June 25, 2013
As of today, I am creating the structure necessary to propose a College of Media, Communication, and Information to the Board of Regents in the Spring of 2014. I am naming Professor Christopher Braider, Professor of French and Comparative Literature and the current Director of Journalism and Mass Communication, as Director of Communication, Media, and Information. Professor Braider will work closely with Academic Affairs, and he will be assisted in this new role by a Faculty Implementation Committee:
- Merrill Lessley, Professor Emeritus, Theater and Dance; Chair of the Committee
- Mark Amerika, Professor, Art and Art History
- Daniel Boord, Professor, Film Studies; Director, Brakhage Center
- Andrew Calabrese, Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication
- Katherine Eggert, Associate Professor, English
- Harsha Gangadharbatla, Associate Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication
- Leysia Palen, Associate Professor, Computer Science
- Peter Simonson, Associate Professor, Communication
- Karen Tracey, Professor and Chair, Communication
This committee will have liaisons working with it from the Registrar’s Office, Admissions, Institutional Analysis, the BFA, and student government. It will be staffed by the Office of Faculty Affairs.
What follows is my charge to Professor Braider and the Implementation Committee.
For the past three years, two major faculty task forces, about fourteen faculty discussion groups, a series of open forums, a dozen curriculum innovation teams, an Arts and Sciences group working on a proposal for a School of the Arts, and a distinguished seven-member external review committee have sought to re-envision our efforts in areas touched by advances in communication, media, and information. Acting upon the work of these various groups, in consultation with the deans, and with the support of Chancellor DiStefano, I have decided to take the steps necessary to create a College of Media, Communication, and Information. While this College will be independent, it is my expectation that it will not be insular, but rather porous and open to as many avenues of collaboration to the other schools and colleges as possible. You are charged with engaging the campus community in writing up the necessary proposals to submit to the Board of Regents for their consideration in the Spring of 2014. The Director will have overall oversight of the process and will have the authority to resolve disputes, in a sense, acting as the dean of the college-in-development; he will sit as a non-voting member of the Council of Deans and will report to the Provost. The Implementation Committee will advise the Director and work with him to design the overall structure of the College. Additional faculty committees will be formed to design specific features of the College.
To being with, you are charged with describing the organization of the college. This includes writing a mission statement for the college. Issues to be taken up include: the formation of a dean’s office; the nature of units within the college; and the relationship of the college to other schools and colleges. While many issues still need to be resolved, our multi-year conversations have made the boundary conditions of the new college clear.
This new college will be committed to experimentation and innovative approaches to gathering, organizing, presenting, and engaging with information and ideas across the widest possible range of the means of human communication. We will bring together scholars, artists, and researchers who understand everything from the technology that lies behind the means of communication to the artistic use of those means.
The College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCI) will educate students to enter careers in which communication and expression, and the methods and technologies that enable those activities, are the animating core. The College will offer a home for a range of disciplines and practices that both have deep historical roots and have been transformed by recent social, cultural, and technological shifts. CMCI will bring together, for example, scholars of media that are now currently in separate units as well as media artists who now work apart. As a College, CMCI will be able to highlight the important work being done in these areas as well as reinvent the educational opportunities for its students. Students will receive an enhanced education in these fields, the campus will be able to invest better in research and creative work in these areas, and the faculty’s work in such areas as media, communication, information studies, journalism, and advertising and design will be more easily recognizable by external constituencies.
The College will initially become home to the faculties of the former School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Department of Communication, as well as faculty from other academic units on the CU-Boulder campus who may wish to join this College. In addition, many individual faculty members from a wide range of academic units across the Boulder campus will be invited to hold joint appointments and/or contribute to CMCI’s curriculum in other ways. The goal is to keep the relationship between the new college and existing schools and colleges as collaborative as possible. The College will offer cross-disciplinary educational opportunities not only to its own students, but also to students from every other school and college on the CU Boulder campus. The College will build and maintain open, collaborative relationships with other units and disciplines, such as Business, Computer Science, Education, and Law, as well as partnerships with affiliated units such as the CU Museums, the Libraries, and the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program. Clearly, faculty from all the other schools and colleges may well have an interest in the educational and scholarly work of this new college. For example, law and business faculty have an interest in policies and practices involving the media. Library faculty may find opportunities to teach regular courses within the Information Studies unit. Again, arts faculty will certainly contribute to the Intermedia Arts graduate degrees. Faculty in other schools or colleges may engage in the work of the new college in a wide variety of ways, from collaborating on scholarly and creative work in ways that require no formal structures to engaging in teaching that might require course buyouts from another unit to formal joint rostering. In the future, of course, other units may wish to participate with or join the new college; in particular, at various points in the conversations about these areas, there have been suggestions that the arts could benefit from being united in, and contribute to the vitality of this college.
