English Staffing Review Team

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Team ID: 
College / Administrative Unit: 
Liberal Arts, College of the
Date Started: 
August 2005
We reviewed the overall administrative environment in English by assessing the practices and operations within the department and in relation to the College administration. By first determining the administrative needs of the unit, we then measured the effectiveness, economy, and accountability of existing processes, resources and services. We made recommendations to the Dean for the necessary changes.

In phase 1 we developed a full review plan and selected and charged a review team. A team comprising staff representing a variety of viewpoints had the advantage of early inclusion of the people who own the work.

Phase 2 will focused on gathering information about the following.
current problem areas
current areas of strength
internal polices
internal procedures
divisions of labor
supervisory structure
responses to external requests
capacity vs. demand
leadership style
training and development

In phase 3 we defined problem areas or areas of desired change through: understanding the history of how the problem/situation developed; describing what it is we wanted to achieve relative to that problem/situation; and determining what organizational changes or staffing changes it would take to succeed.

In phase 4 we assessed the effectiveness of the current business environment in meeting three kinds of needs in the unit: day-to-day operations, teaching and research requirements, and special projects. Additionally, we plan to develop an action plan to address sustainability, unmet needs, and accountability.

A review team selected from the staff in English and I (Jennifer Morris) collected information on the workload and staff resources of the English Department. Following are the areas studied for the assessment: staff position descriptions; percent of effort dedicated to distinct responsibilities; annual peak activity workflow; staff training and education levels; staff work experience; organizational structure; administrative and staff opinion on purpose, best/worst practices, short- and long-term goals, rewards; critical processes, comparison of workforce activities to department strategic goals.

The team did not collect information about or attempt to assess personal styles that may be impacting work outcomes.

Several activities were identified and completed that were critical to repositioning the English Department in terms of work flow and work load. Each area was addressed comprehensively to respond to the changing nature and quantity of work, and more importantly to afford more realistic workloads and expectations of the staff.

The team agreed on key, recurring processes; established/reenvisioned critical staff roles necessary to accomplish processes in a high-quality and timely fashion; established logical linkages between and among roles; empowered staff to understand and own the whole job; avoided piecemeal or ad hoc assignment of duties; reevaluated job descriptions; restructured reporting relationships; augmented staff and reallocated FT resources to help pay for standing positions.

Following are the recommendations that came out of the process and which the Dean supports.

Restructure advising operations
Restructure internal operations administration
Restructure Administrative Assistant IV position
Structure student support as a linked team.
Restructure reporting lines.
Restructure the Composition Office and align it with the undergraduate student support team.
Spatial reorganization
Restructure planning and external opportunity operations
Hire one business manager
Revise and review all staff positions to ensure accurate job descriptions, pay grading and alignment with new
Shift permanently budgeted money to the under-funded staff line currently vacant.
Develop recognition programs for staff members

To date all recommendations have either been implemented or are in progress. The new position, Departmental Strategic Planning Specialist, has been filled. Measures of achievement are being set with his input as well as input from every liaison office. This position reports to both the Department Head and the Associate Dean. (2/22/07)

Contact Person: 
Jennifer Morris
  • Robert Caserio, Department Head
  • Ray Lombra, Co-Sponsor
  • Susan Welch, Co-Sponsor
  • Kim Keller, Leader
  • Jennifer Morris, Facilitator
  • Amy Barone, Member
  • Christi Daniels, Member
  • Kathy Force, Member