Portfolio > 3a > 3. CSIS Reorganization
Search this site

3. An effective organizer with skills in:
(a) Organizational development

3a3 Facilitating the reorganization of Computer Science and Information Systems

Development Plan Portfolio Documentation
Act in the role of facilitator/advocate for Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIS) faculty as that department reorganizes and part of the department moves to another school.  Lead the university in the development of a proposal that is in the best interests of the faculty, the University, the programs offered and the affected students. Present log of meetings attended to facilitate the CSIS reorganization, with appraisal of the process and the outcomes.  Include letters from faculty and administrators involved with the process.

When I arrived at Andrews University in mid-1996, its computing program had a reputation that was second to none within Adventist higher education.  When I attended a conference of MIS Directors from Seventh-day Adventist institutions just four weeks after taking up my position at Andrews, Andrews University was referred to as the "Mecca" of computing.  It's academic program was very strong and had tremendous credibility, both within the church and with potential employers.

However, it had been going through some rough times with interpersonal conflicts within the department.  Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIS), as the department was called, was a part of the School of Business Administration, and by 1998, it was determined by the academic administration of the School and of the University that the problems in the department had reached crisis point and needed to be resolved.

A proposal had been floated to split the department and to relocate the Computer Science part of the department in the College of Technology.  Since I had good personal relationships with all the faculty in the department, and was now serving on the President's Cabinet as Chief Information Officer, I was considered by all parties to be the ideal person to serve as the facilitator/advocate in the reorganization process.  I had individual and group meetings with both of the Deans involved, with all the faculty in CSIS, and with the President and the Vice President for Academic Administration.

What I found most difficult about this role was that I was convinced that the proposal to split the department was contrary to the best interests of the University and of the computing program at Andrews.  The problem was that any alternatives that were suggested during my meetings were considered unpalatable to one side or another, or were too difficult or too radical to implement.  It felt like the process for which I was the facilitator/advocate had been set on a fixed course and that nothing was going to change it.  In mid-2000, about nine months after the departments were actually re-organized, I read an article in the May EDUTECH Report, which, combined with data Jack Stout presented to the Strategic Planning Committee, gave compelling reasons for making strategic investments in strengthening computing programs while Andrews seemed to be taking a "divide and conquer" approach.  In the hope of returning some support to computer science at Andrews, I sent an email to those who were involved in the reorganization.

I kept a log of the meetings I was involved in during the reorganization, although I have not kept any of the notes I made at those meetings, nor have I kept the large strategic planning document that the faculty were writing, nor their personal statements.  However, I summarized my personal views and made brief observations for my own use in a separate document.  [Note: This document may not be accessible by all readers.]

Although this project for which I was facilitator/advocate was going in a direction that was contrary to what I believed made good sense, I had decided that whatever the outcome, I could at least have a positive influence on its chances for success.  In a letter of thanks from Vice President, Academic Administration, I believe it is evident that I was able to achieve at least that goal.


Return to 3(a) Organizational development

Created: Sunday, February 20, 2000 05:06 PM 
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 9:02 PM