The latest on restructuring at Gallaudet University: new memo from the Provost

Provost Stephen F. Weiner

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — A new memo from Stephen F. Weiner, a Provost at Gallaudet University, addressed to the staff and faculty, is making its way around the internet and I’d thought it post it here in its entirety. It was supposedly released in recent days.

So, what’s going on you’re asking? In short, Gallaudet, a university catering to the deaf, funded by federal taxpayers, is facing a crisis on at least two major fronts, a third one has been averted for the time being. A new administration is trying to reverse these conditions and return Gallaudet to a viable (!) option for educating the deaf.

Indeed, Gallaudet has lost is dominance in deaf education. Legislation enacted in the last few decades has pretty much required all colleges to accommodate deaf and disabled students, thus cutting the steady flow of students experienced during its halcyon days.  Its undergrad enrollment has been dipping far under 1,000 students in recent years, yet the staffing and faculty levels remained at a level that would impress many state universities. Gallaudet also faced academic shortcoming, including probation by governing bodies. For whatever reason, the college is notorious for graduating English-illiterate students. The drop-out rate is among the worst in the nation and ironically enough, its former president, I. King Jordan, ended up being the highest-paid federal retiree.

However, a new administration is in place and cost cutting was quickly implemented — several round of layoffs so far. They’re also in the midst of major restructuring, apparently, in many areas of the university. A number of laid off Gallaudet employees returning to their home towns (unable to find work in the Washington DC area) is a testament to the downsizing at all levels of the university.

This brings up to this memo — an apparent update on the restructuring now underway. A look at it shows plans for the consolidation of departments and other moves, including the closing of at least one entire department.  There is also the creation of some new departments, including the hiring of 3 new Deans.

I’ll leave the interpretation of the material in the memo up to those with a better insight than I.




To: Staff and Faculty in the Division of Academic Affirs

From: Stephen F. Weiner, Provost

Subject:  Implementation Process

Greetings! I hope you have enjoyed your summer and are as enthusiastic as I am about the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year. A lot of work has been happening over the last few months with respect to the Restructuring of Academic Affairs (RAA), and I am happy today to be able to provide you with a progress report. Specifically, I will share with you:

  1. a summary of the work process of the RAA Implementation Team.
  2. a summary of the changes and steps to complete the restructuring process.
  3. a timeline for these changes and steps.
  4. a list of additional items of importance to the restructuring process.

Summary of the Work Process of the RAA Implementation Team

In April 2012, I announced that I was forming a team to guide me in the implementation process by which the decisions for restructuring the Division of Academic Affairs would occur. The RAA Implementation Team (RAA-IT) consisted of:

  • Jane Dillehay, chair
  • Barbara Gerner de Garcia, graduate faculty/department chair representative
  • Raymond Merritt, undergraduate faculty representative
  • Audrey Foster, staff representative
  • Simon Guteng, staff representative
  • Jerri Lyn Dorminy, administrative representative

In addition, Kendra Smith and Reed Gershwind represented the Provost’s Office by serving as ex officio members of the team, providing support as necessary on personnel, policy, and budget issues.

The RAA-IT worked from May through August to gather information from departments and units affected by the restructuring, develop a list of guiding principles for the process of restructuring, identify areas in the plan needing further attention, create a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and suggest the steps necessary to carry out the implementation. In addition, I asked the RAA-IT to look at specific programs and make recommendations to me about their assigned location within the Academic Affairs structure. These programs were the Center for Continuing Studies and Summer Programs, International Student Services, World Deaf Leadership, and ASL Diagnostic and Evaluation Services.

On August 10, the RAA-IT presented me with their final report. In the following section, I summarize the main points of their report. But first, I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the members of the RAA-IT for their hard work and diligence throughout the summer months. They have produced a report that provides me with important guidance as we near completion of the restructuring of Academic Affairs. I am especially thankful that the RAA-IT was able to meet with representatives from affected departments and units within Academic Affairs, recording their concerns, and brainstorming with them about ways to anticipate, and hopefully avoid, potential “bumps” in the restructuring process. I also want to extend my appreciation to those faculty and staff who took the time to meet with the RAA-IT representatives, sharing important information and honest feedback with them.

