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A88: Creation and Reorganization of UNM Academic Units

Approved By: Faculty Senate
Effective Date: January 12, 2021
Responsible Faculty Committees: Faculty Senate Operations Committee
Office Responsible for Administration: Provost and Executive Vice President for Health Sciences

Revisions to the Policy Rationale, Policy Statement, and Applicability sections of this document must be approved by the full Faculty Senate.

Policy Rationale

From time to time it is necessary for the University of New Mexico (UNM) to consider proposals for the creation of new academic units, or for major restructuring of existing academic units, especially units involving teaching functions and including those crossing disciplinary lines. Occasionally the proposed unit would become a branch community college of UNM. This Policy document provides policies and procedures for consideration of such actions pertaining to UNM academic units. The specific procedures for consideration and approval will be established through discussions between the proposers of any changes and representatives of the Office of the Provost or Office of the Executive Vice President of Health Sciences (EVPHS) and the Faculty Senate Operations Committee.

Policy Statement

The creation of a new academic unit located on or off the UNM Albuquerque campus, including new branch community colleges, or to make changes in an existing academic unit, requires approval of at least the 1) UNM Faculty Senate, acting on the advice of appropriate faculty committees as determined by the President of the Faculty Senate, and 2) appropriate administrative officers, as determined by the President, the Provost or the EVPHS. If approval of the proposal by the Board of Regents is required (See Regents' Policy 5.1, all actions of the Faculty Senate and the administrative officers relative to the proposal shall be transmitted to the Board of Regents.

Approval of the proposed action must be obtained prior to initiating operation of a new academic unit or making permanent major changes in existing academic units. In no case is this to be construed as prohibiting an existing academic unit from experimenting with temporary major changes prior to seeking approval of these on a continuing basis. However, it is expected that even in the case of experimental changes, stakeholders, such as affected faculty, staff, and students will be informed in advance and their input sought and considered by the appropriate dean, director, or other administrator proposing the changes, prior to initiation of the experiment.

All proposals to create or re-organize academic units shall follow the policies and procedures described herein and any applicable procedures, standards, or guidelines established by the Faculty Senate Operations Committee in consultation with representatives of the Provost or the EVPHS with relevant academic unit heads (e.g., dean’s, directors, chairs).


All academic units (excluding research centers and institutes, which are covered in Policy A91) including those within the Health Sciences Center and Branch Community Colleges.

Revisions to the remaining sections of this document may be amended with the approval of the Faculty Senate Policy Committee and Operations Committee in consultation with the responsible Faculty Senate Committee listed in Policy Heading.


Major changes. Merger of two or more academic units, or dissolution of an academic unit. This policy is not meant to apply to organizational changes within an integral academic unit with no implications outside that academic unit.

Academic unit. Degree granting program, department, branch, school, or college.

Who should read this policy

  • Academic deans or other executives, department chairs, directors, and managers
  • Administrative staff responsible for academic units.

Related Documents

Faculty Handbook:

UNM Board of Regents' Policy Manual:


Direct any questions about this policy to the Office of the Provost or the EVPHS.


Creation or Reorganization of an Academic Unit. After obtaining input from affected faculty, staff, and students in accordance with the Policy Statement above, those proposing new or revised academic units, other than research centers or institutes (see A91 for these units), must prepare a proposal that includes items A through K described below and submit the proposal for approval in accordance with the following steps:

  • The proposal will be submitted to the college or school dean for approval.
  • The dean will submit the proposal to the Provost or EVPHS for preliminary approval.
  • After preliminary approval, the proposal will be submitted by the dean to the Faculty Senate Academic Council for review and endorsement.
  • The Faculty Senate Academic Council will submit the proposal to the Faculty Senate Operations Committee for review and endorsement.
  • The Faculty Senate Operations Committee will submit the proposal to the full Faculty Senate for approval.
  • After Faculty Senate approval, the proposal will be submitted to the Provost or EVPHS for final approval.
  • Following final approval, the Provost or EVPHS will use the content of the proposal, as delineated in the Procedures Section below, as the basis for a formal charge to the initiating dean or academic unit as appropriate.

