The Arizona Desert Lamp

Big Transformation Forward

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

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the new Colleges of Letters and Sciences:

A new academic unit called the Colleges of Letters and Science will be created through a partnership of the colleges of Science, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and University College. This unit has been developed as part of The University of Arizona’s Transformation Plan to build on interdisciplinary strengths and reduce administrative and business expenses.

This has been a long time coming. As we’ve pointed out in other posts, the most successful institutions have a handful of very large, wide-ranging colleges, which are essentially schools within the school. Because of their size, these intra-university institutions can provide services that currently need separate entities to operate — services such as advising for undecided students:

Advising for students who are undecided on majors, currently provided solely by University College, will be integrated into the new Colleges of Letters and Science to strengthen academic support for students.

The Lamp has never been a big fan of the UC, so I can’t say I’m sad to see it go. The best move for next year (presumably, when this plan would be fully enacted; I can’t imagine that it’s effective immediately) would be to convert the current UC offices into the administrative offices of CLS, saving them the problem of finding space for the new, centralized administrators.

It is worth noting that the three universities (not counting the UC) maintain their indepedent status, with their own deans and administrative control. However, the overall CLS will be run by an “executive dean,” a position to which the current College of Science dean has been named.

Provost Meredith Hay also stresses the “advising benefits” that will be accrued from the new set-up, while not exactly spelling out what these benefits will be. I could see a sort of underclass/upperclass divide in the advising: advisors for underclassmen will be well-versed in the CLS as a whole, helping to spell out the Gen Ed requirements, giving advice on majors (a la the University College), interpreting the Byzantine SAPR; advisors for upperclassmen will be more specified, and associated with programs rather than schools, providing more specified advising up through the graduation check.

You can watch Hay talk about the new institution here.


2 Responses

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  1. […] we had yesterday’s long-past-due piece on the new College of Letters & Science. In gathering student reaction to the new College, the paper got this gem of a quote: Morgan […]

  2. […] was he behind the abominable “advisers fee,” but also has been one of the University College’s biggest defenders. Yet for all of his Brucean tendencies when it comes to punctuation, his […]

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