The New Mexico State University Board of Regents Friday voted to approve a proposal to combine the College of Education, the College of Health and Social Services and the Department of Sociology, into new college to be named the College of Health, Education and Social Transformation effective July 1.
The proposal was first introduced last summer. NMSU Provost Carol Parker hosted a number of meetings and workshops to discuss the new college, and a committee used feedback from faculty and staff to shape the final proposal. The new college will create a single academic home for work specifically related to health, education and social transformation.
Regents unanimously voted to approve the proposal provided that an advisory committee be created, consisting of administrators, students, staff and faculty, to create an organizational chart for the new college and create a job description for the college’s dean. The board will receive regular updates on the progress made in implementing the new college.
Now that Regents have approved the new college, NMSU can create a focal point for the university’s social mobility, social justice and social transformation programs.
“I am grateful for the support of the members of the Board of Regents, and all the campus partners who worked on this initiative during the past year,” Parker said. “I am looking forward to immediately working with the faculty, staff and academic leadership to begin implementation. This new transdisciplinary college will play a large role in helping NMSU achieve its strategic goals by encouraging enrollment growth in the fields of health and education, which is vitally important to our communities; encouraging more community-based research, outreach and engagement; increasing grant funding for these academic units; and strengthening the financial position of these units to better support these outcomes.”
Parker said one of the first steps will be to recruit an inaugural, founding dean for the new college.
“I believe that many strong candidates will be interested in this position because of the unique opportunity they will have to be part of something big, by helping to shape this new transdisciplinary college,” Parker said.
Parker said the merger was designed to avoid disrupting currently offered academic programs and will not affect pre-existing authorizations or accreditation of programs, program enrollments in majors and other programs of study, faculty hiring or promotion and tenure standards. The units involved will be led by a single dean, whereas currently three deans are involved in their leadership. Any future decisions to pursue additional restructuring below the administrative level of the dean will be handled within the new college, with faculty and administrative leadership in the academic units determining how best to internally organize themselves.
Parker said the door is open for other social science programs to become part of future social transformation efforts, including joint appointments with the new college for faculty currently working in NMSU’s other colleges.
Other universities that have combined health and education in one college include Utah State University, University of Arkansas, University of Idaho and Montana State University, which are all land-grant universities like NMSU.
For more information about the proposal, including frequently asked questions and an archive of the town hall sessions, click here.
Author: Adriana M. Chávez – NMSU