While sustaining a continued commitment to supporting the traditions of the existing research, creative work and curricula of the academic units that will be brought together in the new College, the College will invest in new curricula that focus on such issues as the uses of digital information and communication technologies to enhance artistic expression, journalistic practice, social and political communication, design expertise, and research about these practices. New areas of emphasis in CMCI that may become topics for undergraduate and graduate degrees, minors, or certificates, will include the design, management, and study of social media; documentary; experimental digital arts and technology; gaming and animation; media entrepreneurship; digital archiving and curation; multimedia digital publishing; narrative for emergent media; networked organizations; and sound/audio and visual design for digital arts and media. The College will emphasize a core education in the liberal arts and sciences, and it will promote student creativity; media fluency; design thinking; collaborative, project-centered learning; and practical, marketable skills.
While much work remains to be done on the exact nature of units within the college, I imagine that we will retain a department structure. While I welcome any and all ideas, I am charging you to work on creating proposals for units in the following areas, some of which already exist and some of which need to be created:
Communication: This unit would pursue the current educational and scholarly work of the Department of Communication.
Design, Strategic Thinking, and Advertising: Various groups have proposed that the campus draw upon various strengths in design that exist in advertising, environmental design, business, and elsewhere to improve teaching and research. The ICJMT Steering Committee proposed a unit devoted to Design Studies that “will focus on the study, creation, and production of visual, sound, and narrative design across artistic, journalistic, social, and commercial media, including new and emergent (e.g., digital) media.” The external reviewers called for work in information design, media design, and design studies. A strong design unit within this college should be part of a campus-wide intercollegiate faculty in Design. In organizing this unit, faculty could draw upon a number of proposals that have been in made in the past few years including the proposal on design, deliberation and democracy (Design, Deliberation, and Democracy: ICJMT Curriculum and Program Development) and experience design Experience Design: Study into the Formulation of Interactive and Live Spatially Based Experiences.
Media Studies: As described by a faculty group working this past fall, this unit would be “dedicated to examining ways of thinking about and conducting research into the intersection of media, communication and cultural practices in historical and contemporary perspective. Encompassing humanistic, social scientific, and artistic approaches to the study of media and culture and interdisciplinary in its theoretical and methodological approaches, the department would span traditional boundaries between theory and practice. It would foster media ‘literacy’ in the broadest sense by providing students with the critical skills to analyze contemporary media and culture, along with technical, aesthetic and intellectual principles that facilitate strong media practices.” This unit will involve the appropriate faculty from communication, film studies, and mass communication as well as other units on campus. In organizing this unit, faculty could draw upon a number of proposals that have been in made in the past few years including the one on Social Media Studies at CU-Boulder.
The Moving Image and Media Production: This unit would bring together a range of artistic practices involving moving images. It will continue to nourish CUB’s striking presence in experimental film and to explore such promising areas as documentary film making. In organizing this unit, faculty could draw upon a number of proposals that have been made in the past few years including the Final Report of the ICJMT Group on Creativity and the description of Interdisciplinary Documentary Media Practices.
