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Academic Department

An Academic Department is an academic unit organized around a discipline or group of related disciplines. It serves as the tenure home for faculty; offers one or more degree programs; and offers courses, including courses required for its degree program(s). An Academic Department has personnel and curriculum committees consistent with relevant University policies, procedures, and collective bargaining agreements. It is led by a Head or a Chair who reports directly to the Dean of a College. 


Academic Program 

An Academic Program is an academic unit organized to provide instruction in a particular substantive area from a multi-disciplinary perspective and draws faculty participation from two or more departments. An Academic Program offers one or more degree programs and typically offers at least some of the courses required for its degree program(s).1 Participating tenure-system faculty hold appointments in Academic Departments, which are responsible for all personnel decisions. A Memorandum of Understanding between an Academic Program and participating Academic Departments may define a role for an Academic Program in departmental personnel decisions. A curriculum committee, executive committee, or similar body is responsible for an Academic Program's courses and credentials. An Academic Program is led by a Director who reports directly to the Dean of a College.


A group of faculty and degree programs organized for the purpose of providing coordination of and leadership for academic planning, resource management, and academic support. The Colleges represent the primary organizational framework for the academic enterprise. A College has personnel and curriculum committees consistent with relevant University policies and procedures and collective bargaining agreements, through which relevant decisions of departments and programs are reviewed. A College is led by a Dean who reports directly to the Provost.


School is a designation given to an Academic Department or Academic Program, or group thereof, for the purpose of promoting a particular identity. This identity may be relevant to recruitment of students or faculty, public relations, development, research, instruction, outreach, or any other goals or activities of the participating unit(s).

In the case of a single Department or Program designated a School, the Department’s Head or Chair or the Program’s Director becomes the Director of the School. In the case of multiple units seeking designation as a School, an agreement approved at the time of designation defines how a Department Head or Chair or Program Director will be chosen as the Director of the School. This agreement may also define cooperative relationships in marketing, recruiting, or other appropriate areas.

Schools per se do not represent an organizational level or structure. All personnel, curricular and fiscal decisions operate at the Academic Department or Academic Program level. The designation of a Director in a multi-unit School does not establish or imply a reporting relationship with the Heads, Chairs, or Directors of the School’s constituent units. A multi-unit School does not have a personnel or curriculum committee, and it does not serve as the tenure home for faculty.

A School is organized within a single College, although it may draw participation from units in other Colleges, and it operates consistent with the policies and priorities of the College within which it is organized. A College Dean may choose to augment the functions of a School or a School Director, or make specific financial, staffing, or other arrangements as part of the normal operations of the College. College Deans may also choose to enter into agreements with one another regarding the operation of Schools that involve participation of units from more than one College. If such agreements prove insufficient for cross-College schools, then additional enabling legislation may be needed in the future.


Source: Sen. Doc. No. 12-021A

1The phrase “Academic Program” is intended here as a term of art for interdepartmental degree-granting programs, such as STPEC or MCB. Other senses of the word “program” should not be confused with this term of art. E.g., an intradepartmental degree-granting program like the Dance program within the Department of Music and Dance is not an Academic Program in this technical sense. Capitalization will be reserved for the technical meaning of Program.