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EP.04.38

PROPOSAL TO THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATIONAL POLICY

TITLE OF THE PROPOSAL:

The merger of the Department of Kinesiology and the Department of Community Health into a new Department of Kinesiology and Community Health.

SPONSOR:

Tanya M. Gallagher, Dean
College of Applied Life Studies

BRIEF DESCRIPTION:

This proposal recommends the merger of the Departments of Kinesiology and Community Health in the College of
Applied Life Studies
into a new department, the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. This departmental name will serve as an interim name for the first year following the merger and a departmental name will be reviewed and finalized in the first year following the merger. The proposal to merge the Departments of Kinesiology and Community Health follows the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Taskforce on the Departmental Merger of Community Health (see attached report). The merger has the support of an overwhelming majority of the faculty in the Departments of Kinesiology and Community Health, and the College Administrative Council, as well as the unanimous support of the College Executive Committee.

The merger will not impact the degree programs offered in Kinesiology or Community Health. Students will continue in the same degree programs as they did prior to the merger. However, this merger will enrich the academic experience and intellectual resources within both programs and in so doing the merger will be mutually beneficial.

JUSTIFICATION:

In recent years the number of tenure-track faculty in the Department of Community Health has fallen sharply due to retirement and resignations. Despite significant efforts to recruit new faculty, a search for a Department Head in AY2000-2001 and AY2001-2002 and an assistant professor search in AY2001-2002, the Department has not been successful in recruiting replacement faculty. By Fall 2003 there were only five full-time tenure track faculty in the Department. This drop in faculty number was severely constraining the department’s ability to perform its research, teaching, and service mission.

The programs offered by Community Health at the graduate and undergraduate levels are of great value to the campus. The undergraduate career path tends to be pre-professional with many students proposing to enter nursing, physical therapy, and medical school. The department offers the campus minor in gerontology. The undergraduate program offers three areas of concentration: Health Education and Promotion, Health Planning and Administration, Rehabilitation, and Disabilities Study. The department enrolls 343 majors and enrolls thousands of students from across the campus in a number of its courses. Undergraduate student demand for programs offered by Community Health has doubled in the last eight years from approximately 170 students in AY 1995-96 to the current totals of 343 majors.

Graduate student enrollment has remained steady during this same period. Graduate students pursue careers in public health management, rehabilitation, health consulting, and hospital administration. The department offers four Master of Science degrees and a doctoral program. The four MS programs include Public Health-Community Health Education, Community Health-Health Planning and Administration, Epidemiology, and Rehabilitation. Numbers of master's degree students are 27 and numbers of doctoral students are 14. The graduate program is extremely attractive to students who pursue the MD/Ph.D. program and currently enrolls 10 students in the joint program.

The department’s increased enrollments have occurred while the numbers of Community Health tenured track faculty have gone from 10 to 5 in the same period of time. Currently only 5 tenure track faculty staff the department (and will be reduced by one more with the retirement of a senior faculty member in August), although they are supported by 4 full time instructors and 6 part time instructors and 7 " zero time" faculty. (Note: A sixth tenure track faculty member (Dr. Schiro-Geist) currently is appointed 100% time with Academic Outreach.)

In summary, faculty resources in Community Health to meet the instructional and research needs of a growing student population are severely overextended and cannot responsibly meet the increasingly high demand for CHLTH courses and programs of study. The marked loss of faculty is unacceptably curtailing the instructional and research agenda of the unit and has placed an unacceptable administrative burden on the faculty. These factors and the reduced number of senior faculty who can serve as mentors, has placed Community Health in a severely compromised position relative to the recruitment and retention of new faculty. In the highly competitive environment in which Community Health would be attempting to recruit the most highly qualified and therefore the most sought after new faculty members, the probability of the success of these recruitment efforts is severely compromised by the lack of critical mass. The opportunity to work collaboratively with a unit within ALS all of which share a common overarching college mission would greatly strengthen the intellectual and leadership resources of the program and would provide an enhanced base from which to recruit and guide new faculty.

In September 2003, in response to a request from Provost Richard Herman, Dean Tanya Gallagher appointed an Ad Hoc Task Force to determine the extent to which an intellectual or conceptual fit might exist between the Department of Community Health and one of the three other departments in the College (Kinesiology, Leisure Studies, and Speech and Hearing Sciences).

Susan Fowler (College of
Education
, Dean) chaired the taskforce and its members were: Reginald Alston (Community Health, Associate Professor), Richard Gumport (
College of
Medicine
, Associate Dean), David Kuehn (Speech and Hearing Science, Professor), Edward McAuley (Kinesiology, Professor) Tom O'Rourke (Community Health, Professor) and Kim Shinew (Leisure Studies, Associate Professor).