Information Studies: The ICJMT Steering Committee proposed “a Department of Information Studies. Information Studies will complement and extend opportunities that arise from new interactions among existing units by providing a department-level locus for topics that have grown from prior interdisciplinary scholarly commitments, and that have recently emerged as focal areas with significant national scientific and industrial import. As digital media data become easier to generate and store, training and research on the meanings that may be derived from the availability of large-scale content and traceable social interactions complement the purely technical questions that already populate this line of inquiry. The Department of Information Studies will be a home for instruction and research in social and cultural matters of ICT use, including human-centered computing; social computing applications and analytics, including data visualization; digital data archiving, preservation, and curation; and information policy.” The Steering Committee outlined such areas as Human-Centered Computing, Social Computing: Analytics and Applications, Digital Archiving, Preservation, and Curation, and Information Policy. In organizing this unit, faculty could draw upon a number of proposals that have been in made in the past few years including the Performing the Archive Initiative, the proposal for a cross-disciplinary management curriculum (IJCMT Course Development Proposal Final Report: Development of a Cross-Disciplinary Collections Management Course And Planning for the Future). A proposal for such a department of information studies was submitted by faculty members last year and can be found at Report on a Faculty Discussion about a Department of Information Studies in the Proposed College of Media, Design and the Arts.
Intermedia Arts: As has been suggested in various reports and is outlined in the proposal for dPATH: A Proposed Graduate Program in Digital Performance, Art, Technology, and Humanities, the new college will house an inter-collegiate faculty that will offer graduate degrees in new and emerging arts. This would be a degree-granting program, not a tenure-bearing unit; in this way, it would be comparable to, say, Comparative Literature. The Screendance Proposal (Screendance Proposal) might also be of interest here.
Journalism: This unit would pursue the current educational and scholarly work of thejournalism faculty.
NOTE: a number of faculty groups have put forward proposals for thinking about media in relation to scientific issues, particularly in relation to the environment. These proposals suggest the possibilities of strong connections between CMCI and a proposed unit devoted to the sustainable environment. (see Climate Corps: Advancing Climate Change Communication, Inside the Greenhouse: Utilizing Media to Communicate Positive Solutions for Climate Change, and Utilizing ICT and New Media for Taking a Syncretic Approach to Complex Social and Scientific Problems.
You are charged with working the faculty and the rest of the university community to draft the necessary proposals to make this college a reality. You will oversee campus-wide discussions in the areas listed below with each area needing to complete its work by the end of the fall semester. You will invite any and all faculty to participate in these discussions. Members of the faculty who profess an interest in this work will, in essence, form the founding faculty of the new college, but that does not necessarily mean that they intend to move their tenure home to the new college, only that they have significant educational or scholarly interests in the work of the college.
Committees will be formed in at least these areas:
Core Curriculum: A college is defined by its core curriculum, since that core suggests what students need to learn to be part of the college. The ICJMT Steering Committee recommended that the new college design a core curriculum firmly grounded in a liberal arts tradition and, thus, much of the college’s core would be met by classes offered in the College of Arts and Sciences. Clearly, students in this new college will need the kind of knowledge provided by A&S departments. While there has been a concern expressed in conversations that this college will be too “presentist” (a charge that could be leveled against many non-humanities or arts disciplines), faculty throughout this process have made clear the need for students to be engaged deeply and broadly; they must know, for example, the history of media and mediation from the clay tablet to the computer tablet.
Still, there are opportunities here for rethinking the core knowledge needed for students in this college and beyond. The creation of this college provides an exciting opportunity for creative work on pedagogy and curricular content. The ICJMT Steering Committee, for example, recommends that the curriculum of a new college stress creativity, media fluency, design thinking, collaborative, project-centered work, and a strong connection between theory and practice; they note that an emphasis on these educational goals can provide students with practical knowledge without sacrificing a commitment to rigorous scholarly work. Other faculty groups have suggested that, for example, electrical engineers and computer scientists could design new core courses for this student population that would provide them with the technical background they need; humanists and artists have suggested how students in this college could benefit from new courses in those fields, with, for example, a history of the book course providing a valuable educational experience for students who might enroll in this college (see The CHA Summer Conversation Group Memorandum). The current Technology, Arts, and Media (TAM) program can provide many courses for a core curriculum in this college. Of TAM, the external review committee wrote, “The committee found the TAM curriculum to be a real strength, a view shared by the people with whom we spoke. . . . The strength of TAM lies in its student numbers, the level of interest it generates due to its focus on technology, art, and media, and the existence of a transferable core curriculum that more easily accommodates a double major. The development of such a core curriculum in the new college should be a priority as the double major is one way to encourage an outward-rather than inward-facing culture among the colleges.”
