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College of Education Structure

“Generalist” Educator Preparation Committee

“Generalist” Educator Preparation Committee Members: Lisa Beymer, Deb Carter, Sherry Dismuke, Patricia Hampshire, Margaret Mulhern, Eun Hye Son, Lida Uribe-Flórez, A. J. Zenkert

Proposal for Coordinating “Generalist” Educator Preparation Work

College Structure Steering Committee

College Structure Steering Committee Members: Heather Williams (elected leader), Kristin Batten, Michele Carney, Diana Esbensen, Jeremy Ford, Meghan Gebhart, Yu-Chang Hsu, Evelyn Johnson, Kerry Rice, Arturo Rodriguez, Michael Rupp Talamantez, A.J. Zenkert

Committee Meeting Notes

Initial College of Education Structure Steering Committee February 2021 survey results

February 2021 Update from the Initial College of Education Structure Steering Committee

As you may be aware, an initial steering committee for the College of Education structure was established to define a shared purpose for the college and to inform decisions regarding possible structures for organizing the work of the college. Our committee has concluded its initial phase of the work. Please find attached the final draft of our recommendations. In the interest of promoting greater transparency and collaboration, our committee is sharing this final document directly with all members of the College of Education.

Next steps

Establish a committee of stakeholder representatives from various college groups (including, but not limited, to faculty, staff, and student members from academic, research, clinical, and Center agencies) as well as a representative for college leadership to engage in further examination of the issues and establish a framework for analysis.

Initial College of Education Structure Steering Committee Members: Heather Williams, Kristin Batten, Yu-Chang Hsu, Evelyn Johnson, Kerry Rice, Arturo Rodriguez, A.J. Zenkert

College of Education Structure FAQs

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below were developed in response to questions posed by faculty and staff in the survey that followed the Spring 2021 opening college meeting. We will continue to add new questions and answers as we move forward. Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit additional questions through the form at the end of the FAQs.


How did we get here? Why might we benefit from new college structures?

This is an unprecedented year with a confluence of priorities that we are all experiencing, including: (a) the pandemic and resulting impacts on the university, (b) university strategic planning, (c) program prioritization, and (d) budget reductions and an uncertain fiscal climate. 

Conversations about potential restructuring have taken place in the college on and off for several years for various reasons. Those conversations resurfaced as we entered this academic year, initially driven by concerns about ongoing budget reductions and discussions about strategic planning and investments and who we want to be as a college within a changing university.

The confluence of priorities taking place this year have influenced the discussion in different ways at different points in time. Ultimately, the reasons why we are considering restructuring include the following: (a) to help us better align and showcase our identity and to strengthen the college within the university vision, strategic planning goals and future direction with investments in certain aspects of that identify, (b) to strengthen programs through enhanced collaboration and alignment (this may include some combining and/or redesigning of programs), (c) to find efficiencies in the administration of the college, departments and programs that allow us to invest in new ways, and (d) to enhance student support and the student experience through redesign from a student-centered perspective. Ultimately, these changes could also address the expectations of Program Prioritization, which focus on continuous improvement, discontinuance or significant revision of program offerings, and enhanced alignment to university priorities and vision as well as address the needs of potential budget cuts by realizing administrative efficiencies that allow us to continue providing high quality programs and services to students.

How was the proposed three department restructure developed?

The College of Education Leadership Team began conversations with a focus on college vision and how we seek to define ourselves moving forward. The entire Leadership Team engaged in exercises to align work in the college with the proposed university strategic planning goals (at the time, those included: advance research & creative activity; pursue innovation; create a thriving community; serve all of Idaho; trailblaze new connections). Discussions around potential restructuring focused on ways to highlight the college vision, enhance student support, share resources, and align curriculum. A variety of formats were discussed, including a potential “flat structure”. The deans met with the School of Public Service to learn more about the flat structure in SPS and consider how it might work in the College of Education. With challenges identified through that meeting (increased cost, difficulty filling positions, challenges with structures that don’t align with university systems), a decision was made to focus on department structures. The Leadership Team wanted a possible structure to discuss as we moved forward. The deans created a three-department structure focused on current programming in the college. The three-department structure shared at the opening college meeting was shared with the Leadership Team at the end of October for discussion with the main purpose of making a high-level decision about whether or not to move forward with restructuring discussions as a college. The decision from the Leadership Team was to move forward with conversations and considerations for restructuring — the focus was on whether to move conversations forward and not on deciding how to restructure or any specifics about the departmental structure.

Are these actual proposed department names?

