Following approval on June 19 by the Board of Trustees, the schools of Education and Nursing are now colleges, a move intended to clarify the role of academic units amid some other name changes on campus.
The action follows the designation last December of the Department of Computer Science as a school within the College of Natural Sciences, which also houses the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, which was organized as a department in May 2012.
According to background materials submitted to the trustees, “Such designations are in name only: the affected units remain academic departments in all operational, governance and financial respects. The rationale for this designation is purely a matter of identity.
Under procedures adopted by the Faculty Senate, “this identity may be relevant to recruitment of students or faculty, public relations, development, research, instruction, outreach, or any other goals or activities of the participating unit(s).”
The supporting documents note that in many fields, academic units that operate as departments are known as schools. This is common in such areas as music, communications and architecture, among others, and at some public research universities numerous “schools” exist alongside departments.
For purpose of clarity, the eight schools and colleges will now be known as colleges, which are headed by deans who report to the provost. Subordinate units will be called departments unless they are designated as schools.
The College of Nursing and College of Education have already implemented the change, while the School of Public Health and Health Sciences and the Isenberg School of Management are expected to adopt the new name as they work out “identity transition strategies,” according to the trustee document.