You will convene a faculty group to design a core curriculum; it will be chaired by one or more members of the Implementation Committee. This group will work with the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education to shape the core. Efforts should be made to reach out to other schools and colleges to encourage them to develop courses designed to meet the educational needs of students in the new college. The AVC will ensure that other schools and colleges are not harmed by the creation of this new core curriculum.
Degrees and Certificates: You will also need to convene a faculty group to discuss degrees and certificates to be offered by CMCI; one or more members of your committee will chair this group. Current degrees in Communication and Journalism and Mass Communication will need to be preserved for current students but may be modified for the future. In addition, this group should consider new degrees and/or certificates in such areas as media studies, information studies, design thinking, intermedia arts, gaming and animation, media entrepreneurship, multimedia digital publishing, narrative for emergent media, networked organizations, social media, sound/audio design for digital arts and media, and visual design for digital arts and media. This list is drawn from suggestions from various faculty groups, and, of course, new ideas will arise. Careful consideration should be given to such questions as: student demand; current faculty strengths and future needs; the appropriate structure for the educational experience (undergraduate degree, graduate degree, minor, certificate; the sequencing of making new degrees available; and possible overlap with offerings in other schools and colleges. This group will work with the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education and with the Dean of the Graduate School. The AVC and the Dean will ensure that other schools and colleges are not harmed by the creation of new degrees and/or certificates.
Student Success and Student Life: You will convene a group, to be chaired by one or more of your members, to tackle issues around student success. This group will focus on such issues as advising and assessment but will also consider ways to enhance the student experience. The group should consult with the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs among others. The group should review the recommendations of the Campus Advising Exploratory Group (Report from the Campus Advisory Exploratory Group (CAEG).
Budget and Space: Budget projections, based upon current enrollments in units to be moved within the new college, suggest that this college, which would be the fourth largest college on campus on day one, will be financially robust. You will create a Faculty Budget and Space Committee, chaired by one or more members of the Implementation Committee, to work with the Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget and Planning on budget projections and budget modeling. Careful attention will need to be paid to identifying the Foundation assets that should belong to the new college. They will also work with him on securing the necessary space for the new college. The core units obviously bring space with them. This space may be maintained within the college or it might be swapped with other units to the benefit of both. New space may need to be allocated to the college. In particular, a central location for the Office of the Dean will need to be found. Fundraising opportunities for the construction of new space should be pursued.
Faculty Governance: You will convene a faculty committee, chaired by one or more members of the Implementation Committee, to take up matters of faculty governance at the college and department level. In essence, this group will write bylaws for the various layers of the college. This group will work with the Director of Faculty Relations and the BFA.
Diversity: You will convene a faculty committee, chaired by one or more members of the Implementation Committee, to draft a diversity plan for the new college. This group will work with the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement.
As I indicated above, these groups should finish their work by the end of the fall semester.
Transition Funding: I am supplying funds to you to manage the transition process. I am also providing you with staffing through the Office of Academic Affairs. The bulk of the funding should be used to jump start initiatives that can demonstrate the educational and scholarly promise of the new college.
- Provost names Director and Implementation Committee (IC)
- Director and IC begin work on mission statement and structure of the College
- Director and IC convene committees to complete work by December 31, 2013 on:
- Governance (with Director of Faculty Relations)
- Core curriculum (with AVC for Undergraduate Education)
- Degrees and Certificates (with AVC for Undergraduate Education)
- Student Success and Student Life (with AVC for Undergraduate Education and VC for Student Affairs)
- Budget and Planning, including size of college (with Vice Provost)
- Diversity (with VC for ODECE)
- The Director issues a call for research and educational proposals from faculty working groups, with proposals due September 1, 2013 and final reports due July 1, 2014. These proposals will help guide resource investments.
- Drawing on the work of the committees, the Director and the IC begin work on presentations for Regent approval.
- The Provost decides when to begin the search for a permanent dean and new faculty members, awaiting approval by the Board of Regents.
- The Director and IC, drawing on the work of the committees, identify needs for space, facilities, library resources, data resources, etc.
