The consolidation of the Colleges of Sciences and Liberal Arts has been approved, according to a memorandum from the Office of the President.
“I believe there are strong academic, research and pedagogical reasons to proceed with the integration of these colleges,” President Elson S. Floyd said in the memorandum. “The integration must be done in a thoughtful, deliberate fashion against the backdrop of the fiscal crisis and the academic demands of our students.”
Floyd said Provost Warwick M. Bayly will appoint a faculty committee to develop a plan to integrate the colleges into the newly renamed College of Letters and Sciences. The plan will be submitted to the provost by June 30, 2012, with effective implementation Fall 2012.
The merger, which sparked controversy among students and staff, was approved with the entirety of the academic affairs proposals, resulting in a projected budget savings of $3.2 million.
The academic affairs savings proposal included discontinuance of state support for some journals and publications, the establishment of the School for Design, the elimination of several branch libraries and other money saving measures outlined in the budget proposal for fiscal year 2012.
Floyd said the ending for state support of journals and publication caused a “significant amount of comment,” much of it coming from outside of the university. He said the College of Liberal Arts and Department of English will provide financial support for the continued publication of the journals during the transition phase.
“I believe that most of those comments were based on the inaccurate assumption that we are seeking to cease publication of these journals,” he said. “Instead, we are looking for ways to make them self-supporting and not reliant on state funds in an era when state funds are increasingly imperiled.”
The 3 percent contingency fund that is currently being withheld will be released to the academic areas on Oct. 1. Floyd said issues outside of academic areas have largely been put in place and will not require further action.
“While the economic forecast projects further budget challenges for our university, I believe we will be able to deal with them in the same spirit of collegiality and common purpose that have marked our efforts in this stage of our mutual endeavor,” he said.