Faculty and staff of the College of Education and Human Sciences were surprised to learn earlier this month that the college is being restructured, and that departments within the college will be moved to other colleges on campus.
The W announced on March 8 that the college will be restructured effective July 1, partly as a cost-saving measure.
The university had concluded the search for a new dean of the college before deciding to do away with the position entirely as a way to save money. The W said in a statement that it hopes this decision will help offset recent budget cuts by saving the university approximately $165,000 a year. The statement issued by Dr. Thomas C. Richardson, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, detailed what changes will be made.
“The Department of Education and the Department of Psychology & Family Studies will become part of the College of Arts & Sciences. The Department of Health & Kinesiology will join the College of Nursing & Speech-Language Pathology. The responsibilities for the General Studies degree program will shift to the College of Business & Professional Studies the statement said
The future of the Child & Parent Development Center, which is overseen by the College of Education, is still undecided.
These changes are taking place at the administrative level, Richardson said, and basically eliminate the position of dean of that college. While the college will no longer exist after July 1, he said that Education majors should not be concerned about their studies.
“Students will not be impacted at all by these changes,” Richardson said during a recent Faculty Senate meeting.
He said that the university hopes to avoid cutting jobs within the departments that are being moved, and that some vacant positions will be filled, while others will not.
“The only change is that of the administrative organization,” Richardson said.
Students and faculty declined to comment on the changes.
The university has seen five budget cuts in the last two years because of declining revenue from the state. Eliminating the College of Education and Human Sciences dean will save the university $165,000, but that is not enough to offset the most recent state budget cut. The university has taken other steps to try to trim its budget, including a hiring freeze for positions not already in the search phase, and a reduction in the amount of spending by departments. But additional savings will have to be made on campus.
“This [the elimination of the dean] is a good cut to help us move in that direction,” Richardson said of the university’s need to trim its budget by several hundred thousand dollars. “We feel we are in a good position for this [change] to work well.”
Students will also see an increase in tuition this fall, which was already planned and approved by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, which oversees public colleges and universities within the state.