Date: March 12, 2007
To: Provost William Covino, Vice President for Academic Affairs
John Sarraille, Speaker of the Faculty, Senate Executive Committee
Carl Brown, Dean, College of Education
Marjorie Jaasma, Acting Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Studies Reorganization Committee
Members: Carl Brown, Cathlin Davis, Bill Foreman, Marjorie Jaasma,
Shane Phillips (Chair), Dawn Poole, Tarah McComack
Re: Evaluation Report on the Liberal Studies Reorganization Proposal
The Liberal Studies Reorganization Committee has reviewed the proposal requesting transfer of the Liberal Studies Department from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to the College of Education. Campus input, including an open forum, has been included in our deliberative process. The proposal has been well received by all campus constituencies.
The proposed reorganization will not affect the Liberal Studies Department’s leadership, composition, budgetary support, or physical space. The reorganization will make a significant difference in program identity and delivery. Since the Liberal Studies major on this campus is a pre-professional program leading to a Multiple Subject and/or Special Education Credential, the natural place for it to reside is the College of Education. Currently, students seeking to become K-8 teachers must navigate a complicated catalog search to find the information they seek under “Liberal Studies” within the “College of Humanities and Social Sciences.” Clearly, potential students need better catalog pathways to find the information they seek. Given the very large number of majors in Liberal Studies, (currently 985), this is a significant issue.
The alignment of this pre-professional program with the graduate programs it feeds makes perfect sense. Both undergraduate and graduate programs will function better if they are housed within the same administrative structure in the College of Education. Students, faculty and staff will be engaged in a community with common interests and goals. Relationships with outside entities, such as granting agencies and local school districts, will be maximized through collaborations within a single college. The role of the Liberal Studies Department within the University will be much better reflected in the proposed structure. This is important since the Liberal Studies major depends on the discipline specific coursework provided by departments throughout the university. In addition, the recruitment of LIBS faculty and their professional development, including the Retention, Promotion and Tenure process, is clearly impacted by aligning them within a professional education community.
Moving the Liberal Studies Department to the College of Education is best viewed as a homecoming. While there will undoubtedly be some details and growing pains to work through, this proposal is sensible and this committee unanimously supports its enactment. The timing of the move is critical. The approval process needs to be completed expeditiously to ensure that a smooth transition can take place. The ideal time to formalize the move would be following the 2006-07 academic year, but with provisions given early enough to handle the many administrative demands of the 2007 Summer term and beyond.