Changes and Steps for Completion of the Restructuring Process

Due to the length of the RAA-IT final report, it is not feasible for me to explain it in its entirety in this memorandum. Instead, I will highlight the key elements here. Comprehensive supporting information has been on a Google Site created expressly for this purpose. At the end of this memorandum, I provide instructions for accessing the Academic Affairs Restructuring site on Google.

  1. The RAA-IT recommended eight guiding principles to follow as we continue through the restructuring process. I concur with all eight. You can read these principles on the Academic Affairs Restructuring site.
  2. The remaining restructuring work will be accomplished in two final phases: Phases 5 and 6 (you may refer to my memo of September 26, 2011, for an explanation of the first four phases), as follows:Phase 5
    Per the December 2011 report of the Committee on the Restructuring of the Division of Academic Affairs and subsequent changes based on my review of the RAA recommendations, the following departments are re-aligned and have been working together over the summer in preparation for the beginning of the 2012 fall semester:

a. The departments of Art, Communication Studies, Theatre, and the Dance Company are merged into one department. Members of this new department will work together to decide on a permanent name. In the interim, it will be referred to as “Department of Arts and Communication Studies.”

b. The departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math are merged into one department. The members of that department have elected to name the new department the “Department of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.”

c. The departments of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Sociology are merged into one department. Members of this new department will work together to decide on a permanent name. For now, it will be referred to as the “Department of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Sociology.”

d. The undergraduate government program and faculty are merged with the new master’s degree program in Public Affairs (MPA), becoming the “Department of Public Affairs”.

e. The Department of Educational Foundations and Research is merged with the Department of Education. The name “Department of Education” will be used for the new department until the faculty and staff have had an opportunity to make a final choice on naming it.

f. Family and Child Studies is merged with the Department of Social Work.

g. The Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures has a new name, “Department of World Languages and Cultures,” and will house the undergraduate International Studies degree program.

In addition, the following realignments are happening effective immediately:

a. The English Language Institute moves into the Department of World Languages and Cultures

b. The Professional Studies ASL classes (ASL-PST) are housed within the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies.

c. GSR will remain a program, but all GSR faculty are being assigned back into their home departments for the purpose of PeopleSoft tracking.

d. Responsibility for GSR 102 is moved to the Department of English; GSR 103 is moved to the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies; and GSR 104 is moved to the Department of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.

e. ASL Diagnostic and Evaluation Services moves under the Dean of GSPP.

f. Three new centers are being created and physically located in the Tutoring Center in SAC under the logistical oversight of Ms. Thelma Schroeder. The respective academic departments will be responsible for all academic aspects of each center’s work, including determining methods for instruction/tutoring, qualifications for tutors, etc.

i. ASL Center – Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies
ii. Writing Center – Department of English
iii. Math Center – Department of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

Phase 6
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAST) and the Graduate School and Professional Programs (GSPP) will be closed, and replaced by the opening of three new major units within the Division of Academic Affairs: College of Arts and Sciences (CAS); School of Education, Business, and Human Services (SEBHS); and Research, Graduate School, Continuing Studies, and International Programs. Three new dean positions are being created to oversee these new units. The following organizational actions will be taken at the start of Phase 6:

a. All academic departments within CLAST will relocate to CAS, with the exception of the Department of Social Work, which will move to SEBHS.

b. All academic departments within GSPP will relocate to SEBHS, with the exception of the Department of Linguistics, which will move to CAS.

c. In accordance with PPTF and per the May 2011 decision of the Board of Trustees, the Department of Administration and Supervision will close.

d. Information Technology moves from the Department of Business to the Department of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.

e. The Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies initiates long-range plans for separation into two entities.

