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(Grad) School’s Out: Post-Implementation Planning

From Comments on Higher Ed about the Coup at the U:

This decision to close the Grad School was made without sufficient consultation and planning.

Unlike Stanford and MIT, the University of Minnesota is a much larger university, and a public land-grant university at that. It is doubtful that distributing grad school functions to the local programs will work in such a large, complex university.

In the provost’s message, graduate programs are promised more ‘responsibility and control’ yet are not offered specific resources with which to do this. It is feared that already-overburdened staff and mid-level administrators will be handed one more unfunded mandate.

And many central functions of the Graduate School are beyond the capability of local programs and personnel: as just one example, more than half the applicants to this Grad School are international. Their applications require a long articulated sequence of processing, from overseas recruitment to transcript evaluation to visa processing in a manner that fulfills complex legal SEVIS regulations, language support, advising, and so on.

At a large public research university where half the grad applications are from overseas, who will do this work?

It is fashionable to call for the abolition of administrative levels. But when these administrative supports are gone, I predict there will be loud outcries from local graduate programs, departments and colleges, who lack the training and time to do what the Graduate School did well — so well that few noticed they were even there.

The Grad School will be missed.

Lannie, at 6:15 pm EST on February 12, 2009

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