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Charge of the Decade?

Each of the task forces created as part of the Reimagining Cornell initiative ends with an excellent paragraph. My emphasis has been added:

It will be critical that the task force structure its work in a way that allows for input from, consultation with, or participation by, all relevant constituencies. This need for transparency must be balanced against the need to be expeditious, efficient, and capable of making hard decisions. It is inevitable that some recommendations will be unpopular with some constituencies... this task force cannot allow a desire to avoid conflict deter it from making bold recommendations.

I can see one unintended benefit of the University proposing a lot of bold and potentially unpopular changes -- some alums who previously may have been less engaged with the University may wake-up one day to hear that their beloved program is being considered for reorganization. This might motivate them to open up their wallets for the first time.

I also think it is worth noting that the 'management sciences' task force is headed by Ron Seeber, the vice-provost for land grant affairs. Any shake-up in this field would require working with the State of New York given the role that the contract colleges play.

And given that the management sciences are currently the most decentralized at Cornell (found in the Johnson School, all three of the contract colleges, and the Hotel and Engineering schools) this might be where we see the most amount of organizational movement.

Finally, the timing of the task force reports is also somewhat indicative of what is going on behind the scenes. Most of the reports for the academic units are due on September 15th. But the report for the budget is not due until December 15th. This means that budget task force will be able to play around with all of the different ideas proposed by the academic task-forces, including unit restructuring or mergers. The budget task force, after all, is responsible to:

Identify and document stewardship requirements, particularly for New York State appropriations but including all major fund sources. Develop alternative budget model scenarios that meet NYS stewardship requirements and achieve the intended outcomes. Identify any issues that warrant change through appropriate NYS or SUNY legislative or procedural action.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on August 31, 2009 (#)

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