The taskforce was charged with examining the following issues:

1. The extent to which there were (or were not) current connections between departments as evidenced by shared doctoral advising or participation on dissertation committees, collaborative faculty research or a shared set of courses or curriculum;

2. The potential for future connections between departments as indicated by shared faculty research interests, shared service or educational mission or a shared audience;

3. A review of mergers or consolidations of Community Health or Public Health programs with other departments in peer universities;

4. The degree to which national accreditation issues might become a consideration in a future merger of departments.

Taskforce Recommendation
: Following review of related materials (vitae, department materials, and responses to Task Force questions), meetings with each of the units, student groups, and Task Force discussion, the taskforce recommended that the Department of Community Health and the Department of Kinesiology explore the possibility of merger.

The Taskforce recommendation was discussed extensively in meetings involving faculty, staff, and students from the affected departments and the following implementation principles were finalized as providing a framework for successful implementation of a merger of the two units:


1.That the programs of study of both components of the merged unit be visible, that their identities be maintained, and that those identities would be reflected in the departmental name of the merged unit.

That the programs of study and the degree names of both components would remain intact.


That the merged unit would provide a positive, supportive environment for recruiting new tenure-track faculty in Community Health as soon as possible.

That the merger promote the growth and enhancement of both units.

That faculty, staff, and students of both units participate in articulating the details of the merger as these are developed over time.


That implementation of the merger be characterized by flexibility, creativity, collegiality and adherence to these stated principles.


The recommendation to merge the departments within this implementation framework received support from an overwhelming majority of the voting faculty in the Departments of Kinesiology and Community Health and the ALS Administrative Council. In addition, the proposal received the unanimous support of the College Executive Committee.

The merger of the two units will substantively strengthen the intellectual resources of both units and provide greater administrative support to Community Health programs. Areas of increased collaboration include health policy, epidemiology, health education, health behavior, rehabilitation, and disability. Importantly, the merged department will be significantly more likely to attract much needed new faculty to teach and carry out research within the degree programs of Community Health.


BUDGETARY AND STAFF IMPLICATIONS:

a. Additional Staff and Dollars Needed

Although no new staff or financial investment is required to implement the merger, there is a clear need to provide additional faculty for the basic support of research and instructional programs offered by Community Health. However, this need existed prior to the decision to recommend merger of the departments. The investment needed to support these new hires remains unchanged.

b. Internal Reallocations (e.g. change in class size, teaching loads, student-faculty ratio)

The proposal recommends that the existing undergraduate and graduate degree concentrations in both Kinesiology and Community Health continue unchanged in the merged department. The merger will increase the likelihood of hiring much needed new tenure track faculty, thereby reducing the need to depend on the current number of part-time instructors. No immediate impact on class size, teaching loads or student-faculty ratio is envisioned.

c. Effect on course enrollment in other departments and implications of discussions with representatives of those departments

Both Kinesiology and Community Health departments have developed significant collaborations with other units in the college and across campus. These collaborations will continue unchanged since no impact is proposed nor anticipated on current academic programs or course offerings.


d. Impact on library, computer use, laboratory use, equipment, etc

No immediate impact on library, computer or laboratory use is envisioned. Both units currently share the same library resources in the ALS library. Computer labs in both departments will continue to be available to the students in the merged department.


GUIDELINES FOR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION:

Both the Department of Kinesiology and the Department of Community Health have demonstrated a strong commitment to quality undergraduate education. Each unit has worked hard on developing new General Education courses, implementing Discovery courses when possible, and developing innovative graduate programs. The Department of Community Health has been very active in recruiting MD/PhD students into the Medical Scholars Program.

It is the intention of the College and the merged Department to continue these programs and to develop additional curricular offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate level as resources permit.


SUMMARY OF PRELIMINARY DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS:

In response to a suggestion from members of the Senate Educational Policy Committee, a series of meetings were scheduled between Community Health and Kinesiology faculty and staff during summer 2004 to examine issues related to the merger between the Departments of Community Health and Kinesiology that was recently recommended by the Senate Educational Policy Committee. In recognition of the fact that most of the individuals involved were not on contract during the summer, attendance was considered voluntary and the meetings were scheduled throughout the summer with the goal of allowing faculty and staff to attend as many of the meetings as possible.

Two meetings were held for each of the following groups:

Voting Faculty
: (Tenured or Tenure Track professors, associate professors, assistant professors with at least 50 percent appointment).

Instructional Faculty
: (Professors, associate professors, assistant professors, lecturers, instructors including faculty with zero-time appointments)

Support Staff: (Faculty with Administrative appointments, Administrative Aides, Secretarial staff)

The following materials were developed as an outcome of the above meetings:

a. FAQs: (see Appendix One):

Responses to frequently asked questions regarding the potential merger were prepared by a subcommittee of the voting faculty and shared with all the faculty and staff for their comments and suggestions.