Organizational charts reflecting the new structures in Phases 5 and 6 are posted at the Academic Affairs Restructuring site on Google. See below for instructions on accessing this site.

The Timeline for Phases 5 and 6

Phase 5 is expected to occur from August 16, 2012, to May 15, 2013. The mergers and realignments outlined above are happening immediately. In addition, the CLAST and GSPP deans are reviewing the immediate needs of the new structure for possible reassignment of support staff. Most of the remaining preparation for transition to Phase 6 will happen across the 2012-2013 academic year. The following is a list of additional tasks that will occur in Phase 5:

  1. New budgets reflecting the restructuring and the PPTF decisions will be in place on October 1, 2012.
  2. The CLAST and GSPP deans will work with departments to: finalize new department names; complete transfer and signature authority paperwork; submit curriculum and catalog changes to CUE/CGE (e.g., new department mission statements, course prefixes, and course numbers); update department websites.
  3. The CLAST and GSPP deans, in consultation with the Faculty Welfare Committee, will work with the Tenure and Promotion Committee to establish criteria for conducting faculty evaluations scheduled to happen during the transition.
  4. The Office of the Provost will conduct an audit of personnel resource allocation in Academic Affairs, including support staff assignments and faculty release time.
  5. The University Faculty Senate will review the composition of Standing Committees to ensure that the new structure is reflected in the spring 2013 elections.
  6. In preparation for Phase 6, three search committees have been created to screen and interview applicants this fall for the new dean positions. The committees are comprised of faculty, staff, and students. I will be sharing more with you soon about this national search process.

Phase 6 will be May 15, 2013, to May 15, 2014. I expect the preparation that is put into place during Phase 5 will come to fruition in Phase 6. This will be a time of adjustment as the new structure is fully implemented in CAS, SEBHS, and Research/Graduate School.

Additional Important Items from the RAA-IT Report

As part of my charge to the RAA-IT, I asked them to review several remaining areas of restructuring about which I had deferred decision last spring. I also met with many of the affected faculty and staff in these areas to solicit their input. Here is where we stand to date:

Location of Regional and National Outreach (RNO) and the Gallaudet University Regional Centers: The RAA-IT agreed with the report of the Committee on the Restructuring of the Division of Academic Affairs, saying that all outreach, including RNO and the Gallaudet University Regional Centers (GURCs) should be centralized under the new Associate Provost/Dean, Research, Graduate School, Continuing Studies, and International Programs. I respectfully disagree with this recommendation and have made the decision to keep Regional and National Outreach reporting directly to me. The reason for this is because RNO is a central, and key, liaison between and among many constituencies, including the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center; undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs; and schools, groups, and individuals outside of Gallaudet desiring to collaborate in some way with entities on campus. The director of RNO is also responsible for overseeing the many contracts associated with the provision of outreach services. The functions within RNO will be carried out more efficiently without additional layers of oversight.

Placement of International Student Services (ISS), Global Education, and Other International Support Programs: One of my goals for the restructuring of the Division of Academic Affairs is to reduce redundancy of services and programs. International support services and programs is one category that I requested the RAA-IT consider. RAA-IT recommended that ISS and Global Education move to the new Associate Provost/Dean, Research, Graduate School, Continuing Studies, and International Programs to be housed with the Fulbright, Study Abroad, and Visiting Scholars programs. I agree with this recommendation and plan to have this occur in Phase 6. To reduce the disruption of changing leaderships, both units will continue to report to the Dean of CLAST during Phase 5. As to the larger issue of how international student support and programs are managed, the RAA-IT has also recommended that the World Deaf Leadership program be moved from the Office of the President to the Associate Provost/Dean, Research, Graduate School, Continuing Studies, and International Programs. I agree with this recommendation. However, first I would like my office to work in cooperation with the President’s Office to review all such services and programs within the University with the goal of improving the ease with which students can identify and access the appropriate resources. I expect this review to commence soon and the findings be presented to the AAMT for consideration later this fall.