- The Director works with CU Foundation on fundraising.
- The campus forwards proposals for the College of Media, Communication, and information to the Board of Regents.
- If the College is approved, faculty in Communication and Journalism and Mass Communication will be moved to the new college, as will all degrees, space, assets, etc. attached to those programs. The College of Media, Communication and Information is opened.
- The College works with Admissions on marketing strategy to recruit students into the new degree programs.
- The College establishes an external advisory board.
- The College begins student recruitment for new departments and degrees after approval by the Board of Regents.
- The College begins its first full year of operation.
May 1, 2013: Provost Recommends Two New Schools/Colleges
I pledged to let the campus know, before the end of the semester, my thoughts on how we should move forward based on the discussions led by the Environment and Sustainability Visioning Committee and the various faculty groups that have been involved in conversations about such areas as information, journalism, media, and communication. I am writing now to share my ideas on how we can move forward in exciting ways.
The past few years have been difficult ones for universities, particularly public universities such as ours. While individually our faculty have continued to do extraordinary work, it has been tough as an institution to move in innovative directions. Now, however, I believe we can make some bold changes as a campus that will advance us towards our Flagship 2030 goals as well as the vision I have set for Academic Affairs.
I am pleased to announce that, with the support of the Chancellor, in consultation with the deans, and after three years of faculty effort, we will take the first steps needed to propose to the Board of Regents two new schools or colleges at the University of Colorado Boulder. It has been fifty years since CU created a new school or college, more than ninety if we exclude architecture, so this is an exciting time with opportunities for reinventing the education we offer our students and for providing opportunities for fresh research, scholarship, and creative work.
I will be proposing that we create both a school or college devoted to the study of the sustainable environment and a school or college focused on media, communication, and information. We have engaged in lengthy formal conversations about these possible new entities, and our informal conversations have gone on even longer. Now is the time to act to make it clear that the University of Colorado Boulder will lead the way forward in two of the most important areas of higher education and research, areas that will enable us to contribute to solving major problems facing our state, the nation, and the world.
While some have seen our internal conversations as focused on past problems, I want to make it clear that I am proposing these new schools/colleges to create future opportunities for our students and faculty. The advances in scientific research on the environment and sustainability, the challenge of climate change, the need for research-based environmental policy decisions, and the dream of creating a sustainable and indeed beautiful built environmentall call out for us to marshal our considerable strengths in these areas. Likewise, the changes in the means and modes of communication and information exchange have transformed almost everything we do, from the ways in which we communicate with one another; to the techniques we use to gather data; to the tools we use in creating media, messages, and art. This communication and media revolution also demands a response from us as a leading research university. By creating these schools/colleges, we would put ourselves at the forefront of research and education.
Let me first say a bit more about a school/college dedicated to education and research about creating a sustainable environment. Bringing together environmental science, environmental policy, and work on the built environment and drawing on the assets found in institutes such as CIRES, INSTAAR, and RASEI, this proposed school/college could focus our truly first-rate work on the environment and sustainability. We are second to none in these areas, and this new college would enable us to strengthen that work, to extend its interdisciplinary reach, and to highlight our achievements. This school/college would be distinct from efforts at other universities in its broad interdisciplinary mission, bringing together the best of environmental science, our expertise in policy that stretches from the social sciences to law and business, and the planning and creative work done by architects, urban planners, and designers.
Our Environment and Sustainability Visioning Committee, chaired by Professor Sharon Collinge, has recommended this move, stating that “A new college would enhance our stature by increasing the visibility of our academic strengths, create new opportunities for interdisciplinary education, improve student recruitment, retention, and career opportunities, and provide a compelling case for new donor support.” The environmental and sustainability external review team that visited campus in February agreed with this assessment, arguing that “The University is poised to elevate its regional, national and international stature in these areas by mobilizing knowledge and skills from across campus to create a highly visibly flagship program in Environment and Sustainability. Such action would benefit not only the programs in Environmental Studies (ENVS) and Environmental Design (ENVD), but all parts of campus including academic, research and operational programs.”
