A letter from Interim Dean Basu
April 6, 2017
Dear Faculty and Staff,
As we approach the last few weeks of the spring semester, I would like to give you an update on several conversations we started in the fall. I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in the Academic Honors celebration and Commencement (see details below). I know that many of you attend these events regularly. But for those of you who have not had the pleasure yet, let me explain why I do it. The transformative work that we do with our students as educators is often intangible but the Academic Honors celebration and Commencement are two opportunities for us to be able to mark a milestone in our journey with our students in a joyous and concrete way. I have attended every single graduation ceremony since I got here except for the one year when I was expecting the birth of my child. It has been the highlight of my year. I know we all have many competing demands on our time but I urge you to consider participating in at least one of these events this year, if not both. You will not regret it. It will energize and rejuvenate you and your students and their families will remember this moment, that you get to be part of, for the rest of their lives.
Academic Honors Celebration – Sunday, April 30, 3:00-5:00pm: We hear from students each year that the highlight of the event was having faculty in attendance. You are encouraged to sign up to attend.
Commencement 2017: Friday May 19 (9 am and 1 pm) Please attend our commencement ceremonies and, in particular, to assist as a reader or marshal. See signup link below. Please complete the form by April 14. http://www.csusm.edu/commencement/staff/facstaffform.html. The deadline for ordering regalia has been extended to April 7. If you do not end up using it then you do not have to pay for it. In addition, the bookstore does have generic regalia for those last minute situations.
College of Humanities, Arts, and Behavioral & Social Sciences Dean’s Award: Please join me in congratulating Ivan Hernandez for being our CHABSS Dean’s award winner for 2016-17. Ivan is an outstanding Psychology graduate whose persistence, commitment, passion, and achievements exemplify the values, mission, and promise of the Cal State San Marcos learning experience. When Dr. Keith Trujillo, Dr. Wes Schultz and Dr. Anna Woodcock write in their nominating letter that,” He is one of those special students that comes along only once or twice in a lifetime” I knew we have a truly outstanding student.
School of the Arts Update: As you might recall, I started a conversation with the faculty and staff in the School of the Arts, in early fall, to discuss possibilities for re-structuring the School of the Arts in order to best serve the needs of the students, the faculty and the changing curricula offered by the five distinct foundational disciplines within the school. There are new disciplinary majors that have either recently been approved (Music) or are in various stages of the curricular review process (Arts, Media and Design; Theater). Faculty in these disciplines need the autonomy and ability to grow these majors and become distinct parts of the liberal arts education that we value and treasure in this college. To that end, the current director and associate director positions will no longer exist starting July 1, 2017. The faculty within each disciplinary area discussed the possibility of forming either departments or programs based on their size and curricular focus. The four new units being proposed are: Music (department); AMD (department); Theatre (program); Dance Studies (program). Once approved, these departments and programs will function just like all other departments and programs in the college. The department chairs and program directors will report directly to the Dean and will be responsible for curriculum, schedules, personnel, budgets etc. for each of their respective units and will be compensated as per the existing model in the college. Given the fact that these units still share a building, lab resources, technical staff resources and some curriculum there was a need to create a coordinating body called a leadership council for a one-year transitional period. The membership of the leadership council includes department chairs of Music and AMD; program directors of Theatre and Dance. One of them will serve as the chair of this council for a one-year term. I know that there has been some consternation in the college about the School of the Arts and how it came to be. I would like to take this opportunity to heal this rift between us so that we are able to let go of the past and move forward with the intent of valuing and treasuring each other and the disciplinary richness that we each bring to the college. I ask for your help and support as we move forward with these changes. After the one-year transitional period there will be an opportunity to assess the need for a council and indeed a school. It is possible that there will no longer be a need for a council or a chair of the council. Given the new divisional structure being proposed by the Org. 2020 report (see below) it is also possible that the School of Arts will transform into a broader Arts and Humanities division.
Organizational Structure 2020: As you might recall, I initiated a conversation about where we wanted to be by 2020. There had been some discussion among the upper administration that we are getting “too big” in size and complexity indicating that we might have to consider splitting the college. Unlike the last time this happened, I wanted us to prepare for this possibility and come up with a plan for what we wanted to see happen versus having it be dictated to us. To that end, I started this conversation at the October Dean/DC meeting. At their request, I provided some questions to help structure the conversation at the department level. I also initiated a conversation about this topic with the College Coordinating Committee. After receiving responses from practically all departments, some of the governance committees and strategic initiatives and the staff of the college, I can report that the overwhelming sentiment is to keep the college intact. The main reasons cited for not splitting the college are: 1) Staying in one college will better facilitate and allow for interdisciplinary efforts; 2) There are some disciplines that have faculty and curriculum in the humanities and in the social sciences which would make it difficult for them to choose one of these areas if the college splits; 3) Splitting the college would require funding an entirely new Dean’s office; 4) Splitting the college would disempower a strong and unified college with common goals rooted in the liberal arts. There was some discussion about disadvantages of the current structure such as the Dean not being able to provide more support and attention to individual departments and the faculty, staff, students therein and therefore perhaps not being able to represent them as well. There was also some discussion about the workload in the Dean’s office in terms of handling the increasing complexity and size of the college. There were several suggestions and ideas about how we can make some changes to the current governance structure and Dean’s office staffing in order to improve communication and decision-making within the college and alleviate the workload issues. The most consistent suggestion was to create a divisional model with three divisions managed by three Associate Deans. A draft report has been shared with the CCC and will be shared with the college for discussion at the next all-faculty meeting. I hope that we can work on these suggestions to come up with a plan that we can submit to the Provost and to the new Dean by the end of April.
Proposal for Integrating Initiatives and Working Groups into College Governance: After discussing the proposal for integrating initiatives and working groups into college governance at the all-faculty meeting, CCC met last Thursday to recommend that we adopt the proposal on a pilot basis for 2017-18. The main highlights of this proposal include: inviting some members of the Strategic Planning Implementation Working Group (SPIWG) to be guest members of CCC; providing commensurate compensation to the faculty chairs of all college level committees and working groups; creating a new Student Success Committee; inviting the chair of the Lecturer Advisory Council to be a guest on CCC.
Dr. Ranjeeta Basu
Interim Dean, College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences