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Gatepost Editorial: New deans to improve academic experience

The Gatepost Editorial Board

This year, President F. Javier Cevallos approved a new academic structure which will create three academic colleges, consisting of six or seven departments each and three new interim deans to direct them.

The three new colleges break down into Arts and Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Academic colleges for both Business and Education are in the works for the future.

Professors Marc Cote, Susan Dargan and Margaret Carroll are the interim deans of these colleges, respectively, while the school searches for permanent deans through an official job search. Administrative assistants for the deans will also be hired.

Previously, all 22 academic departments reported to Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Linda Vaden-Goad, who will now instead receive reports from these deans.

This new structure is meant to make day-to-day operations run more smoothly for administrators, encourage collaboration among departments and improve academic success

for students, meaning increasing retention and graduation rates.

We at The Gatepost are excited to see how this new structure will unfold and affect student life. While it seems clear to us that it will improve efficiency for administrators, which is certainly important, we hope that the improved organization and a more-hands-on-deck approach will trickle down to student life and create new and more well-rounded opportunities. We believe it will.

Rather than department chair reporting to one person – who, apart from having an overloaded desk, is more distant from the students, faculty and the disciplines – they will now report to college deans, who will have a better understanding of how to plan events and courses that students would be interested in and budget for the resources that faculty need.

Likewise, these administrators will have more time to focus on really cultivating a cohesive and collaborative culture among the departments within the academic college, which will hopefully encourage students to dip their toes into subjects they may not have tried before, giving them a more robust and well-rounded learning experience. Sometimes, experiences like these can end up altering a student’s academic and professional course, inspiring a new passion for a subject the student didn’t realize he or she had. It can also simply increase the student’s skillset.

We would like to see these deans push boundaries and create new programs that incorporate multiple departments, such as offering internships and networking opportunities through which students can see professionals in their fields using multiple disciplines in real-life settings.

We are confident that students will not hesitate to engage with their already well-known and well-liked professors in these new roles. Because the interim deans are so close to the student body, we believe they will be able to develop the new system in a student-focused way that will continue effectively even after permanent deans have filled the roles.

The Gatepost Editorial Board hopes that the increased resources and more focused attention given by these new deans will affect students’ academic lives in a practical and noticeable way – and we certainly see the potential for that with this new structure.

This type of academic structure is not uncommon, especially at large universities. If FSU wants to keep growing as an institution, it’s important to put support systems like this in place in order to provide the necessary resources for student success and academic expansion.

This new system marks a milestone in the recent evolution of our school from a college into a

university. The campus continues to grow physically, but after all, students come here primarily to get an education. It’s only fitting that FSU focus on growing academically as well – and this new system seems like a sturdy foundation to build upon.

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