Future of UPAC uncertain

Now that President Robert A. Corrigan has announced that the University is moving forward with its merger to a six-college structure, many questions surrounding the restructuring are being answered. There is one organization, however, that is still shrouded in uncertainty—UPAC.

While SF State is scheduled to implement the merger July 1, the future of the University Planning Advisory Council, which originally recommended the six-college structure, is unclear.

“It’s hard to say what will happen to UPAC until the transition occurs,” said Academic Senate Chair Shawn Whalen, referring to the college merger that received two-thirds approval by faculty and which Corrigan accepted April 22.

According to Whalen, UPAC isn’t working on any projects at the time. Corrigan and the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate will make a decision on the council’s future position in the next month or so.

Since its first proposal was released in January 2010, UPAC’s responsibilities have shifted solely to the merger. Yet, when UPAC was established in December 2009, it claimed that it would comprehensively examine SF State’s budget challenges and to analyze how the University could best streamline its efforts to conserve money, according to SF State’s website.

UPAC, which is comprised of six faculty members, one staff member and four administrators — three of whom are deans — was appointed by Corrigan in consultation with the Executive Committee.

Meanwhile, University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin said the possibility of UPAC having a future role exists. However, there is nothing specific to announce at this point.

“The focus at this time is for deans and faculty to proceed with implementing the reorganization decision that has been made,” Griffin wrote in an email.

The recently approved decision eliminates the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and leaves SF State with the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Business, the Graduate School of Education, the College of Ethnic Studies, the College of Health and Human Services, and the College of Science and Engineering.

Whalen said the council has not met since Corrigan announced his second proposal for the reorganization of SF State’s eight colleges March 21.

“The six-college structure is better than imposing a new structure,” Whalen said. “We worked hard toward achieving something that is agreeable with the campus.”

The new college organization is predicted to save the University $1 million annually if the transition is managed well, he said.

“Students shouldn’t anticipate any disruptions in their day-to-day lives,” Whalen said. “Academic curriculum won’t be disrupted.”

Although the majority of faculty will have the same dean and remain in their offices, Whalen said the reorganization of colleges will mostly affect faculty, who will have to work with new deans.

“Faculty will have to adjust to new circumstances,” Whalen said. “This is an unavoidable situation during a time of budget cuts.”

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