These are not proposed names. The three proposed departments were organized around big ideas – connected to programming – within the college.

Why is this idea just being shared with faculty if the Leadership Team has been discussing it for an entire semester?

Discussions amongst the College of Education Leadership Team during Fall 2020 were preliminary and focused on whether or not restructuring was worth exploring as a college. The Leadership Team absolutely recognizes the importance of including faculty and staff voices from across the college and sought to begin that work once it was determined that potential restructuring was worth exploring. This is the beginning of the college dialogue.

The three-department diagram shared does not include all current programs or Centers connected to the college. Where would they fit?

The proposed three-department framework that was shared included only degree programs and undergraduate certificate programs that are aligned with a teaching endorsement. The college has numerous additional undergraduate certificate and graduate certificate programs that were not reflected in order to begin from a simple picture with general ideas. Since the shared framework focused on degree programs, important areas of our work (e.g., educational foundations) are not reflected in name. This is not a reflection that they would no longer be a part of the college. The shared proposal included some potential spaces for integration of programs. Those have not yet been fleshed out with proposed titles or content in anticipation of engaging invested faculty in those discussions. Finally, because the shared framework focused on programs, it did not represent centers which are an integral part of the college work and identity. Future work of committees will explore possible structures, including the way in which all areas of our work, including centers, connect across the college.

What is the benefit for students to restructure? What happens to students in existing programs?

Current student feedback is that the college structure is difficult to navigate – particularly to those students we serve in instructional degree programs outside the college. Initial discussions have focused on the following potential benefits for students: (a) clarity in program options/opportunities, (b) greater alignment across programs, and (c) integrated opportunities for recruiting and student support across programs. As planning for restructuring continues with further fleshed out ideas and understandings, benefits to students will be a central part of the discussion. If programs are discontinued, merged with other programs, or significantly revised as a result of restructuring and/or any one or more of the confluence of priorities taking place this year, currently enrolled students will be served through to a degree completion as best fits their needs.

What does “reducing administrative costs” mean?

During the January college meeting, it was shared that the proposed plan for restructuring would result in a reduction in administrative costs. With the current proposal, those administrative savings focus on a reduction of one Associate Dean and two Department Chairs as well as anticipated reductions in program coordination connected to a reduction in the overall number of programs.

How does the university’s developing strategic plan impact and inform this work?

The university has been engaging in a strategic planning process throughout this academic year. These changes in university goals and strategic priorities absolutely influence restructuring considerations in the College of Education. An essential goal for restructuring, in fact, focuses on defining the college within the future direction of the university. Any new college structures should consider enhancing opportunities for strategic investments in university mission/goals. Faculty and staff can read more about university strategic planning, including the strategic planning goals and strategies here:

Where are we now? How can faculty be involved and have a voice in the process?

The Initial College Structure Steering Committee, made up of representatives from across the college, met four times at the end of January and early February, concluding their work with a statement of purpose, a rationale for an affirmative decision to move forward, a list of opportunities this work may provide, recommendations to leadership, and a recommended timeline. They shared their report with recommendations and it is also linked on this webpage.

In line with recommendations from the Initial College Structure Steering Committee, a new committee will be formed with stakeholder representatives from various college groups (including, but not limited, to faculty, staff, and student members from academic research, clinical, and Center agencies) as well as a representative for college leadership to:

  • Engage in an examination of the current College structure and existing proposals/prior work
  • Engage in an examination of potential new College structures
  • Engage in an examination of other potential paths forward

This committee will be formed as soon as possible. In recognition that not all faculty and staff will be in a position to serve on this committee, both the Leadership Team and the committee will explore opportunities for faculty and staff to ask questions and offer feedback and suggestions.

What is the timeline?

Following recommendations from the Initial College Structure Steering Committee, a new representative committee will be formed as soon as possible. This committee will focus on the medium-term goals (before May 1) outlined by the Initial College Structure Steering Committee:

  • Propose and finalize the committee’s recommendation on the next step on the College structure, including: (a) engage in an examination of the current College structure and existing proposals/prior work, (b) engage in an examination of potential new College structures, and (c) engage in an examination of other potential paths forward.
  • Communicate recommendations to College of Education
  • Begin long-term planning to guide college stakeholders through decided changes and create avenues for feedback
  • Integrate resulting changes into the dean’s search to ensure that plans carry forward under new leadership

Additional questions?

College Structure Questions

Additional questions or feedback submitted through this form will be shared with members of the Initial College of Education Structure Steering Committee and the Leadership Team.
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