About 50 students showed up today for the “Lunch and Learn” event in the Memorial Union Skyline Room to introduce students to a possible model for academic reorganization at Emporia State. If this model is adopted, it would be set to begin next fall.
The presentation was given by Amy Sage Webb-Baza, professor of English, modern languages and journalism and James Ehlers, professor of art, after being appointed as temporary administrative positions serving as assistant deans for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for this project for the spring semester.
Ed Brashaw, dean of the school of business; Joan Brewer, dean of the teacher’s college; Wooseob Jeong, dean of library and information management and Gary Wyatt, interim dean of the college of liberal arts and sciences, were all in attendance to speak about their schools and answer students’ questions.
This reorganization for the university comes six months after the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) approved a Workforce Management Framework that gave ESU President Ken Hush authority to “suspend, dismiss, or terminate any university employee.” This was followed by the termination of 33 faculty members as well as the suspension of various academic programs and courses at ESU.
The new model would allow for individuals within academic units to take on leadership roles, rather than something that’s “very rigid and hierarchical,” Webb-Baza said in the presentation.
“The goal was to see, are there things that we could do structurally that would have more people involved in leadership, and also, that would be more flexible and customizable across those units,” Webb-Baza said. “Right now, they all look pretty much the same. That might not be the case.”
Webb-Baza went on to say that the other side of the goal was to pair academic units together that have a “natural synergy” that may be able to morph into newer, more innovative programs for students.
Callie Mongold, senior graphic design major, attended the event and said she is unsure of how the proposed model may affect her.
“I think that it’s definitely something to look into, especially hearing that they think that departments are having trouble with, like, funding, like planning for funding,” said Mongold in an interview. “It may have departments who are different have more of a voice.”
“A lot of this, there's maybe not going to be a right answer,” Wyatt said during the presentation. “Maybe for some there will be, but a lot of it is going to be doing our best and taking risks.”
Students can complete a survey form to share ideas, ask questions and bring up any concerns to be considered in the development of this reorganizational process. The survey will close March 13 at 11:59pm.
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