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Creation of School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies

Last April, I announced a reorganization of the Graduate School and established a team to plan a transition by Jan. 1 to a graduate education system that essentially would be housed either in the units or in the provost's office.

As the teams moved forward with their planning, it became apparent to them and to me that the proposed structure is not in our best interest at this time, and that sometimes change needs to take place incrementally.

The system we proposed in April would be detrimental to students, and that is not acceptable to me. If we were to organize in the proposed way, graduate students would have no “home” and representational rights — no student council, no Student Government Association presence, no council funds to pay for professional travel to conferences.

My goal is to strengthen support for graduate students — not diminish it. Students and faculty also expressed concern about fellowships, grievances, community-building and loss of a structure designed to support graduate student development.v

The proposed system also would make it difficult to develop interdisciplinary degrees that cross unit boundaries because they would have no central administration.

The solution from transition groups, and with which I agree, is to create the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

Bill Pierce will be interim dean and vice provost while we work out details, but SIGS will not be a re-creation of the old graduate school. Academic authority for graduate degrees will largely move to the appropriate academic unit, as we had planned last spring, as will authority to appoint graduate faculty. Graduate students will continue to have a home in SIGS and the SGA rights that go with that home. Authority for interdisciplinary degrees will be held jointly by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies and the academic unit.

I think this solution is the best one to help us provide the support for graduate students and for interdisciplinary study at UofL.

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