While we would continue our current efforts, for example, by maintaining our degree programs in environmental design and environmental studies, this new school/college would enable us to make a mark in new fields. It would enable us, for example, to explore how to mitigate the impacts of human population growth and consumption patterns. We could bring together interdisciplinary scholars to explore how to design the built environment to be equitable, economically viable, and environmentally sensitive. Our students would work with the best researchers in the world to help understand how we might mitigate and adapt to climate change. This new college would allow us to contribute to the solution of local problems, as we understand our place in the arid West, and to the resolution of global issues such as climate change. I cannot tell you how excited I am about the potential there is in bringing together our extraordinary faculty in these areas, to harness our collective brain power to advance knowledge, to solve problems, and to create a better environment in which to live. This new college would allow us to reinvent key areas of education, open up new opportunities for interdisciplinary research and scholarly work, and contribute to the solution of pressing social, scientific, and cultural problems.
The same is true of the second college I propose we establish. A new school/college devoted to media, communication, and information would unite faculty members working across campus in these fields while opening up new areas of education and scholarly work. This school/college would prepare students to enter careers in which expression and interactionand the methods and technologies that enable those activitiesare the animating core. As in the case with the environment and sustainability, we have considerable strengths in these areas, from the powerful work our internationally renowned faculty do in communication to our nationally recognized program in environmental journalism, from our innovations in human-centered computing to our tradition of experimental filmmaking.
For the past three years, two major faculty task forces, about fourteen faculty discussion groups, a series of open forums, a dozen curriculum innovation teams, an Arts and Sciences group working on a proposal for a School of the Arts, and a distinguished seven-member external review committee have sought to re-envision our efforts in areas touched by advances in communication, media, and information. This new school/college would be committed to experimentation and innovative approaches to gathering, organizing, presenting, and engaging with information and ideas across the widest possible range of the means of human communication. We would bring together scholars, artists, and researchers who understand everything from the technology that lies behind the means of communication to the artistic use of those means.
As the Information, Communication, Media, and Technology Task Force, chaired by theater professor Merrill Lessley, put it, “CU Boulder will be globally known for modulating the future in information, communication, media and technology. That is, CU Boulder will be a motivating force and respected voice in the ongoing digital revolution engendered by the intersections of information, communication, media and the arts with technology.” To achieve that goal, the committee (and subsequent groups) have urged us to create a new college and dedicate an institute to these areas of research and creative work. As the external reviewers put it, “the University of Colorado Boulder will be able to exert a renewed leadership in these fields, based on the many interdisciplinary connections that will be supported and promoted by such a structure.”
On the advice of our external reviewers, and based on the larger proposal offered by the Information, Communication, Journalism, Media, and Technology Task Force, chaired by Professor Andrew Calabrese, I will recommend that this new college support education and scholarly and creative work in communication, media studies, film and media production, information studies, journalism, advertising and design, and intermedia and emerging arts. Among other innovations, the proposed school/college would offer degrees in a new department of information studies, and it would be a key partner in developing what we envision to be an exciting, campus-wide design curriculum.
This new school/college would provide an education for our students and opportunities for our faculty not found in similar units at other universities. This new school/college would help reinvent education for students within the school/college and beyond by linking a traditional arts and sciences education with a focus on creativity, media fluency, design thinking, and project-based, collaborative work. It would bring together creators of film and media, scholars of media and communication, and innovators in information and design.
Various committees have pointed to exciting new work we could do in such a new school/college, including human-centered computing, digital archiving, preservation, and curation, design studies, experimental and emerging arts, narrative for emergent media, and documentary filmmaking. Documentary filmmaking, for example, could take advantage of the fact that the Boulder-Denver area is home to a thriving community of documentary film makers and production companies. Faculty members from film studies to journalism and anthropology to various areas in the sciences are interested in the power of documentary to convey knowledge across a range of platforms. Bringing our faculty members together and linking with community partners, we could become the university where one learns to harness the aesthetic, narrative, and instructional power of documentaries.
We also have real opportunities to stake out areas of excellence in information studies, drawing on our work in human-centered computing, for example, to understand and to use social media more effectively. Faculty members from the humanities, the libraries, and beyond have put forward bold new ideas about how we archive, preserve, and curate the vast amounts of data now available to us. I was deeply impressed and truly inspired by the curricular and program ideas faculty groups proposed in these areas this past fall, and their work suggests the innovative directions in which we could take our teaching and our scholarly and creative work.
