Positioning Task Force

Final Report

October 21, 2003


In the summer of 2003, the Provost/Vice Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse developed a Task Force of faculty and administrators to position the University for potential structural changes.  To that end the charge to the Task Force was:


A.  Make recommendations to the Provost on how UW-L can effectively accomplish the following outcomes:


1.                  Maintain its distinctiveness as a quality institution with strength in all programs offered and selected programs distinct to UW-L.


2.                  Create a logical structure, from a pedagogical perspective, where combined units share commonalities, build upon strengths, and reduce barriers (perceived or real) to collaboration.


3.                  Integrate our distinct array of Health Professions programs into a more closely linked and identifiable focus area within the institution that will facilitate:


a.       collaboration among faculty and staff in the health sciences in both teaching and interdisciplinary research to lead to an even stronger reputation for quality health professions programs which can then be used to leverage increased levels of extramural funding

b.      smooth transition of students between programs that are currently located in different Colleges


4.                  Develop Teacher Education as a University-wide function, consistent with the NCATE/DPI standards. 


5.                  Make the most efficient and effective use of university resources for achieving desired outcomes.


B.   Suggest any other critical or related outcomes.


Members of the Task Force were:


Carol Angell (Educational Studies), Mandi Anderson (Exercise and Sport Science), Dan Duquette (Health Education and Health Promotion), Lise Graham (Finance), Mark Gibson (Exercise and Sport Science), Bob Hoar (Mathematics), Eric Kraemer (Philosophy), Charles Martin-Stanley (College of Liberal Studies), Bruce May (College of Business Administration), Rick Mikat (College of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Teacher Education), Nancy Navar (Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation), Karen Palmer-McLean (College of Science and Allied Health), Gubbi Sudhakaran (Physics), Dick Swantz (School of Education), Rob Tyser (Biology).


The Task Force began meeting on July 15, 2003 and met numerous times over the last three months.  Meetings have generally exceeded two hours.  Work was sub-divided into four work groups that met on many occasions independent from the larger group.  Literally hundreds of staff hours have been devoted to the development of this proposal to meet the outcomes desired.  Discussions have been excellent with a focus on the future potential of the University and its programs and how to best position ourselves to meet that potential.  Each member of the Task Force should be commended for the dedication, enthusiasm, and openness to which they approached the work of the Task Force.


This final report is being submitted to the Provost and to the governance structures for dissemination, comment and action.  An aggressive timeline was placed on the Task Force and they had to work hard at getting discussions and a written report completed as soon as possible.  The group agreed to review previously proposed models as well as create new models and outline the strengths and drawbacks of each model.  Time constraints limited our ability to look at many alternative structural models.  The Task Force attempted to look at as many models as possible.  The Task Force felt at this point in the history of the University we had the opportunity to positively effect change and to provide input to the University that would position the institution for the future successes.


The Task Force was charged with making recommendations to the Provost on how the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse can effectively accomplish several outcomes.  Although these final recommendations keep much of the current structure, the proposal of two Institutes creates a university presence for teacher education and for the health science programs.  The Institutes may create a more collaborative environment for these areas and put the programs squarely into the mission of the University.  Although the institute approach was derived by consensus, some members believe it may not represent the most effective structure to remedy existing issues and problems.  Numerous plans were studied and scrutinized.  This proposal is the least disruptive of the organizational structures that the Task Force studied.  The outcomes presented and sought by the Provost follow in bold print.

Outcome #1:         Maintain UW-L’s distinctiveness as a quality institution with strength in all programs offered and selected programs distinct to UW-L.


Distinctiveness   Initially, the Task Force struggled somewhat with the definition of distinctiveness did it mean uniqueness?  Did the definition include what external constituents felt was distinctive?  Was it faculty who had the answer to what is distinctive or was it another internal constituent?  Our efforts in this area focused on the Deans of the Colleges.  Since the Deans may be aware of the administration’s and the external community’s definition of distinctiveness, as well as the faculty’s definition, the task force felt it best to poll the four Deans of the existing Colleges.


In seeking characteristics of distinctiveness, our hope was that the Deans would identify programs that were truly distinctive and not just use the exercise as a way to itemize all of the programs within their units.  By focusing on the truly distinctive programs and identifying the characteristics that made them distinctive, the task force felt it could best determine what makes a program distinctive and perhaps itemize the standards by which a program is measured.


The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse has gained a reputation for being a distinct University within the UW System.  One of the desired outcomes outlined by the Provost’s Office was to determine what makes the University distinct and what characteristics make us, as a University community, distinctive.  After significant deliberation, and assistance from the Deans the Task Force finds that UW-L is distinct for a number of reasons that when viewed in combination, create a unique array of academic and non-academic programs.  These programs together have created the primary characteristic that UW-L has…………… SUCCESS WITH STUDENTS.


