CALS Org Redesign info: Answers to questions about “collaboratives”

As we move forward with the CALS Organizational Redesign and departments begin to explore possible partnerships in the form of mergers and collaboratives, some questions have come up regarding collaboratives. We have answered those questions below and added them to the FAQ section of the Org Redesign website.

If you have additional questions regarding redesign, please send them to Kara Luedtke.

Q: What is a collaborative?

A: In their report, the CALS Organizational Redesign Committee recommended that departments could consider forming “divisions.” The word “division” already holds significant meaning on campus, so the Dean’s Office considered other names and ultimately chose “collaborative.” A collaborative, as an organizational structure, fosters teamwork while allowing some departmental autonomy. By forming a collaborative, departments will share some resources, jointly perform some functions, and have greater critical mass to advance common priorities, especially new research or teaching initiatives that could develop after the collaborative is formed.

Q: Assuming that departmental mergers follow the UW-Madison policies related to departmental mergers in Faculty Policies and Procedures 5.02, what policies will govern the creation of collaboratives?

A: Faculty Policies and Procedures (FPP) governance policies apply to departments and “department-like bodies” and specifically target faculty personnel issues, including tenure, and academic programs. Departments that engage in a collaboration will maintain their own governance and executive committees. During summer 2018, CALS will outline an oversight policy for collaboratives.

Q: What authority will collaboratives have over funding, curriculum, research and other management decisions?

A: Once formed, collaboratives will establish governing guidelines outlining shared responsibilities delegated by the departments and those retained by the member departments. For example, guidelines will clearly state how collaborative decisions will be made and by whom. Further details will be determined during the summer 2018.

Q: Creating collaboratives seems to add another level of bureaucracy without additional revenue. How will additional costs be covered?

A: Collaboratives should not incur additional costs, because they will be supported by existing faculty and staff. Additionally, total service requirements per person should drop within a collaborative because responsibilities will be shared by more people across the member departments, allowing for more time for teaching and research activities.

Q: Can a faculty member be a member of a collaborative and not a member of a department?

A: No. Under FPP rules, all tenure-track faculty must have a departmental tenure home.

Q: Can a department be part of multiple collaboratives?

A: No. A collaborative may include more than one department, but each department should only enter into a single collaborative. While we encourage each department to explore multiple options, they should ultimately determine which one merger or collaborative suits them best. If departments were to spread themselves across multiple partnerships, it would require more effort to maintain those partnerships than the efficiencies that would be gained.

Q: Will collaboratives become merged departments in 10 years?

A: Departments in a collaborative may determine that a merged unit better supports the future of the disciplines and functionality of the collaborative member departments. However, forming a collaborative does not prescribe “future merger.”

Q: Is the Russell Labs hub an example of how a collaborative might work?

A: No. In the current Russel Labs hub, administrative staff are shared, but each of the three member departments makes independent decisions about departmental resources, faculty and curriculum. Departments in a collaborative would be expected to make decisions collaboratively on shared activities, such as priorities for faculty hiring and retentions, operations of joint academic programs and some committee service. A collaborative will have governing guidelines outlining the shared responsibilities and those retained by the member departments. 

Q: How will UDDS numbers be allocated to collaboratives?

A: The exact structure of collaboratives will be worked out by the Dean’s Office during summer 2018.