Future Plans for the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies: In my memorandum of April 2, 2012, I explained to you that I did not believe the previous restructuring recommendations for the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies fit the long-range vision of the Division of Academic Affairs. In light of this, I met with the faculty of the Department of ASL and Deaf Studies to discuss my desire to separate ASL and Deaf Studies into two academic departments that would act as pillars for the very foundation that makes Gallaudet University a unique educational institution. The Department faculty convened a retreat earlier this summer and proposed that this separation happen in five years, giving them time to resolve issues of personnel, shared curriculum, and shared resources that have to date been deeply entwined. While I respect the rationale behind their request, I believe that the five-year timeframe is too long. A two- to three-year timeframe is sufficient for this change. As such, by early in Phase 6, I expect the Department of ASL and Deaf Studies to develop a timeline of transition targets and a plan for meeting this timeline.

Summer Programs: Summer Programs serves a variety of audiences, and includes the offering of credit and non-credit courses and programs. It is housed under the Center for Continuing Studies and Outreach, a unit currently within the Graduate School and Professional Programs. Summer courses and programs are revenue-dependent. The RAA-IT recommends: (a) the establishment of a task force to study the feasibility of adding summer as a third academic semester for undergraduate and graduate matriculated courses and programs to follow year round policies and procedures instead of the current special summer session for undergraduate and graduate programs; and (b) that all the remaining summer courses and programs should continue to operate under CCS for best efficiency. Because of the complexity of this issue, the RAA-IT also recommended that the new deans participate in the task force. I accept this recommendation and have included it in the plans for Phase 6.

Adult Degree Program (ADP): In its current status, the Adult Degree Program is primarily an advising program with the curriculum housed in academic departments. The RAA-IT recommended that ADP be moved to Academic Advising, which can handle the advising and logistics of the program. I am delaying my decision on this pending review of recently released information from the U.S. Department of Education on state certifications.

Improved Communication from the Office of the Provost: During their interviews with key personnel, the RAA-IT members noted that there continues to be concerns about the timeliness, frequency, and consistency of communication within the Division of Academic Affairs. I am saddened to learn this, but recognize that this is an area for improvement. I am working with members of my office to create a vehicle for conveying news and information to the faculty and staff within Academic Affairs in a more effective and timely way. This is one of my priorities for the upcoming semester.

Thank you for your time in reading this lengthy communication and for your continued patience during the final phases of this restructuring process. This document, as well as new organizational charts and a restructuring timeline for Phases 5 and 6, can be found on the Google Site that has been set up for this purpose. To access the site, click on this link: (You must first be signed into your Gallaudet email account).


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Provost Stephen F. Weiner


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6 replies

  1. >yet the staffing and faculty levels remained at a level that would impress many state universities

    [Deleted due to ad hominem comments. Engaging in personal attacks invalidates your entire post(s). I welcome all comments but please comment only on the topic being discussed, — no personal attacks on the writers or posters in this blog. Thank you.]


  2. Gallaudet budget 2011 — est. $120,000,000

    Western Oregon University budget 2012 — est $50,000,00

    Click to access FY12_Budget_Document.pdf

    Undergrads at Gallaudet: Less than 1,000

    Undergrads at WOU: 4,700

  3. Lexie:

    You tagged this post inappropriately and/or insensitively.

    ‘Hearing impaired’ should be changed to ‘Hard of hearing / deafened / oral deaf’ (letter for letter, character for character) as ‘hearing impaired’ reduces all people who are not considered able to hear fully into just their inability to hear.

    Please untag ‘Disabilities’ from this post as it offends many Deaf people to be labelled disabled.

    • Thanks for commenting Mr. Brooks.

      The tagging of words falls under the realm of the blog owner. Besides, your argument about “inappropriately and/or insensitively” works both ways. We will have to agree to disagree.

      PS: As for the “disabilities” tag, I’ll remove it as soon you as you convince the Social Security Administration to stop providing “disability” benefits to Deaf people under 67. Deal?


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