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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Provost: Merger will save millions

    As the next step in the university-wide transformation process, which began last September, the College of Humanities, College of Science, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and University College will all merge into one massive unit: The Colleges of Letters and Science.

    Provost Meredith Hay said this immense reorganization will immediately save millions of dollars, which could be extremely important with the economy in its feeble state.

    “”The creation of the Colleges of Letters and Science is expected to immediately save approximately $1.5-2 million,”” Hay said via e-mail. “”We will begin the implementation of processes to streamline administrative services from which we believe will save additional dollars and improve student services.””

    UA President Robert Shelton said via e-mail that this move to reorganize the four colleges is better than no move at all.

    “”Every savings counts!”” Shelton said, “”And greater efficiencies in administration are realized year, after year, after year.””

    It was announced that Joaquin Ruiz, the dean of the College of Science will continue in that capacity and will also become the new executive dean of the Colleges of Letters and Sciences.

    Hay said the four-college merger is a direct response to proposals submitted by colleges in the white papers this fall, and will take advantage of many money-saving ventures that were discussed previously.

    ÿ””Transforming the underlying administrative structure via the creation of the Colleges of Letters and Science will facilitate for implementation of many of these proposals thus increasing not only scholarly collaboration and research but increase the opportunities for cross disciplinary educational opportunities for students,”” Hay said.

    As far as choosing the colleges who would participate in the merger, UA officials said they looked to their peer institutions for guidance.

    Shelton said the colleges of Humanities, Science, Social and Behavioral Sciences and University College are commonly combined into a single unit at many universities that Shelton considers to be similar to the UA.

    “”About 27 of the 34 US public universities with membership in the prestigious AAU (Association of American Universities) … have such a configuration.””

    Hay said this was the most proper college configuration based on what other universities have done.

    “”A unified college of arts and sciences is more the norm than not and is found in many of our peer institutions such as (University of California) Berkeley, University of Iowa, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Ohio State University and University of Washington,”” Hay said.

    Morgan Decker, a sociology junior, said students will struggle with being part of such a large college.

    “”I feel like it’s going to be even more difficult to get the classes I need than ever before,”” Decker said. “”As a junior, I’m still not able to get into one of the mandatory courses for my sociology major. It was full during priority registration! Now imagine trying to register for classes in the huge college. It’s going to be impossible.””

    Hay said that UA administrators are ironing out the details to ensure that the merge goes as smoothly as possible while continuing to progress in terms of educational quality.

    “”The Transformation Plan is working to consolidate and realign colleges and departments to build on the university’s strengths in strategic areas while also advancing our broader teaching, research, and service mission,”” Hay said. “”The creative collaborations that have shaped this process have generated innovative proposals for how to improve the efficiency of our operations and raise our standing in areas for which The University of Arizona has established national preeminence.””

    Shelton agrees that the collaboration of colleges will make the best out of what is viewed as a rough patch in the U.S. economy. Shelton also said the four-college merger would increase the UA’s academic standing, an overlying theme of the entire transformation process.

    “”Prestige comes from the quality of scholarship by faculty, students and staff,”” Shelton said. “”Any move to serve this purpose will increase our prestige.””

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