AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Four large academic departments in four colleges at Auburn Unversity were redesignated as schools within those colleges by the university’s Board of Trustees in June.
The new schools are Communication and Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts; Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences in the College of Agriculture; Industrial and Graphic Design in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction; and Kinesiology in the College of Education. As in other schools within colleges, the top administrator in each of the new schools will be designated as a school director or equivalent title.
Provost Timothy Boosinger said the departments were evaluated for school status in terms of degree offerings, enrollment, faculty, student credit hours and prominence within their fields. School status will align the departments with programs of similar size at peer institutions, he added.
Department heads and faculty members in the former departments said the change will have major long-term effects.
“Becoming a school puts us in line with our peer institutions and will help us recruit high quality students and faculty,” said Jennifer Adams of Communication and Journalism. “Of the 11 universities in the SEC, 72.7 percent (of communication and journalism programs) are housed in a college and/or school. Many of these schools are “named.” This designation will allow College of Liberal Arts development officers to work with a possible donor to obtain the naming rights to the school.
“Almost all research centers or institutes are housed in colleges or schools, not departments,” Adams continued. “Becoming a school helps us become more competitive when applying for funding for communication and mass communication research projects and grants. This change in designation from a department to school indicates our pursuit for excellence to our graduates, majors, prospective students, faculty and to the entire academic community.”
David Rouse of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences said, “We are very pleased that the Auburn administration and board have recognized our program with the designation of school. We feel that we have developed an internationally recognized program. Becoming a school will help us expand our program even more.”
Clark Lundell of Industrial and Graphic Design added, “The industrial design undergraduate program is currently ranked sixth in the country while its graduate program is ranked fourth. The graphic design program is the only bachelor of fine arts in graphic design degree offered in Alabama and is consistently represented on ‘HOW’ magazine’s list of design programs in the country. The elevation of department to school status acknowledges this level of achievement and allows the School of Industrial and Graphic Design to be competitive with other like programs nationally.”
Said David Pascoe of Kinesiology, “We are ranked 22nd in the U.S. and moving up quickly among our peers. Designation as a school will give us the opportunity to achieve still more in terms of national and international recognition for our programs, the College of Education, Auburn University and state of Alabama. We have a strong faculty and our new state-of-the-art facility combined with the school designation will provide visibility for our research efforts, grant applications and health science focused education and outreach.”
Pascoe added, “The School of Kinesiology title will enhance our ability to recruit outstanding faculty and prospective students, and provide current students and alumni with the national and international program visibility to which they are an integral part of our continued success.”
The new schools join four other college-affiliated schools and three free-standing schools. They are the School of Accountancy in the Harbert College of Business; the School of Fine Arts in the College of Liberal Arts; the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture and the McWhorter School of Building Science in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction; plus the stand-alone schools: the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, the School of Nursing and the Harrison School of Pharmacy.
(Written by Roy Summerford.)
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