Stewarding Excellence in the School of Social Work
This web page is part of an effort to keep School of Social Work students, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff informed during the Stewarding Excellence @ Illinois initiative.
Dean Korr's Response: The Next Steps- 11/16/10
Last year the campus initiated a process called Stewarding Excellence@ Illinois. The purpose was to "coordinate the repositioning of our university for continued pre-eminence as a public, land-grant research institution in the 21st Century as we face decreased public resources. We will have to invest in our core educational, research, and public engagement missions in order to attract and retain the best faculty, students and staff. We will approach this mission through three interlinked processes: Institutional transformation, cost reduction, and revenue generation.
A Stewarding Excellence project review team was charged with review of the small colleges (defined as those with fewer than 40 faculty). As stated in the charge letter, "The primary focus of this project is to explore structural and organizational changes, including possible consolidations, to realize budgetary savings, while at the same time preserving and even enhancing the intellectual and academic mission of the units."
The report of the project team concluded last June that they "did not find empirical evidence that confirmed the intuition that there would be significant administrative efficiencies from consolidation or merger among these four units." They further noted that potential harm could result from mergers.
After a period of open comment, on Friday, November 12, the Interim Chancellor and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs issued their final report. They concluded that mergers were not being recommended at this time. They went on to recommend that a plan be developed as soon as possible and implemented in the next academic year for shared services for the small colleges and potentially other units, e.g. the Graduate College. The goal is to achieve $250,000-300,000 in savings.
Unfortunately, the report misrepresents the fiscal position of the School as well as the actions we have taken to have cost effective services. Our fiscal position remains excellent, even after the campus-wide budget cuts required because of the reduction in state funds to the university. We have in fact taken many actions over a period of more than five years to ensure that we are both generating new revenue and keeping our administrative services cost effective. Those actions have included being one of the first units to implement shared services for IT. Over time we expanded our approach to include communications and supports for our rapidly growing grant-funded research. We welcome the opportunity to provide leadership in creating collaborations that will lead to effective shared services among other campus units.
We will be communicating with campus leaders to express our concern for the public misrepresentation of our significant accomplishments in both revenue generation and cost effective shared services.
At this time we are not asking you as alumni and friends of the School to do anything. We know you are invested in the future of our School. The future remains very bright. I do believe it is important that we keep you abreast of important issues facing the School and the university. Along with keeping you posted about the accomplishments of our students and faculty, we at times need to tell you about our challenges.
Thank you for your interest and support.
Wynne Sandra Korr
Dean and Professor
Stewarding Excellence Report on School of Social Work and Other Units Posted - 6/17/10
The University of Illinois committee charged with reviewing four academic units on campus, including our School, has posted their report. The Academic Unit Reviews can be found on the campus' Stewarding Excellence @ Illinois site. The University will be accepting public comment on this report until July 1, 2010.
This report is the culmination of work done by a selected committee charged with "exploring structural and organizational changes, including possible consolidations, to realize budgetary savings while at the same time preserving and even enhancing the intellectual and academic mission of the units." The committee's findings have been through the steering committee and the fact checking process and are now open for comment.
Message from the Dean
In these extraordinary times, all aspects of the University will be examined. No one is looking at closing our School, but we can expect discussions of optimal size for a college, intellectual strengths and synergies, and most of all, cost savings.
We are a mission-driven unit with commitment to educating the future leadership of the profession and to conducting engaged research that helps address the needs of the most vulnerable populations in our society. Most importantly, we do our work extremely well and will continue to do so. We have worked for many years to carefully steward our resources. We go into this process in good financial standing. Our future remains bright. We look forward to welcoming our new BSW students. They will join our excellent MSW and PhD students. Our faculty and adjuncts continue to be on the excellent teacher list in large numbers. Our success and our careful planning will help us during these tough times.
Wynne Korr, Dean
We are committed to being open with our community, so we hope you feel free to share your perspectives with us.
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2/22/2010- Related News-Gazette articles