led to the elimination of five vice provost titles and the creation of two new vice provosts — one to oversee undergraduate education and another to focus on graduate education and faculty affairs. These two positions will be posted internally to identify faculty leaders in these areas. During the searches, Anderson Smith will serve as interim vice provost for undergraduate education and Ray Vito will serve as interim vice provost for graduate education and faculty affairs.
The provost also announced the formation of a standing faculty committee to provide recommendations on the strategic development of technology that improves the student learning experience. Chaired by the Center for 21st Century Universities Director Richard DeMillo, the Council for Educational Technology establishes an entity that will set the vision, policies and organizing principles in this area.
In creating this leadership structure, Bras said his goal was to foster a culture of empowerment, action and accountability, providing his leadership team with the authority to make and support decisions within their scope of responsibilities.
The second phase of transition will occur over the coming months, as the vice provosts review and refine their units in accordance with the priorities outlined by the organizational study.
To learn more about the provost’s strategy, priorities and organizational plans, visit http://provost.gatech.edu/reorg.