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Frequently Asked Questions on Organizational Review and Restructuring

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs began an organizational review in late 2012 to evaluate the major functions of the office, clarify the purpose and scope of units within the office, and realign responsibilities with the goal of improving the faculty and student experience.

The process was assisted and guided by the UT Arlington Office of Human Resources, a University “Futures Team” composed of associate deans and other senior leaders across academic units, an external review team, and a broad cross-section of UT Arlington faculty, administrators, and staff. In all, more than 150 University representatives have contributed to this initiative.

Note: These FAQs will be updated as information is available.

What spurred this reorganization?

A comprehensive review of the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs had not been undertaken in recent memory despite dramatic growth in University enrollment and the size of the faculty, the implementation of UT Arlington’s Tier One mission, and expansion of the University’s online education programs. Workloads and responsibilities needed to be rebalanced among senior administrators to improve efficiency and allow leaders to focus on strategic activities.

The new structure will clarify which office handles various matters relating to students, faculty, and staff.

Did the University compare the UT Arlington Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs with similar offices at peer institutions?

The Futures Team researched similar organizations at both peer and aspirational institutions as benchmarks for the initiative.

What are the major changes to date?

Initial changes in our structure and reporting relationships were detailed in a Feb. 12, 2013, message from President Spaniolo and Provost Elsenbaumer. The new organizational structure is available here. Further details are available online in a message dated March 25, 2013.

Some of those changes are:

  • In addition to our deans, eight clearly defined academic support divisions now report to the provost, which significantly reduces the number of direct reports. The new divisions are Faculty Affairs; Academic Analytics and Operations; Digital Teaching and Learning; Academic Programs and Curriculum; and Strategic Initiatives. Existing support units that also now report to the provost are Information Technology, Research Administration, and the Division of Student Affairs. 
  • Dr. David J. Silva has been named Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. His office is responsible for matters of faculty development and teaching excellence.
  • Dr. Dale Wasson has been named Vice Provost for Academic Analytics and Operations. His office oversees all matters related to student recruitment and enrollment. The Office of Institutional Research and Planning, the Center for Outreach Initiatives, and the Center for Online Development (formerly Electronic Research Administration) now report to Dr. Wasson. 
  • Dr. Pete Smith has been promoted to Vice Provost for Digital Teaching and Learning. His office directs all online education efforts and assists faculty and academic divisions in developing online teaching strategies and in incorporating online teaching platforms into courses and programs.
  • Dr. Frank Lamas, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, now directs the Career Center, the Office of International Education, and the Center for Community Service Learning in addition to other student-centered services.
  • We have created a new Division of Academic Programs and Curriculum. This division houses academic policy, program, and curricula review functions. It will have responsibilities for Undergraduate Studies, Graduate Studies, and University College.
  • We also have established a Division of Strategic Initiatives. This unit will oversee the University’s Global Initiatives involving new academic programs and assist in strategic planning efforts to move UT Arlington toward Tier One status.
  • We are conducting a search for a new Vice President for Information Technology to lead that unit.
  • Dr. Carolyn Cason remains Vice President for Research.

Who will lead the Division of Academic Programs and Curriculum and the Division of Strategic Initiatives?

Extensive searches will begin soon to fill the open positions for vice provosts for these divisions. We also will recruit assistant vice provosts or associate vice provosts to lead Undergraduate Studies and Graduate Studies.

Does this plan affect the reporting relationship between academic deans and the provost?

No.

How will this affect the current Office of Graduate Studies, often known as the Graduate School?

Components of the Graduate School are now part of Graduate Studies, which is housed within the new Division of Academic Programs and Curriculum. Graduate Studies will be directed by an assistant vice provost or an associate vice provost. A search for this individual will begin soon.

Our overriding goal is to improve the student experience. We are creating an efficient process that encourages motivated undergraduates to transition easily into graduate programs and supports them through completion of their graduate studies and attainment of advanced degrees.

What about University College?

University College opened in fall 2010 as a one-stop shop for academic advising and tutoring. Already, the University has realized gains in student retention and graduation rates through this initiative. University College will be housed within the Division of Academic Programs and Curriculum and will continue to provide undergraduate academic advising and tutoring. Dawn Remmers remains Executive Director of University College.