Opportunity  |  The Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty of a top ranked liberal arts college retained us to improve how various college share services functions support the needs of approximately 50 different academic departments.  To ensure services could be provided effectively and efficiently leadership needed to rethink how the organization was designed and staffed to deliver execution excellence.

Approach  |  Our discovery through interactions with 76% of the faculty surfaced three concerns that needed to be addressed and fixed. And these concerns profoundly shaped the design and staffing of the new organization.

The faculty told us: they spend significant amounts of time serving on various committees yet decisions are often taken very late, if at all, and relatively little change results from committee deliberations. This raised the need to examine potential changes to committee and other governance-related protocols for the future; there is significant concern about the lack of structured and priority emphasis on academic planning-related responsibilities and activities at the college; the voice of the faculty was consistently loud, clear and urgent that the Vice President of Academic Affairs’ most important priority over the next five years was to define and drive the longer-term strategy of the academy in a very hands-on way. Specifically, the faculty highlighted the need to refresh the curriculum, make decisions about online learning, measure learning outcomes, and prioritize investments; and the institution needs to do a better job supporting Faculty Development, Annual Reviews, new Faculty and Chair Orientation, and providing Grant-related support in the future.

Results  |  In view of the above, we designed a new organization structure that included a new Associate Dean who would focus on student academic services and we proposed establishing Divisional Directors to provide improved day-to-day support to the faculty. The new structure, combined with recommended changes in work flows and the use of automation, has enabled the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty to take a more active, visible and vocal role in leading and executing the college’s longer-term academic planning on a continuous basis.


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