September 14

UM organizational proposals and instructional staffing under discussion

From: <>
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2018 3:52 PM
Subject: UM organizational proposals and instructional staffing under discussion

Dear Colleagues,

Last week, I shared a working draft of potential academic program reorganizations with the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate (ECOS). Some of the contents of the document I shared with ECOS are based on the draft recommendations for UM’s future President Bodnar released last spring.

After releasing his draft recommendations, President Seth Bodnar invited feedback from the campus community. That feedback and the work of the University Planning Committee (UPC) have informed the working draft I shared with ECOS for discussion now that faculty are back on campus. Any program reorganizations or curricular change proposals that move forward will go through our established review and recommendation processes.

Soon after starting as UM Provost, I sent the deans a memo explaining the process underway to develop instructional staffing budget targets for academic units. The process involves both an intensive analysis of trends in student demand and staffing levels, as well as an effort to align program resources to the university’s strategic priorities. The instructional staffing budget targets will be used to help academic units make realistic projections and recommendations for future staffing, and will allow the administration to make strategic investments in programs and units that are poised for growth.

Instructional staffing budgets are developing as follows:

  1. Department chairs and deans reviewed data associated with their units and provided feedback.
  2. An executive team reviewed the wealth of information already available from previous initiatives, the UPC’s Stage 1 analysis of last spring as well as the Academic Program and Services Prioritization (APASP) unit reports of summer and fall 2017, and is developing recommendations about programs and units to be considered for strategic investment. I selected executive team members to bring a wide range of perspectives to this work. The team, which I chair, is composed of Cathy Cole, vice president for enrollment and strategic communications; Scott Whittenburg, vice president for research and creative scholarship; Kelly Webster, chief of staff; Paul Kirgis, UPC co-convener and dean of the Alexander Blewett III School of Law.
  3. I will deliver instructional staffing budget targets, to be attained by June 30, 2021, to each academic unit by September 26, 2018. Units will then be asked to develop recommendations for instructional staffing plans that will guide decisions over the coming three years.

If staffing plan recommendations include any curricular changes, these changes will go through our shared governance process for review and recommendation. If staffing plan recommendations include personnel changes, these changes will follow procedures detailed in the faculty collective bargaining agreement.

This process is currently taking place only on the Mountain Campus. The UPC chose not to focus on Missoula College in its analysis, and therefore Missoula College has embarked on a separate prioritization process.

The Office of the Provost communicated actively with Faculty Senate and University Faculty Association (UFA) leaders about these potential changes and the process for implementing them. I am deeply impressed by the collaborative spirit expressed by Faculty Senate and UFA leaders, who understand and support our shared desire to act strategically.

I understand that change is hard, but it is necessary. President Bodnar has laid out an exciting vision for UM’s future that is founded on student success. Our campus has undergone three separate attempts at program prioritization, and I’m told morale has dropped each time recommendations have been made and not implemented.

The potential reorganizations we are discussing now are an outcome of years of incredibly complex and hard work by those who worked on AAIP, APASP, and the UPC. To serve students and use our precious resources strategically, it is time for our campus to honor that work and take a step forward.

The updated timeline for moving forward on instructional staffing plans is:



Sept. 26, 2018

Instructional staffing budget targets provided to Deans and Chairs

Oct. 12, 2018

Deadline for faculty to submit Voluntary End of Employment form (details forthcoming)

Oct. 26, 2018

Deans submit recommendations for achieving unit instructional staffing budgets to the Provost and any curricular impact items from staffing plans go to Faculty Senate for review

Nov. 5, 2018

President forms Review Committee (CBA 18.530) if needed for retrenchment

Dec. 20, 2018

Faculty Senate provides recommendations to the President on curricular impact items from staffing plans

Jan. 15, 2018

Review committee provides report to President

March 8, 2019

Board of Regents considers retrenchment plan

Please direct any questions you have about this process to

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Jon Harbor, Provost


This email was sent to all UM administrators, faculty, staff, and affiliates by the Office of the Provost.