Changes proposed by:
Colin Hesse (School of Arts & Communication, Associate Professor) (hesseco)
These questions are designed to produce the equivalent of a 2-page summary of the proposed program that can be used to create an Early Alert document that will be submitted to the Statewide Provosts Council.
4. What is the anticipated enrollment (Fall Term headcount) at the launch of the program and the planned goals for 5 and 10 years out?
Create, Change or Terminate a College or Academic Unit
Reorganize (merge, move, split)
The current School of Arts and Communication (SAC) is the largest and most complex within the College of Liberal Arts with six distinct academic programs spread across seven campus buildings. The size, budget complexities, lack of connection among disciplines, and other factors have limited the ability of SAC to function effectively in its current configuration. Moreover, the impending expansion/renovation of arts facilities and the eventual attendant programming related to it, present additional looming administrative complexities. Two separate schools will allow more focused support of individual academic programs on both sides and a more efficient leadership structure so that all programs may fully flourish. In this proposal, the School of Communication (SoC) will include the current Speech Communication and New Media Communications programs. The School of Visual, Performing, & Design Arts (SVPDA) will include Art, Graphic Design, Music, and Theatre Arts. In this two school model, SoC and SVPDA will better resemble other schools within CLA in terms of budgets, size, and academic program alignment.
The College of Liberal Arts seeks to separate the current School of Arts & Communication (SAC) into two distinct schools: a School of Communication (SoC) and a School of Visual, Performing, & Design Arts (SVPDA). Currently, the SAC is made up of six distinct disciplines: Art, Communication, Graphic Design, Music, New Media Communications, and Theatre. Besides being somewhat bifurcated disciplinarily the current configuration has proven itself oversized and unwieldy to administer effectively (the six disciplines inelegantly occupy space in seven buildings all across campus). The current structure also presents challenges by way of visibility and focus; the SAC is simply too diffuse as an academic entity. Moreover, recent investments in arts facilities will add even more complexity to that already complex world. Finally, those same investments in the arts suggest that the OSU landscape for them has matured so that the older structure is no longer sufficient to support both sides of the current SAC without bringing detriment to the entire enterprise. This proposal separates out Speech Communication and New Media Communications into a single new academic and administrative entity: the School of Communication (SoC). The four arts disciplines (Art, Graphic Design, Music, and Theatre) will be organized as the School of Visual, Performing, & Design Arts (SVPDA). The addition of administrative support (i.e., a dedicated director and assistant in each new school instead of the two single individuals trying to do all of it as one now) will also be more in line with the administrative size/loads common across the other schools in CLA. The only curricular changes necessitated by this administrative one are: 1) the recreation of the current Theatre Arts option under Speech Communication as a standalone Theatre Arts major (which it essentially functions as now as there are no shared disciplinary requirements with the Communication option; 2) elevating the Communication option to the single degree/major available under the existing Speech Communication BA/BS. Both of these changes are currently being pursued under separate CIM proposals.
Objectives, Functions, and Activities
In dividing into two schools, the only change to existing degree programs would be the formal separation of Theatre Arts and Speech Communication (currently options under a single major). The proposal to create a stand-alone Theatre Arts major is in process along with the change to drop any options under the Communication degree. This separation will not change any of the course offerings or admission or program requirements for any of the Theatre Arts or Speech Communication degrees. There will be no other changes to existing degree programs for the other academic units. Admission requirements, advising, and learning outcomes were always administered at the unit level within SAC, so this change will not affect any specific academic program.
Separating SAC into two more overtly thematic schools will strengthen disciplinary identities and the individual programs existing within the schools. Instead of using energy and resources to try and unite disparate elements in seven buildings spread across campus, the new schools will be able to streamline and target energy and resources more effectively. In the larger SAC model, resources and priorities were occasionally points of conflict between differing approaches to scholarship and performance. For example, separating the social science disciplines of Speech Communication and New Media Communications from the Design/Arts/Performing Arts disciplines will better allow the crucial academic distinctions of the different areas to support seeking and receiving targeted support and resources. Student interest and feedback has also clearly communicated support for the separation into two schools. Students more closely identify with their specific majors, which will be more readily visible and acknowledged in the separated schools.
