FSD 23-06 CHESS Proposed Reorganization

January 20, 2024

FSD 23-06 Resolution on the Proposed Reorganization of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHESS)


Resolution on the Proposed Reorganization of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHESS)

Committee: Executive Committee

For Discussion: November 10, 2023

Whereas: Article III, Section C.5 of the Constitution of the Faculty of Purdue University Northwest (PNW) stipulates that the Faculty Senate has an advisory role relative to “All proposed changes and procedures concerning the academic organization of Purdue University Northwest”;

Whereas: The Bylaws of the Faculty Senate of PNW stipulates that it is the responsibility of the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) to “Advise on changes in academic organization affecting the intellectual atmosphere and functioning of PNW, such as elimination or consolidation of existing colleges/departments/schools”;

Whereas: The survey used as justification for the CHESS reorganization contained two questions:

  • “Do you support the faculty-led and recommended effort to reorganize and use the revised three-school model (see above) as the basis for the future structure of the college as proposed and discussed at the last CHESS Town Hall meeting?”
  • Please provide specific reasons for your response.

and only data from the response to the first question was provided to faculty, that 56.34% said yes. Faculty were not provided with the information that for question two there were 30 negative responses about the model and process and 0 positive responses for the model and process. Also, none of the responses were provided or mentioned (See Appendix at the end of the document).

Whereas: The survey stated that the three school model for CHESS being voted on was faculty-led and recommended, when it appears that it was developed by the CHESS Leadership Team consisting of the dean, associate deans, and department chairs, and is much different than the model developed by the Faculty College Structure Faculty Working Group (See Figures 1-3 below).




Figure 1, College Structure Faculty Working Group Model

Figure 2, CHESS Leadership Team Model

Figure 3, Model Used in the Survey

Whereas: An explanation of the calculation of administrative cost used to compare the budgetary impact of each model was not provided.


Whereas: A breakdown of the survey results based on Tenured/Tenure Track Faculty; Clinical Faculty and Continuous Lecturers; and Staff (Advisors, Administrative Assistants, etc.) is not provided.


Whereas: The model being discussed by CHESS has changed multiple times since faculty were surveyed (See Figure 4, below for most recent version).



Figure 4, Most Recent Model Discussed by CHESS


Whereas: In April 2023, the PNW University Senate passed a resolution recommending that PNW take no further action regarding changes in the current approved academic structure until a final resolution is confirmed.

Therefore: The Executive Committee believe faculty in CHESS continue to have valid questions for administration about real budget savings, the process not being faculty led, workload of coordinators, and other potential issues. The Executive Committee recommends that before moving forward with model development, implementing the model, or starting the hiring process to fill positions in the model the following should take place:


(1) a detailed explanation of the calculation used to obtain administrative cost of each model be supplied;


(2) if CHESS faculty and staff desire, a discussion and comparison of other possible models be considered; and


(3)a new survey be performed of the most recent model (and other comparison models if desired) that provides a breakdown of results (Yes/No answer, comments, and answers to any other questions asked) based on Tenured/Tenure Track Faculty; Clinical Faculty and Continuous Lecturers; and Staff.







Committee Members:

Ali Alavizadeh

Lee Artz

Rob Hallock

Meden Isaac-Lam

David Kozel

David Nalbone (Chair)

Michelle Spaulding

Diane Spoljoric

Executive Committee Members Voting in favor of this resolution:

Ali Alavizadeh

Lee Artz

David Kozel

David Nalbone (Chair)

Michelle Spaulding

Diane Spoljoric

Executive Committee Members Voting against this resolution:




Please provide specific reasons for your response.

Lack of transparency and rationale for change

It is not clear what pest practices this model is based on. Since this model and the model presented by CHESS leadership eliminate or drastically change the roles of Department Chairs, extensive information would have to be provided about the roles and responsibilities od Chair and directors before I could endorse either model. Their seems to be no attempt to make the workload across chairs and directors equal.

The structure seems like it will cause confusion. Not having clear information on how money would be saved in a restructure (mentioned in the feasibility documents) means that while there are projections of savings, it has far too many unknowns and intangible elements. In the CHESS Town Hall it was mentioned that certain positions might need to be filled by outside candidates, which would seem to negate any cost savings. Likewise, at least one function of the model presented in the Town Hall had the savings at around $80,000 which, while a fair amount of money, is hardly worth completely destabilizing the current system. Especially with so many unknowns as it relates to cost. It is not ridiculous to conclude that with so many changes and uncertainties that there may be more costs added due to unintended consequences of changing to a three model structure. There are potential scenarios that could negate most if not all the cost saving measures. Additionally, it was mentioned that “No positions that we know of will be lost.” This does not give much assurance given that there are so many uncertainties with this new model. Lastly, while change is inevitable, every other university and area of higher education will be making changes. It is possible that they will lose valuable time, energy and resources as a result. We may actually be more “nimble” by staying the current course because we will already know how to navigate under the current structure. This may make us better suited to address issues as opposed to completely changing the way things work right before a big demographic change.

