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Feb. 5, 2016
When the 2016-2017 academic year begins, Northwest Missouri State University’s division of academic affairs will feature a new organizational structure that the University’s chief academic officer says reflects a 21st-century university and supports profession-based learning.
Effective July 1, Northwest Provost Dr. Timothy Mottet announced today, the University will leave behind the academic college structure it has followed for decades and adopt one consisting of professional schools led by directors who will report directly to the provost. Deans who have traditionally led the academic colleges and other academic areas will become associate provosts.
“This restructuring flattens the organization and empowers academic units to develop new and innovative academic programming and to be more connected to the organizations who hire our graduates,” Mottet said. “It’s allowing us to be more nimble and interdisciplinary, which both students and faculty are requesting.”
The reorganization was set in motion last year, Mottet said, when a candidate selected to fill Northwest’s vacant dean role in the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth College of Business and Professional Studies rescinded his acceptance of Northwest’s offer. As a result, Northwest appointed Michael L. Faust as visiting dean of the Booth College and reconfigured that college’s three academic departments as professional schools as part of a pilot program.
Early success of the pilot prompted academic leaders to rethink Northwest’s former Department of Health and Human Services, which had been based in the College of Education and Human Services. That initiative led to the development of a new, free-standing, multi-disciplinary School of Health Science and Wellness, which the University launched last fall, officially making it Northwest’s first professional school.
Concluding the pilot program in preparation for the fall 2016 trimester, Northwest will officially dissolve the Booth College and retain its academic departments as professional schools, known as the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business, the School of Communication and Mass Media, and the School of Agricultural Sciences.
Additionally, Northwest will dissolve its College of Education and Human Services and reorganize the Department of Professional Education as the School of Education. The computer science unit, which currently is housed within the College of Arts and Sciences and an academic department that also includes the University’s mathematics programming, will form a new School of Computer Science and Information Systems.
Northwest will, however, retain its College of Arts and Sciences, which will house the departments of English and Modern Languages, Fine and Performing Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, and Natural Sciences.
Professional schools, Mottet explains, represent academic units closely aligned with a profession, while academic departments contain broader disciplines. Mottet said the restructuring is still evolving and faculty-driven.
“There was never a master plan,” Mottet said. “This has developed into an elegant organizational structure that all started with the rescinding of the Booth dean and faculty willingness. This is an example of faculty who have trusted the process, and I am deeply appreciative of that.”
In conjunction with the restructuring, Mottet has announced the appointments of faculty to lead the new schools and administrators to associate provost roles. In doing so, he emphasized the University is not adding positions but reallocating resources from within academic affairs.
Associate Professor Dr. Carol Spradling will serve as director of the School of Computer Science and Information Systems. Associate Professor Dr. Timothy Wall will serve as dean of the School of Education, Mottet said, noting the dean classification aligns with constituency and external groups in the education sector.
Mottet said Spradling and Wall emerged from an internal faculty-led nomination process that included opportunities for faculty to interact with the nominees and provide feedback about their leadership qualities.
“In addition to having the support of their faculty colleagues, both of these individuals have impressive academic credentials, leadership experience, and clear ideas about how to advance their academic disciplines,” Mottet said.
Dr. Steve Ludwig will serve as director of the Booth School of Business, Dr. Matt Walker will serve as director of the School of Communication and Mass Media, and Rod Barr will serve as director of the School of Agricultural Sciences, retaining the roles they served during the pilot.
Northwest is conducting an external search for its next director of the School of Health Science and Wellness. Dr. Matt Symonds, the school’s founding director, will return to service as a full-time faculty member in July.
Regarding Northwest’s transition from deans to associate provosts, Mottet further explained the division of academic affairs is being reorganized by functions rather than academic content. The new structure will be organized by the functional areas of undergraduate studies and those within the College of Arts and Sciences, graduate studies and special programs, enrollment management and student success, and the professional schools.
Dr. Michael Steiner, who serves as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will become associate provost of undergraduate studies and oversee the departments within the College of Arts and Sciences as well as Northwest’s Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing. Steiner also will oversee the newly revised general education program now referred to as the Northwest Core.
Bev Schenkel, the University’s dean of enrollment management, will become associate provost of enrollment management and student success. Schenkel and her team will oversee the Office of Admissions and student services including the Registrar’s Office, the Office of Financial Assistance, Career Services, Orientation and Transfer Affairs, Advisement Assistance, and a suite of retention services including Talent Development Center, Trio programs and the first-year experience.
Northwest also will launch a national search for an associate provost of graduate studies and special programs, an opening created by the dissolution of the College of Education and Human Services and the pending retirement of Dr. Joyce Piveral, who has served as that college’s dean.
Additionally, the new structure allows the University to have a vice provost to oversee the University’s accreditation, including curriculum and assessment, and assist the provost with leadership of the division of academic affairs. Although the vice provost position is not new to Northwest’s organizational structure, Dr. Greg Haddock has not served in the role full-time due to being tapped to serve multiple roles simultaneously; in recent years, Haddock has served simultaneously as dean of the Graduate School and interim dean of the Booth College of Business and Professional Studies as well as vice provost.
Rounding out the reorganization, Dr. Terry Barmann will serve as director of Northwest-Kansas City, a renewed extension of the University’s Maryville campus that provides educational solutions in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Northwest-Kansas City – which opens next fall at the Northland Innovation Center in Gladstone, Missouri – will facilitate dual credit programs with area high schools and through the Northland CAPS program, provide completion programs for area community college students, offer graduate programs for working professionals, and meet workforce development needs. Students also will have access to more support services and programs than were available previously Northwest’s Kansas City Center.
Mottet outlined several reasons for the restructuring, including the need for an organizational structure that promotes, coordinates and manages interdisciplinary studies; retention efforts; general education; a new, emerging academic vision focused on profession-based learning; and a set of functions that ensures faculty development, quality programming and student learning.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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