As noted, there are also current building and remodeling projects that support the school split. The Arts and Education Complex will serve as a hub for SVPDA; renovations of Fairbanks Hall will enhance Art and Graphic Design capacity. Visually, these buildings will represent SVPDA more vividly than if part of a larger, more tenuous SAC.
The reorganization will not impact interdisciplinary work; it is not necessary to remain in the same school for interdisciplinary work to flourish. There are clearly two schools at work here, but only enough administrative capacity for one.
Outcomes will continue to be assessed on a programmatic level; these functions were not integrated in the previous school alignment. (For example, assessment of Studio Art varies greatly from Interpersonal Communication; each plan will remain in effect.) The reorganization into two schools will not influence or change the current assessment of major or minor programs.
There is broad support among faculty and staff for developing two separate schools; the initial proposal for reorganization was entirely faculty-driven. In the last two years, the Dean’s office in CLA has implemented a process to collect verbal feedback from faculty regarding reorganization. The first process occurred in the summer of 2018 and was facilitated by an outside consultant, who spoke to as many faculty as volunteered. The second process occurred in the winter of 2020, focused on the SoC half of SAC; all faculty were required to meet with an Associate Dean to discuss future hopes and possibilities. In both of these processes, the clear message was strong support for more disciplinary autonomy and administrative support via the split of SAC.
The current SAC has a place for one director and one school Assistant (though currently SAC is being served by an interim director from the CLA Dean's office). This proposal would require the addition of one new director position and one new school Assistant position. Interim school leadership is currently in place for both proposed schools, and thus more permanent leadership will need to be installed in both schools in the first 1-2 years following the reorganization. The current school Assistant to the Director would move to one of the schools, so there would also be a need for a second school assistant to be hired in the next 1-2 years following the reorganization. Any Office Specialist positions, currently there are five, would, at the moment, stay connected to the academic unit that they serve. All academic programs currently have adequate faculty and resources to serve the students.
The budget impact of the proposal, as indicated in the Budget Narrative document, includes one full-time (1.0FTE) School Director (salary + OPE = roughly $200K), one full-time (1.0FTE) Assistant to the School Director (salary + OPE = roughly $100K), and some minor costs associated with services and supplies (this includes possible new computers for new personnel, marketing materials, and library materials, coming out to roughly $15K).
These new resources will be covered through the general budget of the School of Communication. Both new personnel positions (School Director and Assistant to the Director) have been placed into the FY22 School of Communication Budget Projection, and the School possess enough resources thanks to general SCH revenue, eCampus revenue, and annual investment from the College of Liberal Arts to cover these costs and maintain a balanced budget. Basically, these resources would come from a reallocation of current Comm resources and through some minor generation of new revenue (largely from eCampus).
Allowing the two new schools to progress and thrive in more unified and focused ways supports OSU’s mission to achieve research distinction and innovation. Instead of struggling to create a unified vision from too many disparate elements, aspects of innovation can be streamlined within each school; this can also provide a stronger foundation to reach out for interdisciplinary connections. One of OSU’s goals is significant and visible impact; with the separation of SAC into more clearly delineated schools, each academic program will be more overtly visible with greater potential for more significant impacts. This can also address the goal of transformative education; students will be able to easily find their home in distinct schools that more closely align with the names and emphases of their majors.
As stated earlier, the one change to existing degree programs would be the formal separation of the current Theatre Arts and Speech Communication options to separate Theatre out from Communication as a major. We anticipate no negative impact from this change. Instead, this allows the Theatre major to increase visibility and gain recognition as a stand-alone degree within the expanding arts milieu at Oregon State. There will not be any negative impacts on other OSU programs. The potential for positive impact on the departments within the schools, however, is clear. Clearer focus and unified school missions allow for energy to be directly channeled in effective ways, including fundraising/philanthropy efforts.
