The Campus Chronicle
Vol. XVII, Issue 38
for the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts
July 12, 2002

 Page One Grain & Chaff Obituaries Letters to the Chronicle Archives Feedback Weekly Bulletin

 Page One Grain & Chaff Obituaries Letters to the Chronicle Archives Feedback Weekly Bulletin




CFNR floats proposal to change its name

by Sarah R. Buchholz, Chronicle staff


he College of Food and Natural Resources may have a new name come Sept. 1 if the response to a 30-day letter from the Faculty Senate to academic deans, curriculum committee chairs and others is positive. The letter went out as part of the response to a May 23 request of the Provost's Office by the college to change its name to the College of Natural Resources and the Environment.

     The request from CFNR comes as two of its departments, Sport Studies and Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration, prepare to move to the Isenberg School of Management Sept. 1.

     "We will have Sept. 1 a much less diverse college because Consumer Studies is no longer with us and the Department of Sport Studies and HRTA will move to the [Isenberg] School of Management," dean of CFNR Cleve Willis wrote in the memo to interim Provost Charlena Seymour. "That will leave us with eight departments, all of which make sense with the new name."

     Willis remembers the last name change at the college, 30 years ago.

     "It was the College of Agriculture when I interviewed in 1972, and when I arrived that September, it was the current name," he said.

     The name has long struck Willis and others as awkward, he said.

     "It was intended to mean 'food resources and natural resources,' but that's not how it hits the ear," he said. "People hear 'food' as a noun.

     "But back then, they really couldn't find a better name [that included] HRTA and Food Engineering.

     "While no name can be perfect for a college with many departments and programs, Natural Resources and the Environment serves extremely well in the sense of describing themes common to all of the departments in the College of Food and Natural Resources and its interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences Program. It also identifies well some of the collaborations that faculty in our departments and programs have with environmental and natural resources colleagues in other parts of the campus and University system."

     Willis said that all of the departments remaining in the college contain environmental elements as part of their missions, "even those that on the surface seem relatively distant from the environment." Microbiology is famous for environmental microbiology, such as using microbes to clean petroleum-contaminated waters, he said. And Veterinary and Animal Sciences faculty do research in environmental toxicology and teach in the interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences Pro-gram.

     "Food Science has a major field in Food and Environmental Bio-technology," he said.

     "It just makes sense for us to get a name that better conveys what we are and do. We started the process of thinking about this in February when it became clear that Sport Studies and HRTA were interested in transferring. We have ... sister colleges around the land grants, so we looked at all the names and pulled "encroaching" names from the running. We had three 'listening sessions' where we considered the names and expanded the list. When faculty voted, this name had the most first and second place votes and the fewest fourth and fifth place votes. The current name was in the last position, which reinforced that [it] was not serving us well."

     The second-place vote-getter was "College of Agriculture and Natural Resources." The other contenders were "College of Applied Sciences and the Environment" and "College of Natural Resources."

     If the senate receives negative reactions, the request goes to council, said Anne Benz of the senate office. Once any council work is done, the change can be recommended to Seymour by a majority vote of the Rules Committee.

     "I'm hoping for a decision in August," Willis said.

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