University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

An announcement from Provost LeBel about academic alignment

In Summer 2010, the reporting line for the leadership of the Department of Social Work was shifted to the College of Nursing on a temporary basis. With eighteen months of experience of that alignment, the decision was made last week to formalize the incorporation of the Department of Social Work into the College of Nursing.

I am grateful to all who provided valuable input on the question of the appropriate alignment of the Department of Social Work within the Academic Affairs Division. Your insights, aspirations, and concerns – both in favor of and opposed to any move – were critical to the decision.

I have requested that College of Nursing Dean Denise Korniewicz and Department of Social Work Chair Thomasine Heitkamp convene a Transition and Integration Working Group to facilitate the formal move of the Department of Social Work to the College of Nursing, effective July 1, 2012. The working group will be charged with identifying all of the issues that need to be addressed as a result of the move and formulating a timeline by which the various steps need to be taken. I expect the working group to solicit and take into consideration input from the multiple sources involved in or affected by the move, and to develop a plan that fully insulates students from any inconvenience or disadvantage from the move.

This realignment is limited in scope. The academic leadership of Deans in the VPAA Academic Cabinet has concluded that this is not an optimum time to engage in a more comprehensive review of the organizational structure within Academic Affairs. The Cabinet is committed to identifying and encouraging expansion of instances of beneficial and synergistic collaborations that cut across departmental and college/school boundaries.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the personal and institutional stress of operating under conditions of uncertainty. Even in those circumstances, the faculty and staff of the Department of Social Work have continued to set and meet ambitious goals for the teaching, research, and service functions of the department. I am confident that working together will produce a smooth transition to an exciting additional set of opportunities and relationships.

--Paul LeBel, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

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