Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost

Restructuring the Oversight and Support of Graduate Education to Enhance Excellence

Plan Summary

On February 9, 2009, the 16 collegiate deans with graduate programs and the three senior vice presidents sent to President Bruininks a plan for restructuring the oversight and support of graduate education to enhance excellence. President Bruininks and Provost Sullivan shared information about the plan with the Board of Regents at the Regents February meeting. The plan is consistent with the strategic goal, endorsed in 2004 by the Regents, to position the University as one of the top three public research universities in the world.

The Graduate School will be reconfigured from a free-standing administrative unit to which all graduate programs directly report, to an Office of Graduate Education that parallels the Office of Undergraduate Education. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education will oversee this office, and will be responsible for oversight, coordination, and leadership on issues related to graduate education. Ultimate responsibility and accountability for the quality of individual graduate programs will rest with collegiate deans and their faculties. 

This model of collegiate responsibility and leadership with oversight and advocacy in the Provost’s Office has been extremely effective over the past decade in greatly improving the quality of undergraduate education at the University of Minnesota.  This model also is similar to the more decentralized systems that Stanford University, MIT, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania employ for oversight of graduate education.   For Minnesota, this is an opportunity to continue to be a leader among public research universities in employing innovative, efficiency-enhancing organizational change. 

An implementation team, consisting of a representation of collegiate deans, experienced directors of graduate studies, graduate students, faculty, and the Provost’s Office was formed on February 20 to develop an implementation plan.  New reporting lines will be effective with FY10 and the entire reorganization of structure and duties will be fully implemented by the beginning of fall semester 2010.  None of these changes will affect the application and recruitment of graduate students who matriculate in fall 2009. 

For additional information about the plan, please download the Restructuring the Oversight and Support of Graduate Education to Enhance Excellence planning document in PDF format.

Do you have a question or suggestion regarding this site? Please contact the site administrator.