Restructuring the Graduate School

Two members of our union submitted this piece to be circulated among our membership as a primer on the proposed restructuring of the Graduate School. As this greatly affects grad student workers, our union will continue staying on top of these developments and take action as needed.

Provost Paul DeLuca has put forth a proposal to the University community to restructure the Graduate School in order to address shortcomings in grants management, compliance, animal care and biosafety issues that have the potential to financially injure the UW, as well as ‘seize opportunities’ to establish industry contracts and
advocate to champion UW research at the federal level.

The restructuring would entail the creation of a new position – the Vice Chancellor for Research – to head up the research mission of the UW. This proposed action would separate the research and graduate education missions currently administered under one office, the Dean of the Graduate School, which simultaneously holds the title of Vice
Chancellor for Research, into two separate administrative bodies. The structure of the new Research unit and its proposed head, the Vice Chancellor of Research, has been ambiguous thus far, and it is also unclear what, if any, shared governance mechanisms would exist to facilitate faculty, staff, and student participation in its
administration. This reorganization, if implemented, could drastically change the character of research and graduate education at UW-Madison at a time when we currently enjoy a *number three ranking* in the country for research funding.

Unfortunately, the Provost has not provided clear, unambiguous evidence of the need for such a drastic restructuring, nor has he considered less disruptive alternatives. Moreover, the Provost developed the restructuring plan without the involvement of shared governance bodies representing the faculty, staff, or students. If the
University community gives up on shared governance at this level in favor of a more top-down administrative model, what is to prevent the University from seeking to excise other Shared Governance institutions within the UW? Should we be concerned with attempts to remove input from others in favor of administrative efficiency – trading a more democratic-style of governance with a hierarchical one?

We encourage members to inform themselves by reading about this issue. For media coverage surrounding these events:

Badger Herald
Daily Cardinal #1
Daily Cardinal #2
Wisconsin State Journal

You can also attend the Faculty Senate meeting on Monday as they take up a resolution from the Sociology department around the restructuring proposal. The meeting is open and begins at 3:30 PM in 272 Bascom Hall. Here is the resolution being proposed.

If you have any questions about what is proposed or what process is unfolding or if you have thoughts or ideas on the proposed restructuring, please drop us an email.