Public comments to be considered on grad school restructuring

Most comments were made by University faculty, an administrator says.

Since the period for making public comments on the draft report by the Committee on Graduate Education closed on May 24 , faculty and graduate students are now awaiting announcements of decisions and next steps regarding Graduate School restructuring as the comments are reviewed. The committee, which was charged with making recommendations for Graduate School restructuring, released its report on April 24. The public then had one month to comment on the proposed recommendations. Although the committee has not met to discuss the comments, Committee Chairman and Dean of the Institute of Technology Steven Crouch said they were posted to an internal secure website that members were able to access. Around 50 or 60 comments were submitted, Crouch said, and most were from faculty. âÄúOverall, people thought the report was fair and balanced,âÄù he said. âÄúThe responses were positive.âÄù However, he said there were also a number of instances when a comment made a suggestion or questioned why a specific recommendation was made or why there wasnâÄôt more supporting evidence for a recommendation. The comments were compiled by the committee and forwarded verbatim to Senior Vice President and Provost Tom Sullivan and University President Bob Bruininks for review. Committee member Henning Schroeder , associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Pharmacy , said the committee has not been asked to reconvene, but he hopes the public comments will be taken into consideration. âÄúI think the public comments will play a significant role in the decision-making process,âÄù Schroeder said. âÄúOtherwise, why write a 50-page report and open it up to comments?âÄù He said student and faculty input is crucial. âÄúThat says to me very clearly that whatever the next step is going to be, student and faculty opinion counts,âÄù Schroeder said. Anna Clark and Harvey Sarles , co-authors of a University Senate resolution that disapproves of the ProvostâÄôs plan to dissolve the Graduate School, said they hope the resolution will also be taken into consideration in the decision-making process. A vote was taken on April 30 and the resolution passed with 135 in favor, 17 opposed and nine abstentions. Clark said she authored the resolution because faculty should be consulted before a decision is made and should work together with University administration. âÄúThe Provost, I think, made a strategic error in trying to impose these ideas on the faculty without consultation,âÄù Clark said. âÄúThe University is not like a corporation. It is supposed to be collegial.âÄù Sarles said those opposed to the resolution said that the Provost should be able to decide what happens and that making decisions is the administrationâÄôs job. âÄúItâÄôs a question about how the University is run,âÄù Sarles said. âÄúWe think the faculty should have a much greater voice, maybe a continuous voice.âÄù Sullivan could not be reached by press time, but University spokesman Dan Wolter said in an e-mail that since the public comment period recently ended, University President Bob Bruininks and Provost Sullivan are in the process of reviewing those comments and considering community input. He said they will be engaging in more consultations with key groups as necessary. No decisions have been made, but they anticipate announcements about decisions sometime this summer.