Too Many Majors

The Enrollment Management Committee and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee were asked to investigate the over enrollment issue and to consider avenues for handling the preponderance of communication majors by the chairperson of the communication department, Chelsea McGuire. Each committee dedicated time, effort and energy in their small groups to come up with solutions for this problem. I would characterize the decision-making style of the Enrollment Management Committee (EMC) as a rational decision-making style when considering the enrollment management problem.
They began their research with formulation (researched enrollment management systems around campus),then moved to concept development (set a goal to determine the optimal system for stemming the flow of majors into the communication department), and then detailing (conducted a systematic survey of all other campus departments to determine if they had also experienced problems with over enrollment in recent years), followed by evaluation(inquired about plans and effectiveness, compared characteristics of other campus departments with relevant attributes in considering any other options) and finally, implementation (coming up with three optimal solutions for Communications department to consider).
The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) used an intuitive decision- making style when considering the enrollment management problem. They based their solution on past experiences in similar contexts- what has worked in the past. This type of decision-making style is very analogical. Before reading this scenario, I thought for sure that intuitive decision making style was something that would be more effective in a real-life situation. After further reading and thinking, I find that the Enrollment Management Committee has come up with some great “solutions” and I do not think they should be dismissed. Sometimes, it’s difficult to look inward and realize the problem might be that your program is too easy and that’s why students are choosing it.

I would choose any of the solutions given by the EMC. I think that if Chelsea McGuire retains her typical participative decision-making style during the upcoming faculty meeting, she will not walk out with a definitive solution. This type of problem, as we see from the response letters, can have many solutions that are subjective. Although I do not believe the UCC to be incorrect in their findings, I do think that some people and groups are not as comfortable with change. A well respected member of the UCC that has held her position for thirty years might not see an issue, but that does not mean there is not an issue. The staff should not feel overwhelmed.
If the staff is overwhelmed, how can they perform their best and give each student the focus and attention they deserve? If there are no budget constraints, another option might be to hire additional faculty. The advantage to using participative decision-making is that everyone feels included and motivated. There is a possibility that people will come together and agree on a solution for the greater good. The disadvantage to this kind of style is that you may risk the lack of motivation when one group did not “win” the solution. It would be difficult to feel that the energy, time and effort going into finding the best solution did not “pay off. ” I think it would be helpful for Chelsea to use the Cognitive Model of PDM.
Using this model would allow the faculty to see the possible decisions provided by the EMC and UCC (allowing all faculty to feel the participation and also giving acknowledgement and credit to each team for their efforts), and allowing an open discussion forum for faculty to speak about what they think would be the best solution, and then voting. This allows for all voices to feel heard and will hopefully involve less disappointment when a solution has been decided. The communication behaviors I would watch for in the upcoming meeting to assess whether an effective decision-making process is being used would be the level of participation and dialogue.
If the majority of the faculty seems engaged in the decision making, I would consider the choice of decision-making style a success. Although I might feel that the most effective solution involves change, if the faculty and staff participating in the faculty meeting come together and support the “no change” solution, I would determine a solution based on the group. A “bona fide group” perspective on the way the group is embedded in organizational structures (e. g. , the department, the university, professional (institutions) might influence my assessment of the situation in a positive way. It is important for a group to feel unity because a unified group builds an internal strength and motivation.

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