LSU is planning to consolidate its College of Education, School of Social Work, School of Library and Information Science and more into one much larger college, LSU Executive Vice President and Provost Jack Hamilton said Thursday.
The goal is to form one large college with linked interests, Hamilton said, as opposed to maintaining the current structure of smaller, weaker units that are constantly worried “if they’re going to exist.”
“They are going to be as powerful as any college on campus,” Hamilton said.
Also being consolidated with education, social work and library science will be the kinesiology department, the College of Agriculture’s joint Early Childhood PK 3 program and agriculture’s School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development.
In addition to the new, yet-to-be-named college, Hamilton said the electrical and computer engineering department also is merging with the computer science department within the College of Engineering so they can work more closely with the LSU Center for Computation and Technology.
In 2009, former LSU Provost Astrid Merget proposed a reorganization and consolidation plan that included folding the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work and SHREWD into the College of Education, and calling it the College of Social and Educational Professions.
But those parts of the plan were never implemented.
At that time, officials from the School of Library and Information Science and other faculty complained they were never consulted and that the plan was too rushed.
But last year, LSU proposed phasing out the School of Library and Information Science completely over three years, before backtracking and keeping the school intact.
Hamilton said the difference in the new plan is it focuses on allowing the different units to come together to create a combined vision for their strengths and growth.
“We’re not just interested in telling people they have to coexist,” he said. “We’re interested in playing to their strengths.”
The officials from the affected units have until Nov. 1 to submit a plan for moving forward and naming the new college, he said.
LSU College of Education interim Dean Laura Lindsay will help take the lead on the process.
Lindsay said she believes the new plan will combine LSU’s education and social wellness resources into a stronger unit.
“This is a very progressive way to go,” Lindsay said.
While there will be fewer deans on campus, Hamilton said, the motivation is to improve LSU, not to just save money.
As for the computer and engineering programs, Hamilton said the computer science department has been a victim of faculty poaching from other universities.
Bringing them together should create a stronger department, he said.