College of Education Restructuring Records
Scope and Contents
This collection contains records relating to the restructuring of Virginia Tech's College of Education and includes reviews of existing programs, task forces on revising the governance structure of the college and its curriculum. The collection primarily contains the publicly circulated e-mails, reports, and meeting handouts that served as major communications during the restructuring. There are also transcripts of speeches given by officials as well as some meetings, and a few descriptive field notes written by restructuring monitor Jan Nespor of things like "task forces." Anything pertaining to personnel issues has been omitted as have e-mails or other reports or communications that might reasonably be considered confidential. Although the archives contain materials relating to the immediate response to Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen's decision and the early planning for the merger with the College of Human Resources, they essentially stop after January 1996.
- 1979 - 1996
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. College of Education (1971-1996) (Organization)
Language of Materials
The materials in the collection are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to research.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (email@example.com or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.
In 1990, the state of Virginia began to cut funding to higher education. During the first phase of these cuts, Virginia Tech responded with general reductions across colleges. By 1993, however, the university had entered "Phase II," which called for further budget cuts, to be based on strategic decisions about where the university should be allocating its resources:
The phrase "Phase II" is intended to signify the transition to a more thoughtful period of review, restructuring, and renewal. In Phase II we will replace opportunism and expediency with a planned approach involving the entire university community in a careful analysis of options and priorities. (Phase II document from provost's office, 1993-09-24, pg. 1)A plan introduced in 1993 directed that have every college submit a "reallocation plan" at the beginning of each biennium. These plans were to describe a permanent reduction of 1.5% in each college's base budget (for the College of Education (COE) 1993 budget, a cut of approximately $125,000). University administration would then reallocate the expropriated money, giving priority to such things as:
Faculty salaries, graduate student stipends, and the host of new regulatory requirements we must address. The scale of this reallocation may need to increase if we are successful in stemming the decline in state support for higher education. (From Phase II document, "Accepting Greater Responsibility for our Own Destiny," 1993-10-4, pg. 10)In January 1994, the provost rejected the reduction plan submitted by the College of Education and called for a new draft plan in 10 weeks, stipulating that the plan should detail how the college would reduce its budget by 20% (about $1.6 million) over the next three years. As he explained:
This [cut] is not really abut enrollments, not really about weighted student credit hours, it is not about any other standard measures you come up... it's not really about quality - so much as, what I'm talking about today is the matter of mission and priorities, and in that sense a matter of focus, a real sharpening up of the College's fundamental purpose. [A full transcript of the provost's remarks can be found within the collection.]Coupled with the previous three years of state-driven budget cuts, this new proposed reduction would shrink the faculty of the college by 20 or 30 positions, programs would be shut down, and tenured faculty might be laid off.
The cuts to Virginia Tech's College of Education were similar to those experienced at other institutions of higher learning. Colleges and schools of education lack powerful alumni and constituencies, rarely have access to large, steady streams of government funding, and enroll more women and minorities than most other fields. These factors put them in structurally weak positions within universities. As Slaughter (1993) points out, across the U.S., education "was cut more deeply than almost any other field in the 1980s" (pg. 272) and accounted for about 37% of all faculty dismissals during that period (pg. 270).
As the faculty of Tech's College of Education scrambled to address the new mandates, Jan Nespor was asked, as the College's only ethnographer, to study or "monitor" the restructuring process. (Within the first box of the collection are e-mails relating to Nespor's status as archivist.)
After about 20 months of intensive planning for restructuring the College of Education, Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen decided that the college would instead be dissolved and merged with the College of Human Resources. As he explained:
"There are a lot of colleges of education, schools of education out there. A [university governing] Board member asked... 'Why do we even have college of education? Radford [nearby Radford University] was set up as a teachers' college. It's 15-17 miles away, why don't you consider closing the College of Education?' ... I read only a couple of days ago, a member of the House of Delegates who was re-elected from Danville, was questioning whether we need all these colleges of education.
I'm sorry that you're caught up in this, but part of it is symbolic. What the university is doing is saying "We had nine colleges, we now have eight." And believe me, that's going to be applauded across this Commonwealth like you can't believe. And the university needs support." [Full transcript contained within the collection.]Having been forced 22 months earlier to terminate programs which were deemed irrelevant, such as adult education, the college was paired in the new College of Human Resources and Education with such unlikely partners as Hotel and Tourism Management and Interior Design. In 2003, the College of Human Resources and Education was in turn combined with most of the liberal arts departments from the former College of Arts and Sciences to form Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
3 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)
The collection includes publicly circulated e-mails, reports, and meeting handouts that served as major communications during the restructuring of Virginia Tech's College of Education. Also contains transcripts of speeches given by officials as well as some meetings, and field notes by Jan Nespor of meetings with the "task forces." Also contains materials relating to the immediate response to Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen's decision and the early planning for the merger with the College of Human Resources. The records essentially stop after January 1996.
The collection is arranged in a roughly chronological order.
Source of Acquisition
The College of Education Restructuring Records were donated to Special Collections in 2006.
Rights Statement for Archival Description
The guide to the College of Education Restructuring Records by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).
The processing, arrangement and description of the College of Education Restructuring began in February 2007 and was completed in March 2007. The collection was previously arranged by Jan Nespor, the recorder of the events the collection is describing.
- A Guide to the College of Education Restructuring Records, 1979-1996
- Jennifer Vipperman; Tamara Kennelly
- 2008 (CC0 1.0)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English
- 2020-10-13: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
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