Provost announces academic mergers at Faculty Senate meeting

Four academic units could be reduced to two by next year, pending a recommendation from University Provost Kenneth Furton.

Furton, the executive vice president of academic affairs, said at the most recent Faculty Senate meeting that the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Education could merge, and so could Architecture + the Arts with the School of Journalism & Mass Communication.

Although University administrators have yet to make a decision, Furton did announce at the Oct. 27 meeting that he would form an integration feasibility committee made up of faculty based on recommendations from their peers.

Furton said over the next year he will make a recommendation to University President Mark Rosenberg.

Furton said the names, structure and constitutions of the colleges would change.

“This is not just adding an appendage; there would be a discussion of what a true integration would look like.”

Furton did not say during the meeting whether SJMC classes, taught at the Biscayne Bay Campus could move to the Modesto Maidique Campus.

However, Journalism Professor Neil Reisner, journalism professor said that’s not on the table.

“Classes will remain at BBC as far as I know,” said Reisner to Student Media.

Furton said among the goals of the committee would be to determine how the mergers would affect students’ performance and the metrics by which the State Legislature measures funding amounts to schools in the State University System.

Other goals include reducing the size of administration – without doing so for faculty, Furton said – and growing the BBC enrollment.

“If SJMC is a part of CARTA, BBC will grow,” Furton said to the senate. “And Education will also grow.”

Furton said while he was dean of Arts and Sciences there was the possibility of Education merging with his former college, but Education declined.

Reisner, chair of the faculty assembly, said the merger is a moving target because the committee has yet to start meeting.

“Certainly glad it’s not a done deal,” Reisner said. “I’m sure we’ll have very frank discussions. Our preference would be to be independent because of what it gives. But as the provost said everything is on the table.“

He said the meeting  was just one of many times he heard of SJMC merging with CARTA and the provost has ensured SJMC will grow and be stronger.

“He had brought it to the steering committee the week before and rumors have flown around for months,” Reisner said.

Reisner also asked about a possible merger between the Chapman School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the College of Business, which Furton said is no longer being considered for the moment.

David Park, associate professor in advertising and public relations, mentioned during the meeting that the heavier course loads SJMC professors have, their fewer resources to conduct research and their lower salaries.

Park’s issues remain to be discussed, Reisner said to Student Media.

A 2009 Chronicle of Higher Education article, “What Happens When Entire Departments Get the Ax,” described what  administrators at other universities did to departments to save money.

“As colleges and universities struggle through the nation’s economic downturn, most are trying to preserve both academic programs and tenured faculty jobs. When it comes to saving money, universities are laying off staff members, freezing future faculty hiring, imposing furloughs, and trimming operating expenses. Some are merging academic departments, but few are eliminating them outright.”

The University resumed offering broadcast journalism as a track for SJMC students in fall 2013 after cutting it in 2008 because of budget cuts.

Raul Reis, dean of SJMC, declined to comment to Student Media and Joann Brown, chair of the Communication Arts department within CARTA, was unavailable for comment as of press time.

Be the first to comment on "Provost announces academic mergers at Faculty Senate meeting"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.