below contains draft procedures for the establishment, merger
and closing of departments, divisions and similar entities within
schools that the Senate Committee on the Faculty approved at its
on January 14, 2002 and published in Almanac
February 12, 2002. It also contains
draft language for the Statutes of the Trustees, Section 10.5,
to clarify the Trustee's role regarding such changes. The draft
procedures bring together in one place policies and procedures
previously contained in the Handbook
and in a Provost's memorandum. They make the same procedures applicable
to the establishment and merger, as well as to the closing of
departments, and to such actions with respect to divisions or
similar entities in schools that do not have departments. Please
direct comments to Dr. Barbara Lowery in the Office of the Provost
by May 20, 2002. It is anticipated that final decisions will be
made by the President and Provost with a view to implementation
for the start of the coming fiscal year.
Revision to the Statutes of
The Trustees and The Handbook for
Faculty and Academic Administrators
by the Senate Executive Committee February 6, 2002; Forwarded
to the Provost February 8, 2002]
Procedures for the Establishment, Merger
and Closing of Departments, Divisions and Similar Entities within
to the Statutes of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania,
"Upon recommendation of the President and Provost, the Trustees
may authorize the establishment, merging, or closing of departments,
divisions or similar entities in schools that do not have departments."
Subject to the statutes of the University, these procedures govern
the establishment, merger and closing of departments, divisions
and similar entities (hereinafter "departments") within the schools
of the University.
the organization of a school into departments is an administrative
decision, the dean should make a recommendation concerning the
establishment, merger or closing of a department only after careful
study and consultation with involved faculty inside and outside
the school, including discussion in a meeting of the faculty of
the school. The process leading to such recommendations requires
special care in reviewing possible courses of action, special
efforts to consult early and often with interested parties, and
special sensitivity to the legitimate interests of faculty who
may be affected.
The decision to establish, merge or close a department should
be based upon academic considerations and priorities as determined
by the faculty as a whole or appropriate committees thereof.
Accordingly, there should be early and meaningful faculty involvement
in the process leading to decisions relating to the creation,
reorganization or reduction of instructional and research programs.
Schools having a departmental structure should have regular
reviews of departments. Departmental reviews should be used
to provide departments with timely notice of any shortcomings
and the need for improvement and to provide school decision-makers
with information essential to a sound evaluation of the department.
Such reviews also provide formal and informal opportunities
to alert departments to the school's plans. Departmental reviews
should not be triggered by specific proposals for closing or
making other adverse changes to a department. However, when
a closing is being considered, there should be a timely external
involvement must precede not only the ultimate decision to create,
merge or close a department but also decisions made during the
pendency of the issue that may influence its outcome (e.g.,
the suspension of student admissions into a program or department
in the case of a contemplated closing).
Most, if not all, schools, and the University as a whole, have
faculty committees charged with responsibility to review planning
and budget decisions. Such committees should be involved in
the process leading to decisions to establish, merge or close
departments. However, such reviews are not substitutes for early
and frequent consultation with the faculty of the affected departments
themselves and/or with the faculty as a whole. Consultation
should include the opportunity for thorough discussion at a
meeting of the faculty of the school. Consultation also will
require soliciting an advisory vote, in favor of or against
the proposed course of action, from those members of the faculty
of the school with voting privileges. Although such vote is
advisory only, in most circumstances the dean should act in
accordance with the advice received.
Action to establish, merge or close departments within one school
may have serious implications for the activities and resources
of departments in other schools. At such time as a dean initiates
consultation with the faculty of the school directly affected,
he or she should send a communication to all other deans requesting
that they bring the possibility of the action to the attention
of their colleagues who may be interested and inviting comment.
Departments of Recommendations to Close
that department closings typically follow a protracted period
during which the department in question receives limited resources,
school administrations have ample time to explain the implications
of such action for the future. Departments that are at risk
should be so informed promptly and provided with a full, frank
and detailed explanation of the reasons.
members of a department facing closure must be informed well
before a formal recommendation is publicly announced. At that
time, they must be given information regarding their future
at the University and the procedures the school has initiated
to find a new University affiliation for them.
Although decisions regarding departmental structure may be made
for reasons that would not justify adverse action against an
individual faculty member, ordinarily they do not for that reason
give rise to an academic freedom violation. However, even if
all appropriate review and consultation procedures have been
followed, structural decisions concerning a department may present
delicate and difficult questions of academic freedom.
In cases where academic freedom issues appear to be raised,
the dean should seek the advice of the Committee on Academic
Freedom and Responsibility of the school (CAFR) or the Faculty
Senate at a sufficiently early stage for that advice to be considered
before the dean makes a recommendation.
Aggrieved faculty members have the right to complain of the
dean's action to the appropriate Committee on Academic Freedom
Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 32, April 30, 2002
April 30, 2002
Volume 48 Number 32