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New school in discussion

Proposal for school of education and health professional studies


University president Mark C. Reed, Ph.D., made a presentation to the Faculty Senate on Jan. 24 about creating a new school for education and health professional studies.

The proposed school does not have an official name yet, said Ronald Dufresne, Ph.D., president of Faculty Senate, who added that deliberation on the proposal has been ongoing since last semester.

“Certainly, throughout the academic year, faculty and faculty leaders have been engaged in this conversation with our administrative colleagues,” Dufresne said.

Currently, the idea is being reviewed by the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) College Council, according to Michael McCann, Ph.D., chair of the Council. The next step is for CAS College Council to review a mandate.

A mandate, which can be submitted by any faculty member about any academic concern, has not yet been submitted for the new school, McCann said. During the mandate review process, the university will need to consider exactly how to go about creating a new school.

McCann explained that a new school could be established at St. Joe’s in one of two ways: either it is created entirely from scratch, along with a program completely new to the university, or it is formed from already existing programs.

If St. Joe’s goes through with the formation of a new school, it will follow the latter route, since both Educational Leadership and Interdisciplinary Health Services are already part of CAS. In order to reach that point, though, the plan must make its way through each level of university government.

First, the mandate would be reviewed by the CAS college council. Once it has been revised and approved, it is then sent to Faculty Senate, where all university faculty would be able to deliberate and discuss. From there it would go on to University Council for another level of review and approval.

The creation of a third school at St. Joe’s would launch the university into unchartered territory, at least in terms of governance. Dufresne said there is currently no written or formal process for creating a new school in the university.

McCann added that the Faculty Senate Constitution would also have to be revised to accurately represent the new school and its staff.

But Dufresne said that a new school would also present new opportunities for cooperation.

“I’m excited by the prospects of interdisciplinary programs,” Dufresne said. “I think that we have so much great intellectual capital on campus that it’s possible that the new school would allow us to collaborate in ways that we maybe haven’t yet been collaborating.”

The proposed school would also address the needs of students entering professional programs along with those in liberal arts and sciences, allowing for more university growth, said Shaily Menon, Ph.D., dean of CAS.

“The entire institution would benefit from this change through a better education for our students, a more focused, engaged faculty, and a comprehensive university that more effectively acts as a force for good in the world, and values both professional schools and the arts and sciences,” Menon said in an email.

If approved in the Faculty Senate, McCann said, the plan for the proposed new school will move on to the University Council, where it will be examined by elected faculty, staff, administrators and students, after which, it will advance to Reed’s office.

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Alex Mark

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