Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

June 20, 1996

Koehler to head reorganized Arts & Sciences

In an effort to make Arts and Sciences more efficient and effective in delivering instructional services, Provost James Maher has announced the restructuring of Pitt's Arts and Sciences programs under one office.

Effective July 1, Peter Koehler, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), will be responsible for all Arts and Sciences programs at the University.

Although Koehler will be in charge of all Arts and Sciences programs, his job performance review will continue, Maher said. The review is being conducted under the University's two-year-old system of evaluating academic administrators. Maher said the performance review fact-finding committee has submitted a report to the provost that Koehler currently is reviewing. The review will conclude, according to Maher, when the report is presented to FAS faculty in September.

"These actions [the restructuring] are being taken to improve the quality and effectiveness of the Arts and Sciences' programs and to clarify the responsibilities of administrators," Maher said.

Previously, the dean of graduate studies in FAS was responsible for graduate studies in Arts and Sciences and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) for undergraduate studies, while the FAS dean was responsible for the FAS budget and personnel actions involving Arts and Sciences faculty.

Under the system that will be implemented on July 1, according to the final report of the ad hoc committee on the restructuring of Arts and Sciences, the FAS dean also will be ultimately responsible for all graduate and undergraduate programs.

With this change, according to the committee report, the FAS dean will become "clearly and solely accountable for undergraduate and graduate programs." The CAS dean and FAS dean will be replaced by three associate deans charged with implementing the policies and directives of the FAS dean. The associate deans also will play advisory roles in formulating policies and directives, according to the committee report. "Changing the reporting lines in this way enhances opportunities for the FAS dean to consult on a routine basis with auxiliary deans who are members of the faculty and this is a critical need," the committee report notes.

At present, the report points out, all associate deans in the FAS dean's office are senior staff members, not faculty members.

The ad hoc committee was charged by Maher in December 1995 and submitted its final report to the Provost's office on April 19. Maher was given an opportunity to implement the recommendations in the report when FAS Graduate Studies Dean Mary Louise Soffa and CAS Dean Mary Briscoe both announced earlier this year that they had decided to resign their posts to return to teaching and research. Soffa and Briscoe will be replaced in the restructuring by an associate dean of undergraduate studies, an associate dean of faculty affairs and associate dean of graduate studies.

As outlined in the committee report, the change is part of a larger restructuring of Arts and Sciences that also includes changes in the procedures for the hiring and promotion of Arts and Sciences faculty, and the renaming of FAS and CAS as the School of Arts and Sciences.

Renaming of the two divisions will require a vote by the FAS Council and the University planning and budgeting committee, according to Maher.

The plan under which Arts and Sciences will be reorganized was one of three developed by the ad hoc committee, which was made up of faculty, administrators and students. In the final report of the committee it is known as the "Functional Model." In his report on the restructuring, Maher said the title of associate dean was chosen to reflect the administrative relationship to the dean necessary for the cooperative and effective delivery of service to the programs in the associate deans' areas of responsibility.

"The terminology is used at many very highly regarded universities and should in no way be construed to be a downgrading of the programs administered by the associate deans," Maher noted.

Under the plan approved by Maher, the associate dean of graduate studies and research will be responsible for graduate and research programs in the School of Arts and Sciences; the associate dean of undergraduate studies will be responsible for undergraduate programs, and the associate dean of faculty affairs will be responsible for all matters involving faculty hiring, promotion, tenure, leave and retention. The associate dean of faculty affairs also will coordinate actions by the dean's office when they involve two or more associate deans.

In addition to the three associate deans, the restructuring plan calls for the appointment of two senior administrators: a director of administration and finance, and a director of affirmative action.

According to the committee report, the duties of the director of administration and finance will be largely those of Associate Dean for Administration Richard Howe. They will consist of overseeing the Arts and Sciences budget and space.

The duties of the director of affirmative action, according to the report, will be those of current Associate Dean for Affirmative Action and Faculty Development Carla Gary. The duties of that position will include assisting other administrators, departments and programs in setting and meeting affirmative action goals for faculty, staff and students.

All associate dean and director positions will be filled through appointment by the FAS dean. Although three associate deans will replace the two departing deans, Briscoe and Soffa, Maher contends that there is ample reason to believe that administrative costs will not increase and actually could decrease. Maher has directed Koehler to prepare a report on reducing the size of the Arts and Sciences' central administration.

According to Maher, the reduction is to be undertaken in a way that preserves and improves student services, and delegates authority to departments in a manner that allows them to enhance their activities and reduce their need for central administrative staffing.

–Mike Sajna

Leave a Reply