President Elson S. Floyd spoke at Thursday’s meeting of the Faculty Senate, addressing the controversial proposed merger of the College of Liberal Arts and College of Sciences.
Floyd said it is difficult to achieve the academic goals of the university without a strong College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and sees the merger as a growth to the institution. The combined colleges will have a faculty with about 275 tenured members.
He said the merger will preserve the pedagogy of the two groups, and that he fully supports the plan.
“I believe this is the best plan for where we’re heading now with the fiscal challenges that we are currently addressing and the current fiscal challenges that are right on the horizon,” he said.
Floyd then left the meeting, allowing the faculty to discuss the merger without his imput.
Faculty members went back and forth across the room, weighing the pros and the cons of the merger. The issue of dean was also brought up. Dean of the College of Science, Daryll Dewald, will likely take the position of dean in the merged colleges. The merger is expected to save $500,000.
She said it matters if the dean is a member of a different discipline.
“I sat down at a meeting just last week when someone said all we do in the social sciences is talk about our feelings,” she said. “To me, it’s scary when someone is being imposed on me who might have the same sentiments about our work.”
“I think that’s a very serious thing that the president has to consider,” he said.
“Being in the humanities there, it was about the most dehumanizing experience in my entire life,” he said.
English professor Michael Hanly said if the mathematicians in the room do not understand, then “call (him) clueless.”
“I didn’t want to hold the President’s feet to the fire here to ask him once again where the savings are going to come from,” he said. “But it has not been made clear, and if it’s been made clear to anyone else, I’d love to hear it.”