I am setting forth an ambitious goal today, and it will take collective work to reach that goal; it is time we turn from discussing where we are headed to taking the necessary steps to get there. For each school/college, I will in the next few weeks form an implementation committee made up of faculty members from the core units identified with these new structures, along with interested colleagues from other units. Faculty members on the implementation committees will begin immediately to design the governance structure of their respective school/college; to flesh out courses, curricula, and degree plans; to chart the budgetary model for the unit; and to spur scholarly work. I am also directing the Dean of the Graduate School to form a task force to explore how best to integrate the work of the institutes with these new schools/colleges. As you will have noted in the various internal and external reports, CIRES, INSTAAR, and RASEI would be important to our work on sustainability and the environment. Similarly, ATLAS could be central to work in communication, media, information, and design.
I want to make it clear that, in my mind, these schools/colleges would be made of multiple departments pursuing their own disciplinary strengths but also brought together to find new interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary paths. These schools/colleges would provide us with opportunities to rethink how we teach, how we organize ourselves as a scholarly community, and how we do our work. I urge the faculty to adopt the recommendations made by several committees to keep these schools/colleges porous, open to faculty and students across the campus and to the communities we serve. As these proposed schools/colleges are shaped by the work of the faculty, they will come to define themselves by the core curriculum that their students would share, by the disciplinary and interdisciplinary work that could prosper in this new environment, and by the flexible, empowering structures they create to build community.
I am aware that not everyone who does work in these areas would find a home in these new schools/colleges. Work on the environment, for example, would continue elsewhere as would examinations of media; but these two new schools/colleges would provide key initiatives for the campus that would enable us to bring our resources to bear in an efficient and effective way. I also recognize that there are many important matters, such as personnel decisions, that would have to be handled in a sensitive way during this building process. I will be issuing guidelines to ensure the protection of affected faculty, students, and staff during this time of change. Rest assured that our first priority is to protect you and your work. Thus, for example, all students currently enrolled in degree programs would be able to complete those degree programs exactly as they planned. Again, during the transition, all faculty members under personnel reviews would have those reviews conducted in their current units even though they might find new academic homes in the future.
These new schools/colleges would allow us better to serve current students and to attract new students. These schools/colleges would offer degree programs much in demand by students nationwide, both because these are intellectually stimulating fields of inquiry and because there are jobs in those sectors of the economy dealing with the environment, sustainability, renewable energy, media, information design, and communication. We should create these schools/colleges because they would provide us with ways to advance knowledge and improve education. They could also play an important role in securing the economic well-being of the campus by drawing new students to the campus, providing new support for research and creative work, and attracting new donors excited about the visions and opportunities these schools/colleges would represent.
While the road to this decision has been too long for some, it has been essential that our faculty be extensively involved in the deliberation process. Both processes centered around faculty committees that consulted widely and reported to the entire campus. Both involved inviting scholarly and academic leaders from around the country to consult with constituencies on the best way forward. While any process has flaws, I am pleased that our conversations have been so open and transparent. I want to thank the literally hundreds of faculty members who have been involved on committees, in discussion groups, and in open conversations, live and online. In particular, I want to thank Merrill Lessley, who chaired the ICMT Exploratory Committee; Andrew Calabrese, who chaired the ICJMT Steering Committee; Helmut Muller-Sievers and Bob Craig, who organized conversations in the social sciences and the humanities and arts around these issues last summer; Michele Jackson, who conducted an online discussion group; and Sharon Collinge, who chaired the ESVC Committee. These faculty leaders have made possible the exciting mission we embark on today.
As we move into a new century, we need to continue to develop new opportunities for our students and our faculty. I look forward to working with students, the faculty, the staff, our supporters in the community, and the Board of Regents in realizing these transformative initiatives. With the Regents’ approval, I look forward to opening the doors of these two new schools/colleges in 2015. Thank you very much for your past efforts and for the work we will do together in the coming months to turn our vision into reality.