Workgroup Review Committee looks at positives and negatives to college restructuring

Brooke Schwartz, Administration Reporter

As the deadline for the Workgroup Review Committee approaches, members took Friday’s meeting to discuss the positives and negatives of restructuring current colleges and about the addition of a University College.

In its previous meeting, the committee discussed moving programs around enough so that the addition of a College of Health Sciences and Human Services would not create a new dean or assistant dean position and only three new faculty positions.

The new health college would possibly include programs such as health studies, kinesiology/sports studies, recreation administration, family and consumer sciences, communication disorders and sciences and nursing.

Not adding a new dean position would be made possible by moving the School of Continuing Education under the Graduate School, which would free up a dean position for the new college.

Institutional repository librarian Todd Bruns said the addition of a health college would be financially feasible for Eastern.

“I find that part of what was coming out of the workgroup with (the creation of a health college) was the idea of needing the resources and structure of college to develop those programs, so essentially it’s needing those resources to drive this,” Bruns said.  “And (health fields) are fast growing, big areas.”

This plan would also include moving the School of Technology, which is currently located in the Lumpkin School of Business and Applied Sciences, over to the College of Sciences.

Douglas Klarup, interim dean of the College of Sciences, said the committee needs to think about how much time to actually spend on the details of a restructuring plan, as a full plan cannot be formed without collaboration between all departments on campus.

The committee also spent some more time looking at the logistics of a University College, which would be a college created to house all undergraduate aid programs, such as the Writing Center, financial aid and university housing and dining services.

The idea of a stand-alone University College did not seem financially feasible to the committee, but the idea to still house all these programs in one area was suggested.

To solve this, the committee considered adding a University College to what is now the Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College.

One concern with this shift is that changing the name of the honors college might affect its accreditation process, the committee said.

With further research being needed on the name, many members liked the idea of combining these two programs.

Some members, such as Staff Senate secretary Peggy Brown, were worried about downgrading the people currently running those undergraduate programs by themselves.

“In many of these positions, you’re actually taking (undergraduate program directors) down a level, because right now many of them work directly (with) the provost, or the associate vice president, and then you’re going to put a dean in there,” Brown said.

The committee also discussed the possibility of adding micro-degrees to Eastern’s programs. A micro-degree66 would be a short educational program that focuses on a specific area in a student’s interest and awards them with a certificate after completing the program.

The idea was unanimously shot down by the committee, as many stated that it would not be profitable and that some programs already allow for this.

Biological sciences professor Billy Hung said a micro-degree option would not fit into the culture at Eastern.

“There are already existing venues for something like this in the school for continuing education. If we try to do it as a separate entity, we might not have the draw or the audience to make it sustainable,” Hung said. “The concept itself is not well aligned with our EIU mission.”

Brooke Schwartz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].