The Arizona Desert Lamp

White Paper: Environmental Engineering & Science Department

Posted in UA Transformation Plan by Evan Lisull on 19 October 2008

This is a subset of the broader proposal to combine the colleges of science and engineering (more on that later). Under this proposal, an “intercollegiate research structure” would be established between researchers from the Chemical & Environmental Engineering Departments, and researchers from the Soil, Water, and Environmental Science department (I’m not a scientist (see disclaimer below), but this is getting awfully close to “People’s Front of Judea” territory).

The purpose of this research structure would be to focus “primarily on water, soil, and air quality (i.e., characterization and abatement of pollution).” The proposal comes from several other universities where environmental science and engineering have been combined, including CalTech, Florida, UNC, and Rutgers. The paper also uses the “water preservation” angle to make the proposal more applicable to the Southwest.

Essentially, this comes down to a consolidating proposal, with the usual benefits — fragmented units are combined for better facilities, decreased redundancy in management, more cohesion, etc. Yet even this proposal isn’t that centralizing — mostly, it seems to be just a vehicle by which greater collaboration can be encouraged. Thus, the budgetary impact would be minimal, and probably off-set by the costly “state-of-the-art” equipment that the department touts as an advantage.

Disclaimer: I’m way out of my league when it comes to the nuances of science policy — definitely not my comparative advantage. If any readers have experience in the various scientific departments, I urge you to comment with any insights that you might have.

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