If at any step in this process substantive change(s) are proposed, the previous reviewing authorities will have one week to review the change(s) and rescind their approval/endorsement if they disagree with change(s).

Proposal for Creation or Reorganization of an Academic Unit

The proposal should include the following:

A. Executive Summary - Identification of the proposed academic unit or major changes, including all aspects such as instruction, research, and service.

B. Rationale - Reasons why the proposed changes are desirable or necessary. For example, may be responsive to state or national needs, existing or anticipated opportunities, or requirements of regulatory bodies such as accreditation agencies.

C. Academic Benefit - The advantages to UNM if the proposal is implemented, including effects on current or future students, faculty, and staff at UNM.

D. Conflict Statement - Any actual or potential conflicts with the programs or services of existing academic units at UNM, branch community colleges of UNM, or other institutions or organizations within the State of New Mexico. Does the proposed academic unit or change offer a potential for enhancement of, or cooperation with, the programs or services of other academic units or organizations?

E. Resource Statement - A summary of the anticipated costs or changes in costs, and the human and physical resources, including space and equipment needed during the first five years of operation of the proposed new or revised academic unit.

F. Organizational Structure - Existing organizational structure related to proposal, and the anticipated structure when the revision or new academic unit has evolved to anticipated form. Include a description of:

  • Administrative structure, including the line of responsibility within the organization and the path(s) through which the unit will report;
  • Faculty positions, including rank and responsibilities; and
  • Staff positions, including grades and responsibilities

G. Academic Offerings – Description of the instructional programs the academic unit will offer, if any. What degree programs will the unit offer or support at the undergraduate or graduate levels? What courses at the lower division, upper division, and graduate levels will the unit offer in support of either its own or other degree programs? Identify both existing and new courses. Briefly explain the need for the new courses. If any of these courses overlap or are intended to replace existing course offerings at UNM, explain how potential duplication and conflict with the units offering those courses would be resolved.

H. Research Profile - Description of the unit's proposed research programs. What research programs will be conducted by the unit alone or in cooperation with other units? In case(s) of cooperative programs, what other units will be involved, what will be their role, and what will be the relationship between these units and yours? What degree programs will these research programs support, and in what manner will they be supported? What non-state funding sources are anticipated for the research programs? What funding from UNM or the State of New Mexico will be required?

I. Service Profile - Description of the academic unit's service activities. What services will the unit provide to other units in or associated with UNM? Are these services currently offered by any other unit at UNM associated with it, or contracted by it? If so, do you plan to supplement what exists or to replace it? How would potential conflicts with the other units be resolved? What services will the unit provide to organizations outside UNM? Are there units, either public or private, already offering these services? If so, justify the need for you to provide them via the proposed unit.

J. Near Term Planning Statement - A timeline of key decision points and benchmarks accompanied by a narrative discussion of the plans for the academic unit for the next three to five years, including what needs, opportunities, or demands will the academic unit satisfy that are not currently being adequately met. How will the unit's functions and size change during this period? For example, will they remain static, grow, or diminish? How will faculty, staff, and administrators be acquired to support this unit?

K. Preliminary Budget - A detailed budget summary for the first five years of operation of the proposed academic unit. For operating costs, include at least personnel, space upkeep or rental, utilities, contracted services, and equipment maintenance and replacement. For one-time costs, include at least space, furniture, utilities connections, and equipment.

Proposal for Creation or Reorganization of an Academic Unit should be clear and concise and no longer than 10 – 12 pages in length. Units may append supporting documentation to the proposal as needed.


  • January 12, 2021—Approved by Faculty Senate Operations Committee
  • December 2, 2020—Approved by Faculty Senate Policy Committee
  • October 27, 2015—Approved by Faculty Senate
  • October 11, 1994—Approved by Faculty Senate