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Provost José L. Cruz and Academic Affairs One Year Later

Changes Made to Foster More Intentional Collaboration

March 13, 2014

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José L. Cruz

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More than a year ago, Cal State Fullerton welcomed José L. Cruz as its provost and vice president for academic affairs. With many changes taking place over the past year, he recently sat down and discussed some of the reasons behind these changes.

How are things different in your division since you arrived at CSUF? What changes have you made?

During the past year, we've worked hard to restructure our administrative units in order to optimize our ability to advance our University's mission and achieve our strategic goals and objectives.

The first change we made was to transfer the coordination of our University's most important event — Commencement — to University Advancement's Major Events Department.

We also changed the charters of some of our units and renamed them accordingly. The Office of Undergraduate Programs became the Office of Academic Programs (responsible for both undergraduate and graduate programs) and the Office of Graduate Programs and Research became the Office of Research, Creative Activities and Technology Transfer.

We then followed with a series of moves that included transferring the functions of the Center for Internships and Community Engagement, University Outreach and President's Scholars to the Division of Student Affairs. This action helped streamline the portfolio of our associate vice president of academic programs and was a logical step given the establishment of retention and transition clusters in student affairs.

We also transferred the Center for Careers in Teaching to the College of Education — an action that our campus had been contemplating for the past several years.

More recently, we transferred various labor-related and human resource services from the Office of Faculty Affairs and Records to the new Division of Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion. This move will allow Faculty Affairs and Records to focus on faculty, retention, tenure, promotion and development issues.

Why were these changes made?

In general, the changes were driven by the need to streamline the portfolio of various administrative units, establish direct lines of accountability for all of our academic operations and foster collaboration among units within and outside our division.

Has your division taken on new responsibilities? New priorities?

The responsibilities and priorities of the Division of Academic Affairs are shaped by our University's mission and strategic plan and transcend the organizational boundaries of the division. So even in the case where some administrative units have been transferred to other divisions (e.g., CICE), our division is responsible for ensuring that our faculty and students are well served.

With all these changes, is there a current listing of managers/job titles?

Yes. All changes are reflected in the organizational charts posted on our website.

Editorial Note: A listing of the members of the provost's cabinet can be found at: http://www.fullerton.edu/acadaffairs/cabinet/
A listing of staff members is available at: http://www.fullerton.edu/acadaffairs/directory/

What is your assessment of the impact of these changes to date? Where do you hope this will lead?

The changes are fairly recent, so we are still in a transition phase — establishing service-level baselines, assessing program and project portfolios, streamlining workflows and strengthening relationships across academic units and divisions. Nevertheless, I believe the changes have enabled us to get traction in driving improvement in areas such as academic programs, assessment of student learning, student advising, support for research and creative activities, and various elements associated with our strategic plan.

But having said this, we still have some work to do. For example, the support we provide to our faculty in charge of online courses and programs is highly fragmented — we really need to develop an organizational structure that will provide adequate levels of leadership and oversight to these functions.

As far as where I hope these changes will lead, I am confident they will lead to a more effective organization that fully leverages the talent, time and energy of our constituents.

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