As Union College continues to build on a renewed vision for student success, the college took the next step this week when leadership announced a restructuring initiative that will significantly shift the way academic programs are managed.
“We want Union College to be well-positioned for the future,” said president Vinita Sauder. “A new structure will poise the college to reimagine programs and launch new ones that meet student demand and prepare them to succeed in the marketplace.”
Streamlined academic divisions
For many years the college has grouped its nearly 30 undergraduate fields of study into eight academic divisions based loosely on similar subject matter. Each division has been overseen by a professor within one of the programs who served as chair in addition to a reduced teaching load.
The new structure will group all of Union’s programs into two or three “divisions” or “schools” that will each be overseen by a dean, allowing for more efficient operation and stronger collaboration between related fields. “Most college professors get into teaching because they love to teach, not to administrate,” said Dr. Rose. “This new structure will allow our professors who have been serving as chairs to get back to what they love to do—teach full time.”
A focus on student success
This initiative is part of Union’s renewed focus on student success as outlined in the college’s mission and vision statement adopted in 2017. Next school year will see many changes on campus, including a dramatically expanded and consolidated Student Success Center—which combines the Teaching Learning Center and Career Center with a larger team focused on giving every student the personal mentorship they need to survive in college.
The new center, funded by a $2.1 million grant, will provide a certified life coach for each freshman for the entire school year, provide embedded tutoring for a wide variety of classes, develop a number of programs to help students discover their calling and prepare for careers, and provide accessibility accommodations for students who need it.
“Our mission and vision guide everything we do at Union,” said Dr. Sauder. “While we are making significant changes across campus to help us accomplish this mission, Union is still the same at its core—dedicated to developing successful students who live joyfully in God’s calling for their lives.”
The restructuring initiative involved realigning both faculty and staff positions—including the reduction of four faculty positions and not rehiring three open faculty positions. Some adjustments were made in staffing as well, such as pooling office support staff for academic departments.
“Union College is committed to living out our mission to provide a quality education that prepares graduates to learn, serve and lead,” said Sauder. “We believe God is leading our institution and will continue to bless as he has for the past 130 years.”