Why does UW-L have so much success with students?  First, and foremost, UW-L is a Learning Centered Community.  Faculties are engaged with their students and the interaction between students and their faculty mentors extends beyond the classroom.  Experiential learning is a part of nearly every academic program on campus and undergraduate research has become an important initiative at UW-L.  Faculties at UW-L are teaching faculty first, scholarship and service components are a close second.  The emphasis on teaching invades the campus psyche.  Students have an equal impact on the learning environment.  They prepare for their educational experiences much more than previous generations of students.  This dedication by students toward their education and the excellence of the faculty combined together, have created a learning centered community that is the envy of many institutions of higher education.


Second, UW-L is a Student Centered Community.  Students are welcomed to campus with an outstanding Residence Life program.  Residence Halls are small and “family styled”, there are no high rise complexes.  Non-academic programs for students are all encompassing.  The programs in student activities, services to students, residence life, and athletics all are student centered and many are student driven.  Employees of the University, whether they are classified staff, instructional or non-instructional academic staff, administration or faculty, understand the value of an education outside the classroom in a nurturing, student-styled environment that allows the student to reach their personal potential.  Maximum time and effort is spent making the student environment the best possible.  There is an environment amongst all university employees that they are employed by the students that they teach, counsel and service.  At UW-L, students come first.


Things that will preserve the strengths itemized above include:


1.                  A four college structure that maintains the very distinct program array that UW-L offers and allows students to easily find and select programs of interest.

2.                  A strong General Education Program founded in the disciplines of liberal studies that teaches students to become life long learners that appreciate the arts, communicate effectively (in a variety of formats) with others, have a fully developed social conscience and are able to problem solve for life’s activities.

3.                  A unique and distinct program array that allows students who come to campus for one program to examine other similar programs while on campus and transfer programs within the university rather than transfer to a different university.

4.                  Faculty development in the area of teaching will continue to put the faculty of the university at the forefront of the profession of teaching.

5.                  Rewarding faculty for scholarship activities that exceed expectations will allow faculty with a particular interest in research and scholarship to flourish and provide an environment where the scientific method can be taught to all students at the university.


Outcome #2:         Create a logical structure, from a pedagogical perspective, where combined units share commonalities, build upon strengths, and reduce barriers (perceived or real) to collaboration at UW-L.


The task force discussed at length several structural systems for UW-L.  The integration of curriculums, resources and staff in the current structure was a primary concern amongst members.  The traditional structure of the university is resistant to change secondary to concern that departments or units housed in the current structural units lose visibility.  Does this mean a decrease in focus on these units?  At any rate, the task force was able to support the logic of the current structure and felt, from a pedagogical perspective, they already were in units that “shared commonalities”, would “build on strengths”, and were in “collaboration” with other units on campus.


Although several structures were discussed and members found various levels of merit to each, the majority found that the current structure with the addition of the “umbrella” organizations for health sciences and teacher education was the best structure for the university, given the current point of evolution of the institution.  By having a health science institute and a teacher education institute, the university improves both areas and enhances visibility to these two important program areas on campus.  Despite the housing of programs in different units, the university is small enough for the faculty and staff to work closely together in a collegial and collaborative nature and the Institutes would be of paramount importance in sustaining these activities.


The Task Force closely considered a three college structure for the University.  Each current College on campus would have concerns with being collapsed into a three college structure and there were numerous reasons cited for remaining a four college campus including:


1.                  The College of Business Administration had significant concerns with moving from a College to a School within a College.  Cited concerns were:  accreditation standard, loss of visibility for the College and loss of administrative representation at the university level.

2.                  The College of Liberal Studies had concerns going back to a College structure that would put them with the Sciences.  Teaching methodology, types of scholarship, and differences in priorities, were all cited as concerns for a structure that would move the CLS back with the Sciences.

3.                  One of the most unique and progressive areas of the university in the last 15 years has become the arts.  By collapsing the College of Liberal Studies we lose the emphasis on the arts.  This would be not only a loss for the students and university, but, also a loss for the entire community.

4.                  The College of HPERTE moving from a College to a School would lose the identity of the oldest College on campus.  Not only is the College the home unit of a large majority of alumni, it has a national and international reputation that becomes smothered within a University with a three College structure.

5.                  The current College structure has created a collegiality amongst faculty at the university within the Colleges.  Faculties have become adept at helping each other in the development and implementation of unique academic programs.  Many academic programs exist only because of the collaboration of faculty within a department or College.  By changing the structure, faculty who teach in a variety of academic programs would literally report to two, if not three administrative homes.

6.                  The university structure has developed over time so that the form, or structure, of the university follows the functions that it performs.  A fundamental organizational method is to have form follow function rather than have function be dictated by form.

