Daily Egyptian

Two new proposed schools approved in academic reorganization

By Amelia Blakely, Campus editor

In the latest discussion of Chancellor Carlo Montemagno’s academic reorganization, there are two additional school proposals, according to the Faculty Association’s website.

The two proposed new schools are the School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences and a School of Technology.

In the latest draft of the reorganization, there were 18 schools including the Schools of Law and Medicine.

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With the addition of the proposed schools of Computing, Psychological and Behavioral Sciences, and Technology, the proposed number of schools equals 21.

“One observation would be there are more schools now, and the final number is not clear,” Faculty Association President David Johnson said.

Schools and departments have similar responsibilities and administrative power defined by the faculty union contract called the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Montemagno said.

“We’re eliminating the name departments but we’re keeping the functions of departments,” Montemagno said. “I can’t have a department reporting to a school because they’re both at the same administrative level.”

The term “department” has to be eliminated so the chancellor can shift departmental responsibilities to the proposed schools.

Montemagno said after policy documents are realigned and faculty contracts are negotiated the department label will be restored again.

In midst of the restructuring, chair of the Psychology Department Michael Hone and psychology faculty decided to focus on aspects of the reorganization they could control.

“The cliche someone gives you lemons just make lemonade; we did that and we decided to pour in a lot of sugar,” Hone said.

Through being vocal to the university’s administration, the Department of Psychology proposed to form a School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences.

Hone said this idea came up when faculty began thinking how the department could be improved and better serve graduate and undergraduate students.

“We’ve put all of our energies into trying to figure out how to build a better house, so to speak,” Hone said. “Those other issues are out of our control.”

Matters of interest in the faculty’s control include contract negotiations, as the faculty union’s contract with the university ends on June 30 2018.

The psychology department that is in the College of Liberal Arts will also be moved to the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Psychology’s curriculum is moving towards health and pre-medicine, which is why the school of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences is proposed to be placed in the College of Health and Human Sciences, Hone said.

“Psychology, Behavioral Analysis, and Therapy will form the core of this new school,” Hone said.

In the proposed school’s new position in the College of Health and Human Sciences Hone said he hopes the school will be able to show prospective students the broad study of Psychology.

“Psychology is a very broad discipline,” Hone said. “Everything from people who study behaviors of cells, animals, humans, cultural issues, diversity issues to how do you remember where you parked.”

Hone hopes out of the restructuring process, a Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience will be created.

The creation of the School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences will not stop the collaboration the psychology department has had with other parts of the university, Hone said.

Montemagno said the reorganization should allow faculty members to have the freedom to work and research outside their domain without being penalized.

“The courses will be still taught by the same faculty,” Montemagno said. “As this matures we’ll start making new offerings that we haven’t been able to do in the past.”

Montemagno said he does not have any plans eliminating departments. Any decisions regarding program creation or growth will belong to the faculty.

“The faculty will own the academic programs, and they’re going to have to decide how their programs change and morph as the terrain of need and opportunity changes,” Montemagno said.

These additional approved changes show the chancellor has been listening to faculty input, Faculty Association President David Johnson said.

For example, Africana Studies requested to place in the School of Humanities. Associate Provost David Dilalla said that on Jan 30, the department was notified of the administration’s support for the program’s move.

Johnson said the reorganization shows how difficult it is to reorganize the academic structure an entire research university.

“It’s difficult and perhaps, impractical to expect to do it, and do it intelligently in the time frame the chancellor was hoping for,” Johnson said.

The best way to gauge the reorganization is to look at the proposed schools and constituency votes Johnson said.

Graduate and Professional Student Council President Johnathan Flowers said the polls that have been taken are “straw polls”, which are unofficial votes that gauge the overall opinion of the faculty involved.

According to the Faculty Association’s website, three proposed schools have voted to extend the program change process by 30 days.

That includes the schools of Humanities, Media, Communications, Performing Arts and Social Sciences.

Units that voted to slow down reorganization are: Africana Studies, Agribusiness Economics, Anthropology, Cinema and Photography, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Communication Studies, Education Administration and Higher Education, English, History, Journalism, Language, Cultures, and International trade, Linguistics, Music, Radio, Television, and Digital Media, Sociology and Theatre.

The Civil Service Council, an organization representing the university’s civil service employees, voted 10-3 in support of the reorganization.

The College of Liberal Arts Council voted 15-0 with one abstention to oppose the universal elimination of departments on campus.

The Graduate Council voted 14-5 with three abstentions to oppose universal elimination of departments on campus, and The Faculty Senate voted 19-11 with three abstentions to oppose universal elimination of departments on campus.

Johnson said units that voted to speed up the process is computer science. Computer science is proposed to have to its own School of Computing.

The Graduate Professional Student Council and Undergraduate Student Government voted to oppose the universal elimination of departments on campus.

“It devalues our degree if we are perceived as coming from a school that cannot support a department of english, a department of chemistry, a department of philosophy,” Flowers said. “As proposed, the elimination of departments strips away departmental autonomy and authority from the faculty.”

The department of technology denied comment on the proposed school.

To find more and updated information about the university’s restructuring visit GPSC’s website.

Campus editor Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected]

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