2. By-law Comparison Table: (see Appendix Two):

A table comparing the existing bylaws for the Kinesiology and Community Health was developed and discussed by each of the groups. Discussion focused on what steps would be needed in order to integrate the bylaws in a merged department. For some aspects of the bylaws, few differences were found between the departments, whereas, in other areas, a merger would be more complex and require a gradual phasing in of new procedures with cooperation and flexibility on the part of both units involved.


CLEARANCES
:

The merger has the support of an overwhelming majority of the faculty in the Departments of Kinesiology and Community Health, and the College Administrative Council, as well as the unanimous support of the College Executive Committee.

_____________________ ______________
Tanya M. Gallagher, Dean Date


STATEMENT FOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY CATALOG:


Editorial changes throughout the bulletin are included
.


EFFECTIVE DATE: January 5, 2005

Appendix One
Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Will I still be able to get my degree in Kinesiology or Community Health?

Yes.

The degrees currently offered within the departments of Kinesiology and Community Health would not change. Both undergraduate and graduate students will be awarded the same degree that they have been working toward since their admission into their program. Community Health would continue to offer concentrations in rehabilitation, epidemiology, and health policy.

2. Will the proposed new department continue to accept new students in Kinesiology and Community Health?

Yes.

Students will continue to be admitted in the undergraduate and graduate degree programs that are currently offered in each of the two departments. There is no intention to alter existing degree programs and a merged department would continue to actively recruit students for each of its degree programs.

3. Will the merger change the curriculum in either Kinesiology or Community Health?

No.

There is no plan to change the curriculum in either Kinesiology or Community Health as a result of the proposed merger. The merger will not affect courses currently offered in the Department of Community Health and the Department of Kinesiology. Courses will continue to be listed under the CHLH, KINES, REHB rubrics currently used.

4. Will courses continue to be offered in each area?

Yes.

The merger will not affect courses currently offered in the Department of Community Health and the Department of Kinesiology. Courses will continue to be listed under the CHLH, KINES, REHB rubrics currently used.

5. Will the vacant faculty positions in Community Health be filled if the merger takes place?

There is a clear need to hire additional faculty in Community Health. One of the goals of the merged department will be to build a critical mass of faculty members in each of areas of concentration within Community Health. Currently faculty members in Community Health have backgrounds and expertise in the areas of Epidemiology, Rehabilitation, Health Policy and Administration, and Health Education. A hiring plan will be developed in consultation with the faculty. Every effort will be made to grow the number of faculty members as rapidly as possible. Both Kinesiology and Community Health currently utilize a combination of tenure-track faculty and academic professionals to teach courses within the department. The merged department will undoubtedly continue to require the services of both tenure-track faculty members and non-tenure track instructors for the foreseeable future. However, in the short term, there is a critical need is to increase the number of tenure-track faculty in Community Health who would be eligible to serve as members of the Graduate Faculty and thereby advise graduate students.

6. If previous attempts in recruiting new faculty were unsuccessful, what reasons exist for future searches to be successful?

We believe that the merged department will be successful at recruiting faculty for several reasons; (1) the new department will consist of larger critical mass of faculty - this will permit the department to offer more attractive start-up packages for potential hires, for example, new hires could be offered reduced teaching loads during their initial year at UIUC; (2) the merged department would have substantially more funded research projects, potential new faculty members may wish to collaborate on these projects while they are establishing their own research agendas; (3) a larger, merged department will provide a greater sense of certainty about the future of the unit which may be a factor in persuading outstanding applicants to relocate to UIUC; (4) the merged department will be able to provide more opportunities for senior faculty to mentor new faculty members and to assist them as they establish their independent research programs.

7. What factors, beyond a merger, will place the College in a better position to hire and retain faculty at this time?

The College of Applied Life Studies has identified the topics of aging, disability, and quality of life as central to its mission. In the past several years the College has been very successful in attracting new faculty to the campus who are working in these areas. The Community Health emphasis on health and quality of life is highly consistent with the ALS strategic priorities. Dean Gallagher has consistently expressed a commitment to continuing to hire in these areas. Over the past years, there has been a remarkable increase in externally funded research across the College of Applied Life Studies. This impressive growth trajectory suggests that the College will be able to continue to invest in new faculty, as well as to retain outstanding faculty by providing them with the resources they need to succeed.

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8. What mechanisms have been considered to address developing a new name and bylaws for the new department if the merger takes place? Who will be involved in these efforts? What time frame will this be done in?

In a series of meetings held over the summer in 2004, faculty and staff from both departments initiated a process of comparing the existing bylaws for each department and considering what process might be adopted to reconcile the differences in the event that the merger takes place.