This would be a drastic change. As discussed during the town hall meeting, there is still insufficient transparency and the classes that are left without instructors as directors and chairs assume more responsibilities would be detrimental to overburdened faculty and leave students in huge classes.

It make’s absolutely no sense and will cost more money in addition to confusing all stakeholders

I voted for three reasons. 1st) I do not have enough information to vote in support of any model at this point. 2.) Some of our existing programs are missing in this model??? 3) Logistically, I am concerned that the new structure increases responsibilities without demonstrating how resources (including time) would align with new responsibilities. * I would suggest open meetings with more whole group discussions in the Fall.

I still don’t have a clear sense of the cost savings/benefits of this model (as compared to the other proposed models and the current CHESS structure), and I am concerned that this model is asking people to do the same or even more work for less compensation/release time.

Lacking information to make an informed decision.

The structure as proposed overburdens staff, faculty, and program coordinators and directors. It isolates further the various programs within the college. The conversations at the town halls were not enough to make clear how this plan would save money or how this would work. It is also not clear how this fits withint the larger university structure.

The loss of department chair expertise in area/department makes me nervous.

The organization of disciplines to create these schools is unbalanced. Arts and Humanities is absurdly small compared to the other two. Rebalance this. Perhaps shift over Comm and/or PS.

This was not “faculty lead.” Very little opportunity for faculty to actually engage in discussion with administration. Rather, we were put into workgroups with one another and we could not answer the questions. More thought and time needs to be given to such a proposal. We will be searching for a new Chancellor who may then come in and make additional changes. It would be better to wait until we have the new Chancellor and see what changes, if any, this individual will initiate before creating more divisions.

Current structure works fine

A formal presentation should have been given for each proposed structure with a detailed explanation of savings. The fall CHESS working group’s structure was dismissed and an administrative one proposed in its place. The current model being voted on is really a version of the administrative; therefore, it is not entirely faculty driven. Also, why is the Senate’s proposed structure not being considered?

This structure does not account for the financial concerns that many members of CHESS have, specifically regarding the proposed School of Arts and Humanities. It is also unclear as to where the proposed budget savings are coming from, as well as the feasibility and fairness of the hiring process for the Directors and Program Chairs. Change for the sake of change is not what will help us out of our current situation.

not enough clarity in how it will affect those of us that are currently employed

It does not match the new Faculty Senate proposal for reorganization of the college, so it might be a mute point moving forward.

I am not necessarily opposed to the proposed model. However, although it has been stated that this model is the path toward returning to a 3:3 teaching load, presumably for tenured and tenure-track faculty, I would additionally like confirmation that this model will return clinical professors, lecturers, and visiting instructors to a 4:4 load and at pre-COVID salaries. Additionally, I would like to see a full report of precisely how much money this new model purports to save, a report of how much money is required to accomplished the goal of reducing the teaching loads for all faculty, and a commitment to allocate the funds necessary to the reduction of teaching loads for all faculty.

Not all of the degrees and disciplines currently within the college are represented; some of the disciplines included in the current model are not currently staffed

Not very well thought through. It shifts the duties of current department chairs to program coordinators who don’t get a stipend and less release time like the chairs. I also object to how the clusters are formed.

I prefer our organization

The so-called “Townhall meetings” were 1) a misnomer and 2) poorly organized. There was no real debate or consensus building. Faculty was never given an opportunity to ask questions (10 min at the end of the 2h session is not a Q&A in a meeting that’s called a “Townhall”). Also, why are we discussing issues of Westville or outreach during the time when we’re supposed to be talking about the college’s new structure? I am all about embracing the change, but let’s have a real conversation where the Dean is not afraid to take direct questions from faculty. Also, the timing of these meeting is unfortunate, letting me know that the Dean has little awareness of or respect for faculty schedules. Why call such an important meeting on a Friday afternoon a week before the semester ends? And if we are going to have a meeting on Friday afternoon, please at least provide some coffee and snacks (old candy does not count).

This completely ignores the model proposed by the CHESS Structure Committee in Fall 2022 and is NOT in fact a faculty initiative. It appears to be a model created by the Dean prior to consultation with the faculty. The faculty appear to be utilized to create an illusion of legitimacy.

It is a poorly conceived model full of problems such as lumping programs that do not belong together and a poor leadership structure, and it was not faculty-led.

There are still too many administrators; Program coordinator position is not attractive; There are virtually no savings

This is an absurd proposition. It is designed only to consolidate power and control into the hands of a micromanaging Dean. This is a complete waste of time and resources. There is no such model in any respectable institution of higher learning and it is a complete fabrication. Let’s start acting like a university again. Nonsense.

I like the current model.

This isn’t “faculty-led”; it’s a fait accompli. The vote is ornamental.

The proposed cost savings do not offset the overall costs of implementing the model. At this point, it still seems like an instance of making changes for the sake of change

I don’t see many benefits and don’t feel that there’s enough of an incentive to be a program coordinator in this mode