For SoC, the reorganization will create a specific focal point for communication across the colleges of Oregon State. There is demand across the university for communication course work and collaboration. By moving to a dedicated school, there are more visible and significant opportunities to provide access to communication theory, research, and skills across a number of organizations, not simply within CLA. At the same time, school level infrastructures are key to research productivity. Having leadership dedicated to advancing communication research will allow regular interaction with funding organizations such as NSF, NEH, and other program officers. A unified school focused on communication also allows for coherent external postures which are critical for fundraising and grant support. The most recent tenure-track hire is a specialist in organizational and environmental communication and our proposed expansions in strategic communication, the rhetoric of science, cultural analytics for public health, and virtual reality serve student interests and the State of Oregon. This school is also necessary to support upcoming communication graduate programs. The creation of the school would provide opportunities to more readily incorporate faculty from New Media Communications in graduate programs, to create new possibilities for emphases within the program, or even to consider developing another master’s program with specific emphasis on applied communication.
Scholarship in SoC, both current and future plans, works to address all four goals in OSU’s strategic plan, including emphasizing communication in the three signature areas articulated in the OSU Mission Statement: the science of sustainable earth ecosystems, health and wellness, and economic prosperity and social progress. Achieving transformative education and developing collaboration happens through competent communication. SoC will address these goals for OSU by starting with distinction and visibility for communication scholarship.
For SVPDA, the planned Arts and Education Complex will establish a visible, central location on campus, but the dedicated and focused leadership of a director is necessary for this school to flourish and for programs to meet their potential. Each program within the proposed SVPDA shares similar methods and desired outcomes for their students emphasizing experiential learning, creativity, entrepreneurship, and valuing and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, these arts-centric disciplines are all public-facing with numerous performances and exhibitions scheduled each year serving as crucial parts of a student’s educational experience. As a whole, a unified school with dedicated leadership and more focused infrastructure will be in a strong position to increase regional and national profiles for OSU, to secure grant and funding opportunities, and for OSU to pursue accreditation in national organizations such as NASAD (National Association of Schools of Arts and Design). Individual programs will also benefit from a centralized arts-focused leadership that can support the necessary hiring and retention of new Tenure Track faculty with dedicated research interests that align with OSU’s strategic plan, in the development of new degree programs such as Music’s BM (Bachelor of Music) and Graphic Design’s Minor, and in building new interdisciplinary opportunities and initiatives across campus.
As with SCM, SVPDA’s scholarship works to address all four goals in OSU’s strategic plan through the exploration and application of the arts emphasizing empathy and creativity and SVPDA’s ability to support OSU’s three signature areas can be fully realized when operating as a school with more resources and better focused leadership.
The change to separate SAC into two schools is taking existing programs and re-organizing them into different school structures. Since this is a structural change, not an overt content change of programs, this will not change the relationship any of these academic units have with other higher education institutions in Oregon. It is our hope that the two more unified and streamlined schools will be able to advertise, recruit, and fundraise more effectively.
Similarly to the previous response, because the change is structural and not programmatic, this should not have any negative impact on OSU’s relationship with other constituencies. If anything, allowing programs to flourish under a more focused leadership structure will help raise national and international profiles and lead to increased recruitment opportunities for each unit and school.
Communication programs are generally not independently accredited. Programs in SVPDA are currently not accredited, but programs in Art and Graphic Design have explored seeking accreditation for the past few years from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The reorganization will help meet numerous standards associated with the accreditation processes if/when they are formally undertaken.
The proposed course designator should have an identified purpose within the curricular structure of Oregon State University.
Responsibility for the integrity and oversight of the proposed course designator should be clearly identified.
Who will benefit from the new course designator, and what changes will result from its implementation.