VOLUME 33, NUMBER 20 THURSDAY, March 7, 2002

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MFC takes nontraditional focus

Reporter Assistant Editor

Millard Fillmore College has restructured its organizational functions and refocused its mission to attract non-traditional students to study at UB, George Lopos, dean of MFC, reported to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee at its Feb. 27 meeting.

"After 77 years of serving as UB's evening college, Millard Fillmore is now being reorganized to evolve and serve a more classic role as the university's continuing education division," Lopos told senators. MFC, which previously resided within the Division of Public Service and Urban Affairs, has been relocated to the provost's office, said Lopos, who also has assumed the title of associate vice provost for academic affairs.

MFC no longer will provide evening and surge courses for undergraduates, he said, adding that while the college will no longer manage summer sessions, it will continue to serve as the first point of contact regarding summer-session programming.

"The practical effect of this restructuring is that MFC will reduce its size from about 375 courses (offered) to about 45-50 courses of its own," he said.

As part of the effort to attract more non-traditional students, a number of aggressive measures will be put into place to contract with private-sector institutions to provide both credit and non-credit instruction to the institution's employees, Lopos said, noting that MFC currently has such contracts with the United Auto Workers (UAW) and American Axle Corp.

In addition, he reported, MFC hopes to expand the range and reach of its certificate programs and other educational vehicles to attract more non-traditional students, as well as identify market opportunities for programs already offered or that can be developed within UB's academic units.

"A fundamental change in this restructuring is a shift from a self-contained college within the university offering its own programs and a full range of student services and administrative processes to an administrative and facilitative entity providing services for academic program development which takes place principally under MFC's purview," Lopos said.

As part of UB's central mission to its students, he added, the admission functions and other student services once handled by MFC have been transferred to other units within the university, eliminating duplication of services. Instead, MFC will act as a broker for the academic units and no longer will develop programming that, at times, was competing with the units.

Further, the academic units are now responsible for providing students with evening classes and will manage the budgets for those classes.

Centralizing services, reducing duplication of services and merging with the overall academic mission of UB—while retaining its own identity and mission—will allow MFC to shed it's "back-door" image, noted Kerry Grant, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school. The end result, Grant said, will be that MFC now will be "part of the front door" to the university.

And, Lopos made clear, "the success of all of this depends on the academic units," since the budget, courses and quality of the programming now is the responsibility of the academic units.

"We have to watch rather carefully to see that there is a successful transition to the academic units actually offering classes somewhat out of their tradition," Grant added. "Many units are not experienced at offering evening classes and are unaccustomed to scheduling classes out of their own scheduling process. We want to make sure that general education courses are available in the evenings and that most of the major courses are available to students outside the traditional class hours."