CFNR floats proposal to change its name
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
"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
"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.