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COLA Staff and Faculty Discuss Reorganization Amidst Retrenchment

College of liberal arts

College of Liberal Arts | Photo by Diana Jaber | The Wright State Guardian


Wright State University (WSU) College of Liberal Arts (COLA) staff and faculty convene to discuss the reorganization of the college. 

The committee

Under the instruction of outgoing COLA Dean Linda Caron, the 19 member board assembled for the fall semester of 2021 to discuss ways to reorganize the college. All proposed changes use the college’s existing staff, faculty and resources. 

According to Daniel Zehringer, chair of the School of Music and representative on the committee, retrenchment, voluntary separation and retirements in spring 2021, coupled with declining enrollment numbers, caused the need for a reorganization committee. 

Potential plans 

While the committee is not the final decision maker in the reorganization, they discuss plans to better restructure the college.

Some of the plans discussed include creating new certificate programs, creating new majors and minors, and increasing interdisciplinary among the existing programs, according to Zehringer.

Zehringer also expressed that some programs can be combined, such as the School of Music, the Department of Art and Art History and the Department of Theater, Dance and Motion Pictures. 

Laura Luehrmann, a political science professor and member of committee leadership, added that the School of International and Public Affairs (SPIA) and the Department of Modern Languages also have combination potential. 

These proposed initiatives and COLA reorganization as a whole were originally proposed in a June 2, 2020, campus-wide communication email. 

These plans are still only tentative and must be approved by various governing boards before taking effect. 

Concerns 

The recommendations by the committee and the final decisions as a result will impact students in the college as well as the faculty and staff. 

Luehrmann noted that the main feedback from the faculty she represents is concerns regarding changes in the departments, duties and teams as well as change overall. 

Faculty members have yet to be openly vocal about these concerns.

Opinions

Those on the committee feel confident and positive about the group’s work and how it will impact COLA and the university as a whole. 

“I view this as a positive opportunity to reimagine the College of Liberal Arts, to create some interdisciplinary synergies that already exist,” Maralee Leonard, manager of fiscal services and representative on the committee, said. 

Zehringer and Luehrmann also expressed hope and positivity over the productiveness and collaboration among members. 

The reorganization committee will present these findings as well as their other recommendations to Dean Caron on Nov. 1. They will then be given to the COLA senate and then Faculty Senate to make comments and additional recommendations. 

The findings will eventually be presented to the campus community as a whole before heading to the Board of Trustees.


Jamie Naylor

News Reporter