Emory College and Laney Graduate School: Changes in academic programs

By Nancy Seideman | Emory Report | Sep. 14, 2012

Emory College of Arts and Sciences is reducing the number of academic programs it supports through the closing and reorganizing of three academic departments and several programs. In coordination with the Laney Graduate School, admission will be suspended to four related graduate programs.

The following changes will be phased in over the next several years, beginning at the end of this academic year and concluding by the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

The specific changes are:

  • The Department of Health and Physical Education, which already is being phased out (effective August 2013) in favor of new approaches to health and physical fitness education. Two other academic departments also will close: the Division of Educational Studies (conclusion of AY 2016-17), and the Department for Visual Arts (conclusion of AY 2013-14), as well as one degree-granting program, the Program in Journalism (conclusion of AY 2013-14). Students will still have opportunities to explore these subjects in other departments or program structures.
  • The role of the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts also will be reexamined with an eye toward restructuring Emory College’s support for interdisciplinary work. Beginning in the fall of 2012, the ILA will begin a three-year transition from a department to an “Institute.” Rather than serving as the home of permanent faculty appointments, this reimagined Institute will allow faculty to spend a more limited time in an arena where they can pursue research and teaching outside of the usual disciplinary boundaries.
  • Admission to the graduate programs in Educational Studies, Spanish, Economics and the ILA will be suspended.
  • The ECAS also will be reducing its support for several administrative centers, and eliminating some college administration positions.
  • As part of these changes, an Undergraduate Science Education committee has been established to examine questions of what Emory College teaches and how it’s taught in the undergraduate science classroom, and what investments are needed to ensure that the ECAS is providing students with a world-class education.

The following outlines how faculty, staff and students will be affected by these changes:

Faculty: No tenured faculty positions are being eliminated. Approximately 18 tenured faculty, three untenured assistant professors, and 19 lecture-track faculty will have their appointments affected directly by this reorganization.* Currently, there are approximately 525 faculty in the ECAS: 358 tenured, 59 untenured assistant professors, and 108 lecture-track.

Tenured faculty in all cases are being offered comparable positions in other academic departments as this long-range plan for consolidation and realignment moves ahead over the next four to five years. Some faculty may choose to pursue retirement, or begin to phase down their activities over time, and in those cases, the Emory College is prepared to work with them to honor their careers and meet their personal goals.

The ECAS will not be renewing our contracts with lecture-track and non-tenured tenure-track faculty in directly affected departments, so their employment either will end at the completion of their contractual term or be extended to support current students continuing in specific majors.

* Update (Nov. 29, 2012): Approximately 18 tenured faculty, three untenured assistant professors and 18 lecture-track faculty will have their appointments affected directly by this reorganization.

Staff: Approximately 20 staff positions will be eliminated over the next five years. Emory College staff will work closely with department and program directors to explore various options for those currently holding these positions, including transfer to another position within the University or within Emory College depending on the needs of reorganized areas. ECAS leadership will work closely with department chairs to help them with staff transitions. Staff affected by these changes will be offered adequate notice to provide them with time to make the transition.

Undergraduate Students: The ECAS will work to ensure these changes have a minimal impact on currently enrolled students so that they can complete the courses they need in order to graduate on time. Emory College will be closing these units in a way that allows students who have already declared associated majors and minors the opportunity to complete them.

Graduate Students: The four programs (Economics, Educational Studies, Institute of Liberal Arts, and Spanish) where new admissions will be suspended have about 126 students out of the approximately 1,850 degree-seeking students enrolled in the Laney Graduate School. All students will be able to complete the degree programs in which they are enrolled.

The LGS and ECAS will work with directors of graduate studies, faculty, staff, and students to ensure that students have access to the support needed to complete their programs. About half have reached candidacy and are expected to graduate within the next three years. The pre-candidacy students will be able to complete necessary coursework and other degree requirements within the normal time-to-degree in their disciplines.