These committees have recommended that two merger committees be formed with equal representation from each department (Faculty and Student Committee; Staff Committee). These committees would meet regularly over a 6-12 months period after the announcement of the merger. Each committee would provide recommendations to the Dean and new Department Head regarding how to most effectively implement the merger.

For the first two years the merged department will be named the “Department of Kinesiology and Community Health”. After this period, the new department will explore whether a new name can be identified for the new unit. A series of retreats will be scheduled and every effort will be made to reach consensus on the best name for the new department.

9. There are indications that some Community Health faculty may decide to leave the unit if the merger is approved. Considering the already very small size of the faculty in Community Health, how is the college prepared to immediately address the shortage of faculty should it take place?

The College of Applied Life Studies is committed to building and sustaining a critical mass of faculty members in each of areas of concentration within Community Health. Currently faculty members in Community Health have backgrounds and expertise in the areas of Epidemiology, Rehabilitation, Health Policy and Administration, and Health Education. A hiring plan will be developed in consultation with the faculty.

Both Kinesiology and Community Health currently utilize a combination of tenure-track faculty and academic professionals to teach courses within the department. The merged department will undoubtedly continue to require the services of both tenure-track faculty members and non-tenure track instructors for the foreseeable future. However, in the short term, there is a critical need is to increase the number of tenure-track faculty in Community Health who would be eligible to serve as members of the Graduate Faculty. Every effort will be made to grow the number of tenure-track faculty members as rapidly as possible.

10. Considering the fact that the proposed new department will consist of a majority of faculty in Kinesiology, how will the College ensure fair treatment of the faculty, staff and students in Community Health in the following areas;

i. Admission of new students

There is no plan to change the relative proportion of undergraduate students admitted in Community Health or Kinesiology. The merged department will maintain separate undergraduate advisors for the Community Health and Kinesiology undergraduate majors.

Similarly, every effort will be made to maintain enrollment levels for graduate students within each degree concentration. Decisions regarding admission of students to the program and funding of teaching and research assistantships will be made with input from the faculty in both Community Health and Kinesiology.

ii. Curriculum changes

The merged department Curriculum Committee and Educational Policy Committee will be constituted in such a way as to ensure representation from faculty in both Kinesiology and Community Health.

iii. Establishing new bylaws and new department name

In a series of meetings held over the summer in 2004, faculty and staff from both departments initiated a process of comparing the existing bylaws for each department and considering what process might be adopted to reconcile the differences in the event that the merger takes place.

These committees have recommended that two merger committees be formed with equal representation from each department (Faculty and Student Committee; Staff Committee). These committees would meet regularly over a 6-12 months period after the announcement of the merger and make recommendations to the Dean and new Department Head regarding how to most effectively implement the merger.

For the first two years the merged department will be named the “Department of Kinesiology and Community Health”. After this period, the new department will explore whether a new name can be identified for the new unit

iv. Hiring decisions

Care will be taken to ensure that there is a strong representation of Community Health faculty on all search committees charged with hiring new faculty in the area of Community Health.

v. Annual reviews and merit raises

Care will be taken to ensure that the annual review and merit process is equitable and provides equal opportunity for all faculty and academic professionals in the merged department. Existing annual review processes within each department will be studied. The faculty merger committee will be invited to provide input regarding how best to integrate current practices within each department. Care will be taken to follow campus and college guidelines regarding the annual review and merit process.

vi. Promotion and Tenure decisions

The Promotion and Tenure Guidelines required by the Office of the Provost are currently used by both departments. The merger will have minimal impact on the processes followed. Care will be taken to ensure that P&T committees include representation from both Kinesiology and Community Health Faculty.

11. Could there be a cluster hiring of new faculty with the current organizational structure of Community Health maintained?

For various reasons, the Department of Community Health has lost 68 percent of its faculty over the last seven years, including all five of its assistant professors, who left in the same year. Repeated attempts to recruit well qualified new faculty members have not been successful, nor have efforts to recruit new leadership. As a result, the department’s faculty has declined from 12.5 FTE tenured-system faculty members to its current 4.0 FTE (one faculty member has retired since the original proposal was submitted). During the same seven years, enrollments in the department have more than doubled, to over 19,000 instructional units per year. With so few faculty members, 75 percent of the unit’s instruction is provided by instructors and graduate assistants.

Inability to recruit reflects both the intense competition for highly qualified faculty in this area and a widespread perception in the field of Community Health that the department is on a downward trajectory. If a violable program in Community Health is to be sustained on this campus, the program must be put in a position to attract well qualified new faculty members. This will require locating the program in a successful unit with a vigorous research environment. That is the objective of the proposed merger of Community Health with the Department of Kinesiology.