Academic Departments

Establishing or Restructuring Academic Departments

New departments and departmental restructuring takes lots of planning.  Proposals are developed by interested faculty, usually with dean support and wide consultation.  Proposals need to be approved at the school/college level. Following approval by the school/college academic planning council, proposals are forwarded by the dean to the provost who will seek a recommendation on the proposal from the University Academic Planning Council. If approved, the proposal is presented at the Faculty Senate for information and discussion prior to final implementation. The action is reported to UW System Administration for information, but no approval is required by UW System or the Board of Regents.

Advance consultation with APIR is recommended.  Academic departments and non-departmental academic units have specific features as defined in policy.  Proposals related to departments and non-departmental academic units (with or without tenure) are submitted through Lumen Structures.

For policy information and guidance about what to include in a proposal see:

Renaming Academic Departments

A proposal to rename an academic department is prepared and voted on by the department faculty.
The proposal should include the day and count of the vote with a list of faculty who were present.
After the department vote, the proposal should be considered by the school/college APC and then forwarded to the provost with a cover memo of support from the dean.  Consideration by the UAPC is final action, but the name change is required to go to the Faculty Senate for a reading.

Components of the proposal:

  • clear statement of the current and new name of the department
  • statement of all of the academic program components that will also have a name change, including any degree/major programs, PhD minors, Subject listings, and so on
  • an explanation of the reason for the name change
  • proposed timeline
  • documentation of concurrence from any department with even a slightly overlapping name (this will avoid any questions that may arise about whether any departments with overlapping identity have been adequately consulted)- if the proposal includes a proposal to change the name of academic programs (degrees/majors) then considerations associated with program name changes should be addressed (for considerations and policy see Things to Think About When Proposing a Program Name Change)