Outcome #3:         Integrate UW-L’s distinct array of Health Professions programs into a more closely linked and identifiable focus area within the institution that will facilitate:

·        collaboration among faculty and staff in the allied health sciences in both teaching and interdisciplinary research to lead to an even stronger reputation for quality health professions programs which can then be used to leverage increased levels of extramural funding

·        smooth transition of students between programs that are currently located in different Colleges


1.         Structure:  A campus-wide institute consisting of faculty appointed by the Faculty Senate with recommendations from the Deans of the Colleges would fall under the direction of a faculty chair elected by the initial members.  Initial members would include four representatives from HPERTE, four representatives from SAH, one representative from CLS, and one representative from CBA. The initial members would be appointed by the Faculty Senate.  This group will determine by-laws and other functions as appropriate (See Appendix A)


2.         Function: The institute would serve initially in the following capacities and be charged with activities annually as appropriate which will include, but not be limited to, the following:

a.         Strategic Planning:  create and monitor a strategic plan for UW-L health

related programs.

b.         Advising/Marketing

·        Developing and maintaining on-campus advising program

·        Developing and maintaining off-campus marketing and recruitment material and strategy

c.         Organizing and facilitating collaboration in the following areas:

·        Student recruitment

·        Research projects

·        Interdisciplinary grant proposals

·        Internships/preceptorships

·        Collaborative teaching opportunities

d.         Administrative

·        Laboratories/classrooms review

·        Cost effectiveness in course delivery

·        Create by-laws for institute


Outcome #4:         Develop Teacher Education as a University-wide function, consistent with the NCATE/DPI standards at UW-L.


The University has a rich and treasured history in teacher education.  Not only was the University founded as a Normal School, its’ current mission reflects the importance of teacher education as a foundation for university programs.  The current structure for teacher education programs, although structurally sound, has not been implemented as designed.  The task force reviewed the area of teacher education, developed a structure and delineated the function of the unit to improve teacher education and create a unit that would have a university wide function.  They also developed a significant list of barriers to a campus-wide teacher education program.


The task force proposes that a teacher education institute be developed that would have a Director that would also serve as an Associate Dean in the College.  The UW-L Teacher Education Institute would set policy and procedures for the common components in teacher education programs of advising, certification, identifying content, preparing accreditation reports and supervising the administrative aspects of pre-student teaching clinical and student teaching assignments.


The Task Force recommends renaming of the College of HPERTE to better reflect the Teacher Education component.  One suggestion may be the College of Education, Exercise Science, Health and Recreation (CEESHR).


1.         Structure of TEI: The campus-wide institute would fall under the direction of an Associate Dean in CEESHR. The Institute would primarily deal with implementation of an advising structure, external marketing and seeking external agreements and funding.  The Institute will consist of programs that prepare teachers, including: School Health Education, Physical Education, Elementary/Middle, Middle/Secondary level, Special Education, School Psychology, Reading and MEPD. The Institute would prepare policy and procedure recommendations to be submitted to the Teacher Education Council (TEC) (see below) for approval.


2.                  Function of TEI:

a.                   Prepare undergraduate and graduate students for teaching and other professional positions in public and private schools.

b.                  Create an environment that facilitates the professional development of faculty through research, service, and professional growth activities.

c.                   Foster partnerships in Teacher Education through collaboration projects and relationships between campus departments and with PK-12 public and private schools.

d.                  Serve as a catalyst for improvement in the organization and delivery of education programs on campus and in PK-12 public and private schools.

e.                   Respond to student and community needs in Teacher Education.

f.                    Evaluate Teacher Education programs.

g.                   Provide service to schools and education professionals through consultation and staff development activities, including continuing education and extension course offerings.

h.                   Review accreditation and program approval reports as deemed necessary by the Associate Dean/ Director of Teacher Education Unit.

i.                     Advise the Dean on evaluation of appropriate personnel, proposals, and planning.


3.         Structure of TEC: This is a joint committee with membership initially consisting of members of the faculty and academic staff as well as public school representatives,  student representatives, and a SWEA representative. An initial TEC will write by-laws that will determine the long-term composition of the standing committee. Initially, the faculty and academic staff composition will be appointed by Faculty Senate and will consist of 3 members of the Educational Studies department, 2 members of the College of CEESHR (outside of Educational Studies) and 2 members of each of the other three academic colleges.


The TEC will act on proposals submitted by the TEI and respond to charges from the Faculty Senate. The TEC will work with the Director of the Teacher Education Institute, General Education, UCC and GCC. The initial TEC, in setting the by-laws, will determine the nature of the relationship between the TEC and the other bodies.


4.         Function: Teacher Education Council

a.       Primary policy-making body for professional education programs at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

b.      Review, comment, and render decisions on all items relating to teacher education policy including: admission and exit requirements, enrollment management, and goals for Teacher Education.

c.       Review, comment, and render decision on all teacher programmatic changes, which alter academic major requirements in content fields, general education, and/or the professional sequence of studies.

d.      Work with the Director of the TEI, the General Education Committee, the UCC and the GCC.


Function: Associate Dean Director of Teacher Education Institute

                               a.      Responsible for all Teacher Education programs and activities on and off campus.

                              b.      Act as the primary liaison between Teacher Education programs and PK-12 public and private schools.

                               c.      Provide leadership for programs and related funding efforts.

                              d.      Provide leadership responsibility for accreditation of all Teacher Education programs.

                               e.      Work with the TEI to formulate policies for submission to the TEC.


Appendix A

UW-L Health Sciences Institute Organizational Chart