The School of Advanced Studies at the University of Phoenix is currently an effectively structured for-profit organization, but it is possible for some streamlining to occur. A more functional organizational structure given to the School of Advanced Studies would permit this department to slowly coordinate its activities across all divisions of the school, leading to higher long-term performance outcomes. In this proposal, we will examine how this particular hierarchy would work, and in what ways the functional organizational structure change of the School of Advanced Studies would improve efficiency in the long term.
As it stands now, the School of Advanced Studies, like the rest of the University, is operated in a team-based and participatory management style (Berg, 2005). Leadership is shared between a team of adjunct professors, who are committed to the university on a course-by-course basis. This leads to a turnkey, itinerant school of professors who are in no way tenured, and have the liberty to leave as soon as they like. While this may be more affordable to maintain as a university, it is possible that the current organizational structure does not permit a strongly structured, continuous education that allows the students to benefit from a consistent curriculum and philosophy of learning. A more centralized organizational structure is needed to provide a greater measure of authority to each department in the School of Advanced Studies, though a balance between centralization and decentralization can still be reached despite these environmental changes (Siggelkow and Levinthal, 2003).
This new organizational structure outlined below would promote continuity and greater structure among the School of Advanced Studies, introducing a tenure program and longer contracts. Instead of merely having a number of professors head classes at the department, more permanent positions would be created. A faculty governance system would be provided in the form of a dean of the School of Advanced Studies; this individual would oversee the entirety of the school, having the final say in all curriculum and budget decisions made within that particular department. He would be the head of a faculty senate, consisting of the heads of the various departments available in the School of Advanced Studies (Education, Nursing & Health Care, Business & Management, and Psychology). These four heads would be determined by extended contracts given to professors interested in remaining with the program for an extended period of time, with a tenure track established for them. One professor would act as the head of the department, and would be in charge of hiring the remaining professors responsible for teaching the courses in that department.
In terms of authority, the dean would have control over the entirety of the School of Advanced Studies, using the heads of department as a committee when making major decisions and allotting resources. They can advise the dean, but he would make final decisions, otherwise granting the departments a degree of autonomy. Within the department, the heads of department would have authority over the other professors, who can inform the head of their specific needs and requirements, which can then be forwarded to the dean if deemed important enough by the department head.
Each department would carry up to four or five professors at maximum, who would be given extended contracts year-by-year, instead of course-by-course. This would encourage less hiring of itinerant professors who could potentially teach a single course and move on; this system would encourage a more continuous throughline of education provided to students throughout their education in the program, and the refinement of curricula for each course that is repeated by the professor. Accountability would be present in the form of the head of department, who can oversee their performance and provide a more immediate, hands-on level of assistance and management to the department altogether.
Centralization of the organization would take place as a result of the restructuring of the School of Advanced Studies into more of a hierarchical, organized format. Instead of team-based coordination, the head of department would have authority over the other faculty, granting someone who can make a final decision in lieu of working in committee. Instead of being focused solely on the academics part of it, the dean and the academic senate can make budget and enterprise decisions on behalf of their department, having greater control of student service operations and allowing greater control over what resources they have for said departments.
The overall goal of this change in organizational structure is to make it more like a traditional college, with the levels of accountability and governance that ensure quality control and the maintenance of a consistent faculty that will carry their teaching through multiple years of employment. Instead of a managerial sense of oversight, there would be a greater sense of administration that shies away from corporate structure into more of an educational one. As a result, the focus can be shifted onto providing the quality education to its students that will ensure a reputation as a quality university.
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Siggelkow, N., & Levinthal, D. (2003). Temporarily divide to conquer: centralized, decentralized, and reintegrated organizational approaches to exploration and adaptation. Organization Science, 14(6), 650.