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Provost on College of Sciences

A memo sent today from Provost Warwick Arden updates the campus community on progress with the new College of Sciences, which is scheduled to replace the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences next July. The new college will encompass physical/chemical sciences, the mathematical and statistical sciences, the biological sciences and the earth system sciences.

The memo lays out work performed by the new college’s steering committee, including the scope of academic disciplines and the requisite faculty to be included in the new college’s biological science component. Forty-four tenured or tenure-track faculty will transition to the new college out of a roster of 63 possible faculty members from the departments of biology, environmental and molecular toxicology, genetics and microbiology. The remaining 19 faculty members will stay in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The memo also includes information on the College of Sciences implementation teams and the next steps in the process of creating the new college.

 

A memo sent today from Provost Warwick Arden updates the campus community on progress with the new College of Sciences, which is scheduled to replace the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences next July. The new college will encompass physical/chemical sciences, the mathematical and statistical sciences, the biological sciences and the earth system sciences.

The memo (http://provost.ncsu.edu/news/cos-update-083012.php) lays out work performed by the new college’s steering committee, including the scope of academic disciplines and the requisite faculty to be included in the new college’s biological science component. Forty-four tenured or tenure-track faculty will transition to the new college out of a roster of 63 possible faculty members from the departments of biology, environmental and molecular toxicology, genetics and microbiology. The remaining 19 faculty members will stay in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The memo also includes information on the College of Sciences implementation team and the next steps in the process of creating the new college.

Responses (1 Comment)

  • Bill Thompson

    There are a number of things about the College of Science that worry me. I don’t object at all to the concept. In fact, the idea of a College of Science seemed to make excellent sense to me at first, when I could still think of it as a way of assembling biomedically-oriented faculty into a cohesive, synergistic unit, while simultaneously re-orienting resources to support and grow an equally synergistic environmental and agricultural life sciences group in CALS. That vision seemed capable of offering a better situation to both groups and a real step up in quality for NCSU.

    However, what is happening on the ground seems to lack not just my preferred vision, but any coherent vision at all. I can see no obvious conceptual basis for the new biology department; rather, it seems little more than an amorphous group of “non-ag” biologists. Animal ecologists are being moved to COS, leaving plant and aquatic ecologists in CALS, so that neither college will be able to mount a comprehensive ecology program. Similarly, Microbiology is being split, which could prevent either college from offering a credible Microbiology degree. Almost 20% of the faculty will be toxicologists, an emphasis which is difficult to reconcile with a broad departmental mission. Just over 30% will be from Genetics, which also raises balance issues in addition to submerging a department with a strong national reputation into an otherwise unremarkable agglomeration.

    Lost in the scramble, it seems, is any hope of a vision-driven process of defining desirable structures for COS and CALS and then working to achieve an optimum combination of transfers and new hires to create them. I hope there’s some major justification for all the rushing around, because we are sure to pay a price for it.

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