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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

August 27, 2004

Work groups provide updates at shared college convocation

by Karen Bolluyt

A morning-long joint convocation attracted close to 200 faculty and staff members from the colleges of Education and Family and Consumer Sciences on Aug. 19. They heard from four of the 12 work groups examining issues related to the proposed combination of the two colleges.

Vice president for academic affairs and provost Benjamin Allen launched the discussion, noting that budget challenges originally drove senior administrators, including deans, to investigate possible structural/organizational changes in the university.

But, he said, their recommendations to him, including the proposed college combination, were based on potential academic benefits, as well as administrative savings. Allen said he agreed that the combination could strengthen research and teaching in the two colleges and endorsed the recommendation.

In February President Gregory Geoffroy asked the two colleges to consider the combination, with a view to implementing the change July 1, 2005.

Questions for the provost

Anne Oldham, FCS adviser, asked for assurance that any savings realized in a combination would be kept by the two colleges. Allen said the colleges would keep the savings, adding that taking the risks of change should be rewarded.

Several participants suggested that FCS has a more centralized administrative structure, in budget management for example, than does Education. Allen said the Planning Committee for the Combination of the Colleges agrees that this difference in college cultures is an important issue to resolve.

Name and mission

The first report came from the work group that considered possible names and mission statements for the combined college. The groups presented five proposed names and three proposed mission statements. Convocation participants then expressed their preferences in a straw poll.

No college name received majority support. "Education, Family and Consumer Sciences" received the most support (29.7 percent). "Human Sciences" was the preference of 26.3 percent of participants.

The following mission statement received support from 62 percent of participants:

" provide a unique, integrative approach to improving the quality of life for individuals, families and communities by addressing human and societal issues. The College prepares exemplary professionals for leadership roles in research, education, business and industry, and human sciences.

Administrative structure

Pam White, interim FCS dean, and Jerry Thomas, interim Education dean, presented a proposed administrative structure, which preserved administrative functions from both colleges and achieved savings primarily through a reduction in the number of deans and associate deans.

Noting that the proposed structure is quite similar to what has been in place, participants from one discussion table asked if there might be a more effective "21st century" approach.

Among the suggestions from the floor were:

  • Have three full-time associate deans.
  • Bring all university licensure oversight into one office.
  • Have all college administrators in the same building.
  • Reexamine P&S staff needs once locations for administrative offices are determined.

Student services

Changes recommended by the student services working group would have a significant impact on current staff members in the two colleges. Some positions that overlap might be reduced. Duties for some staff members might increase to cover the needs of both colleges. The working group, consisting almost entirely of people working in student services, projected a possible reduction of 3.5 positions.


The technology work group also reported, though its report was more preliminary than the other three. The group predicted that savings in technology costs were not a likely outcome of a college combination. Participants spoke in agreement with that viewpoint, noting, for example, the need for more technology-ready classrooms and faculty training.

The next four months

Reports for nine of the 12 work groups are due in mid-September. The planning committee will prepare a proposal from the reports. Colleges will review the document during October. The provost, Faculty Senate and the president will review the proposal during November and December.

Faculty members in both colleges will vote on the proposal, as will the Faculty Senate. Allen said these are "advisory votes that send a strong signal." He also noted that work groups would continue to solicit input from staff, students and alums.

Up-to-date information on the progress of the planning committee and work groups is maintained by the provost office at Associate provost Susan Carlson is the planning committee's facilitator.


Straw polls on possibilities for a college name and a college mission statement were taken at a joint convocation of the Family and Consumer Sciences and Education colleges Aug. 19. Reports for nine of 12 working groups are due in mid-September, with the goal of college employees reviewing a proposal in October.