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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Change on the horizon

    With the recent announcement of the UA’s realignment timetable, students may be apprehensive about change, but Chris Segrin, head of the communications department, says it is too soon to worry.

    “”Early on in the process is when there is the most uncertainty about how things are going to look like next year,”” Segrin said. “”I think most departments are at least wondering. It’s a very understandable reaction.

    “”I have had staff members asking about what this means for me. They are concerned that if departments are merged or eliminated or realigned, it may end their position at the University of Arizona.””

    That feeling seems to be reverberating through at least one other department.

    “”Everybody is on pins and needles right now during this transformative period,”” said Mark Smith, head of the chemistry department. “”Change is difficult. Change can be threatening. So everybody is concerned with the unknown. What you have to do is focus on what you do well.””

    Yet the restructuring of departments may not mean others will be discontinued.

    “”There’s a lot of departments on campus that teach classes that are very similar. The theory is why have two sets of instructional staff when you can combine them?”” Segrin said. “”If we were to partner up with another department, we might be able to provide this instruction more efficiently.””

    Smith, who said his department has already drafted a plan, intends to hold meetings with faculty and staff to go over the particulars of his college’s proposal before submitting it for review.

    “”The challenge is to put something together that is good for the direction of your department or the direction of your college that isn’t just entirely self-serving,”” Smith said. It has to be “”good for the entire university. Things are happening extremely quick.””

    Even though the restructuring may cause the loss of jobs as well as departments, both instructors said they agreed it’s necessary to change the UA.

    “”It’s clear the university cannot continue to support as many departments and as many colleges as it has, so some are gonna have to go,”” Segrin said. “”And by go, that doesn’t necessarily mean disappear, but be reconfigured or merged, things like that. There’s a lot of options that are on the table at this point in time.

    “”I’ve been department head for six years, and every one of those years I’ve had a major budget cut. We can’t keep doing that. … Things are going to break; the university will break. I think a more universal approach is necessary, and I think that’s what the president is trying to do.””

    As for students, Segrin, who teaches senior-level courses, said his students haven’t expressed concerns about the realignment.

    “”But I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some freshman and sophomore students, particularly in certain majors, that might be concerned.””

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