College structure report released

By Rob Tokanel, News Staff

Northeastern Provost Steven Director recently released the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Structure of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the College of Criminal Justice (CCJ), which was submitted to his office May 28.
The 131-page report outlines the group’s findings after nearly six months of studying the possible effects of potential restructurings, describes the procedure they followed in gathering the information and compares the current structures to those of other schools. It also provides more than a dozen letters and a petition from CCJ students, faculty and alumni in opposition to changes to the college.
In the report, the committee outlines three possible configurations for the future of CAS they were told to examine for the Office of the Provost. One configuration would involve splitting the college in two, with one college including physical and life sciences and mathematics and the other social sciences, arts and humanities. The other option would split CAS into three colleges:’ a college of arts, a college of science, and a college of social science and humanities. The third option would be to retain the college in its current form.
Within that inspection, the report says the committee was charged to determine whether CCJ should be incorporated into CAS in whichever form it took.
The 13 members of the committee reported they met with a wide range of members of the colleges including deans and students and reviewed funding, enrollment trends and staff support, among a multitude of other factors.
As previously reported in The News, members of the CCJ community regularly raised concerns prior to the report’s release about changes to their college and argued for more transparency in the examination process. The extensive findings of the committee revealed an overwhelming support among CCJ faculty, students and alumni for maintaining the status quo, and that there was less concern about the prospect of restructuring outside of CCJ.
The committee also reported ‘the degree to which the Committee found itself focusing on CCJ concerns also constrained the time and attention it was able to devote to the College of Arts and Sciences ‘- the larger, more diverse, and more complex of the two colleges under review.’
The committee did report, however, that Northeastern is the only school other than the much smaller Brandeis University with ‘just one college to house its collection of twenty-one departments’ among universities used for comparison. Other universities have an average of 4.4 colleges for a similar collection of departments, according to the report.
The committee reported an advantage of restructuring CAS could be increased fund-raising because there would be more deans to represent the colleges, but also said the addition of administrators could add to bureaucracy and salary overheads.
President-elect of the Criminal Justice Student Advisory Council Darren Costa said he was pleased with the amount of information provided in the report.
‘It was encouraging to see the report was very thorough, and it was encouraging to see the support and opposition to change,’ he said.
A decision for the future of the colleges is expected in the Fall, according to an April announcement from the Provost. In keeping with those previously outlined plans, Vice President for Marketing and Communications Mike Armini said a group of about 75 representatives from all of the colleges met in the Egan Research Center Monday to discuss possible options. Armini said some students were allowed to attend the event, which was another step in the process of examining the possible changes to the colleges.
The full report is available online at neu.edu/collegestructure.

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