Reorganization Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (VCRGE)
New Leadership Structure

UW-Madison has had an intensive, five-year dialog about how to optimize its organizational structure in order to best support its already successful research and graduate education enterprise. This past May, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution to create two two separate but linked leadership structures, one that focuses on research and the other on graduate education. In addition to creating two structures, the faculty also indicated that more resources should be provided to both research and graduate education policy and infrastructure in order to achieve their objectives.

The new leadership structure was also endorsed by the Academic Staff Assembly, the chancellor and other campus leaders.

The restructuring provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at how we carry out our activities and achieve our mission. We intend to listen closely to the university community and work closely with governance groups to capture the spirit of change, while at the same time maintaining the successes we have already achieved.

This FAQ has been developed by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (VCRGE) to answer questions regarding this reorganization and to provide an update on the progress that has occurred to date.

This FAQ will be revised periodically as new questions arise and as progress on the reorganization continues. The document is posted on the new Office of the VCRGE website and the Graduate School’s website. Both websites will undergo significant changes over the next several months as research-related content transfers from the Graduate School website to the Office of the VCRGE website, the Office of the VCRGE develops more research-related content and tools for its site, and the Graduate School website becomes solely focused on Graduate Education.

The university’s research and research policy infrastructure is now overseen by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education’s (VCRGE) Office, and graduate education is overseen by a separate Graduate School dean who reports to the VCRGE. Chancellor Blank appointed Marsha Mailick to the position of interim VCRGE who, in turn, appointed Wendy Crone as interim dean of the Graduate School.

The two structures will have distinct budgets, staff and responsibilities when the reorganization is complete. Some administrative and policy staff resources will be shared in order to increase administrative efficiency and preserve integration of the activities of both units. The shared resources include human resources, information technology and accounting services, all under the administrative leadership of Associate Vice Chancellor Petra Schroeder.

In addition to the dean of the Graduate School reporting to the VCRGE, the two structures are currently linked through weekly leadership meetings. It is important that this new structure supports the continued high level of integration of research and graduate education that has been the hallmark of the UW-Madison.

The Office of the VCRGE is composed of the VCRGE’s office and the Graduate School.

A high-level administrative organizational chart shows that:

  • Seventeen of UW-Madison’s multidisciplinary research centers are in the VCRGE’s office, and report to the VCRGE.
  • The former academic associate deans for research are now retitled as divisional associate vice chancellors for research and they are in the VCRGE’s office and report to the VCRGE. Their responsibilities are now principally focused on research matters, representing the divisions (arts and humanities, social studies, biological sciences and physical sciences). Their previous responsibilities for graduate education will be performed by associate deans in the Graduate School (see below for more information on associate deans).
  • Associate vice chancellors for research policy are housed in the VCRGE’s office and report to the VCRGE. They retain their earlier titles and research-related responsibilities, such as industrial partnerships, conflicts of interest, export control, select agents, human subjects and animal research.
  • Most administrative support units, including research policy, research services, industrial partnerships, export control, accounting, human resources and information technology, are in the VCRGE’s office, with leadership title changes from associate and assistant deans to associate and assistant vice chancellors. Their responsibilities remain the same as before the restructuring, providing services to the campus, and the newly configured VCRGE office and Graduate School.
  • The Graduate School now has its own separate dean. The responsibility of the four units that report to the Graduate School dean (see next bullet) have not changed but a sole focus on graduate education should enhance the outcomes of their efforts. As noted earlier the Graduate School Dean reports to the VCRGE.
  • Graduate student support units including professional development and communications; admissions and academic services; academic planning and assessment; and diversity, inclusion, and funding will remain with the Graduate School.

The Faculty Senate also endorsed the creation of additional associate dean positions within the Graduate School that would work principally on graduate education and represent the divisions. Those positions are under consideration as the VCRGE and Graduate School further refine their administrative and leadership structures within the spirit of the governance document that was approved (Faculty Senate Document 2500) and the Working Group on Leadership Changes in the Office of the VCR/DGS.

More information on the individuals who hold the positions in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education and the Graduate School can be found online.

As noted above, 17 of UW-Madison’s multidisciplinary research centers are in the VCRGE’s office, and report to the VCRGE. They will continue to interact with the same support and policy units as before, which are now part of the VCRGE Office.

Undoubtedly, as Faculty Document 2500 indicates, there will be some additional resources needed to accomplish the vision set forth by the UW-Madison University Committee and Faculty Senate and the desired optimization of our research and graduate education enterprises. For example, the document indicates that a number of new associate deans of the Graduate School are expected to be needed, and that they will work principally on graduate education, representing the divisions.

However, the increase in costs will be less than they might otherwise be, because one administrative infrastructure (research policy, research services, industrial partnerships, export control, accounting, human resources and information technology) will serve both the Office of the VCRGE and the Graduate School, eliminating the need for duplicate services.

The Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, in close consultation with the University Committee and the Academic Staff Executive Committee, is shepherding the process of creating the University Research Council (URC) that was recommended by the Faculty Senate. The URC will include faculty and academic staff from all four divisions and is expected to begin meeting early this spring semester.

The Graduate Faculty Executive Committee (GFEC) and Graduate School-Academic Planning Council (GSAPC) will continue to operate as shared governance structures for the Dean of the Graduate School.

At least in the short term, the Committee on Academic Staff Issues (CASI), the Committee on Diversity Issues (CODI) and the Equity and Diversity Committee (EAD) currently report to the VCRGE with the Graduate School as a unit/district.

The philosophy and methodology underlying campus distribution and use of WARF funds will not change. WARF funds will be requested and administered by the Office of the VCRGE.

Over time, however, it is predicted that the additional attention to research, innovation and technology transfer will generate more intellectual property disclosures, patents and licenses, which in turn could spur additional funding opportunities for the campus from WARF.

Within the Office of the VCRGE, the Graduate School will continue to administer the Graduate Student Fellowships programs.

There is no impact on the Fall Competition. The process remains the same with the divisional associate vice chancellors (previously titled associate deans) continuing to chair the four divisional research committees, and administrative units within the VCRGE’s office continuing to support the overall process.

Research funding programs that were previously under the Graduate School umbrella will be coordinated and supported within the VCRGE’s office by the same administrative and policy units that previously had those responsibilities.

The Office of the VCRGE leadership team, which includes the dean and associate dean of the Graduate School, is devoting it efforts during this academic year to creating a distinct Graduate School with its own dean and budget, and developing an Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education that fosters the vitality of the university-wide research environment, optimizes the research and scholarship infrastructure, and supports the continued high level of integration of research and graduate education that has been the hallmark of UW-Madison. This process will involve interaction with governance groups and outreach to faculty, staff and students, whose advice we will seek as we implement the resolution that the Faculty Senate passed last May.

This is an inflection point in the history and future of UW-Madison, and the Office of the VCRGE takes very seriously the opportunity and challenge of “getting it right” so as to better achieve the university’s research and graduate education missions.

More detailed information and updates on the reorganization can be found online.

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