Academic reorganization initiated with best intentions

By Alex Balletto & Leanne Signoriello – Copy Editor & Features Editor

Recently, the college has been ironing out essentials of the new academic structure, not referring to the construction of the complex. Adjustments within the academic division are set to take place in January 2018. Lasell will condense departments into five schools. Earlier this semester, we learned that each school would have an associate dean and program director. The program director is to serve programs needing special licensure, or special expertise or attention.

Last spring, President Michael Alexander held an open-forum discussion with students and other members of the community to discuss changes they’d like to see in the next five to ten years. There were discussions on majors, advisors, and professor’s jobs. President Alexander addressed questions to mitigate fear, and students were more accepting to the transformation once they learned the structural change would be rather transparent to the student.

From the perspective of a communication student, I for one am excited that graphic design will now be incorporated in the School of Communication and the Arts. Graphic design is a key asset to advertising firms as well as the process behind creating a magazine or newspaper. Being more exposed to classes from this major will be beneficial and make myself more marketable when applying to jobs in my field.

From the perspective of a justice studies student, most likely to fall under the school of social sciences, I am fine with the academic structure as long as the department will have a program director. My courses have been primarily taught by adjuncts. The coordinator of these attorneys and professors must remain close, reliable, and relevant. For all majors, I think these qualities are desired.

The biggest plus we see in the structure lies in the communication of the departments to the academic administrators. It’s clear a buffer was added between departments and the academic vice president, but now it is up to associate deans to be effective leaders and manage the flow of information.

It’s crucial that associate deans focus on each major individually within their school, but also develop interdisciplinary learning opportunities, a fortune of the new structure. The college should also take advantage of the promotion of Catherine Zeek, and the creation of her new title, Dean of Curriculum and Faculty Innovation.

Everyone in the community should realize the benefits of the new structure but also understand its goals. Students should keep in mind that these innovations to the academic structure are with the students’ best interest in mind.

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