Viewing: Reorganize School of Arts & Communication

Last approved: Tue, 19 Oct 2021 04:12:42 GMT

Last edit: Tue, 19 Oct 2021 03:35:40 GMT

Changes proposed by: Colin Hesse (School of Arts & Communication, Associate Professor) (hesseco)
Summer 2022
Create, Change or Terminate a College or Academic Unit
Reorganize School of Arts & Communication
Colin Hesse (School of Arts & Communication, Associate Professor)
Elizabeth Helman (School of Arts & Communication, Senior Instructor I)
Elizabeth Root (School of Arts & Communication, Associate Professor)
Marion Rossi (School of Arts & Communication, Associate Dean)
Academic Unit
College of Business - Undergraduate (ACTG, BA, DSGN, FIN, HM, MRKT, MGMT)
College of Business - Graduate (ACTG, BA, DSGN, FIN, HM, MRKT, MGMT)
College of Forestry
College of Education (AHE, COUN, ED, SED)
College of Engineering - Undergraduate (ENGR, OP)
College of Engineering - Graduate (ENGR, OP)
School of Marketing, Analytics & Design (DSGN, MRKT)
School of Writing, Literature & Film (AJ, ENG, FILM, WR)
School of Language, Culture & Society (all languages, ANTH, ASN, CSSA, ES, FCSJ, LING, QS, WGSS, WLC)
School of Psychological Science (PSY)
School of Public Policy (ECON, MPP, PS, PPOL, SOC)
School of History, Philosophy & Religion (EAH, HST, HSTS, PAX, PHL, REL, TCS)
Honors College (HC)
College of Liberal Arts (10)
School of Arts & Communication

Other Request


Early Alert


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.

Executive Summary

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.

Strategic Plan

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.

External Impacts

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.


New Subject Code



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.

Mass Subject Code Change


Change College Requirements

Belinda Sykes (Office of the Registrar, Catalog & Curriculum Coordinator) (belinda.sykes) (Thu, 04 Mar 2021 05:04:34 GMT): Ecampus and OSU Cascades have been included in workflow because programs taught at those locations will be reorganized if this proposal is approved. The Dean's approval has been provided in an attached letter. I have added more liaisons, including School of Marketing, Analytics & Design and all schools from College of Liberal Arts.
Nicole von Germeten (School of History, Philosophy & Religion, Director) (nicole.vongermeten) (Mon, 08 Mar 2021 20:50:49 GMT): SHPR supports this important and much needed reorganization of our CLA schools.
David Bernell (School of Public Policy, Associate Professor) (david.bernell) (Mon, 08 Mar 2021 21:03:15 GMT): Political Science supports this proposal. This new structure will serve CLA and its degree programs well.
Todd Pugatch (School of Public Policy, Associate Professor) (todd.pugatch) (Mon, 08 Mar 2021 23:45:01 GMT): Economics supports this proposal.
Wade Marcum (College of Engineering, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs) (wade.marcum) (Tue, 09 Mar 2021 16:11:13 GMT): I support
Nicole Kent (College of Forestry, Manager of Undergraduate Curricula & Advising) (nicole.kent) (Tue, 09 Mar 2021 16:18:18 GMT): No concerns.
Allison Hurst (School of Public Policy, Associate Professor) (allison.hurst) (Tue, 09 Mar 2021 17:13:02 GMT): No objections.
Erika Wolters (School of Public Policy, Summer Session/Non-Teaching) (erika.wolters) (Tue, 09 Mar 2021 19:43:11 GMT): No objections from Public Policy
Sue Helback (College of Education, College Coordinator) (sue.helback) (Wed, 10 Mar 2021 01:44:10 GMT): The College of Education has no objections.
Susan Bernardin (School of Language, Culture & Society, Director) (susan.bernardin) (Wed, 10 Mar 2021 18:15:26 GMT): I support this reorganization proposal.
Susan Rodgers (School of Writing, Literature & Film, Professor, Associate Dean, Honors College) (susan.rodgers) (Wed, 10 Mar 2021 23:53:21 GMT): No concerns from Honors College. I support.
Paul Wanke (School of History, Philosophy & Religion, Senior Instructor I) (paul.wanke) (Tue, 06 Apr 2021 16:49:00 GMT): Looks very thorough, seems to make sense - one question - will the benefits of this split be equal between the two new schools?
Marion Rossi (School of Arts & Communication, Associate Dean) (mrossi) (Wed, 07 Apr 2021 17:51:34 GMT): In response to Paul's question, very much so. And the split is desired by both sides/all units. Reasons for above answers: 1) both sides are negatively impacted by the size of the school and its administrative unwieldiness; 2) the burgeoning of the arts by way of space and programs and focus in the past few years has been good for them but has also taken some focus from the COMM side; this split allows COMM to grow in its own right w/o being overshadowed by the arts; 3) the theoretical connection between the two sides, while strong, has not played out in practice and collaboration; 4) giving COMM room to operate more closely to its own roots and create its own niche will allow it some successes and attention that the large school has not. MOR
Ashleigh Anderson (College of Liberal Arts, Head Academic Advisor) (ashleigh.anderson) (Wed, 07 Apr 2021 19:50:32 GMT): Rollback: Marion mentioned a small name change to SDVPA. CLA curriculum comm will approve when rolled back to us.
Colin Hesse (School of Arts & Communication, Associate Professor) (colin.hesse) (Wed, 07 Apr 2021 20:22:24 GMT): Changed the name of one of the new schools to the School of Visual, Performing, & Design Arts (SVPDA). Changed all references to the school in the proposal to reflect this name change.
Colin Hesse (School of Arts & Communication, Associate Professor) (colin.hesse) (Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:34:42 GMT): Added new documentation showing College of Business support with minor name change on the Arts side - now the School of Visual, Performing, and Design Arts (SVPDA).
Amy Bourne (College of Business, Senior Instructor II) (amy.bourne) (Thu, 15 Apr 2021 14:02:18 GMT): Rollback: The Budget and Fiscal Committee is ready to approval this proposal but we have a few questions. If you do not mind addressing them we can re-evaluate and approve. First question -- is the marketing appropriate (or enough)? Will you guys need to implement a full marketing campaign to recruit new enrollment to the two schools. Second, is there additional cost of capital expenditures for renovation of offices, and space renovation? You guys might be using existing space but we were curious if the capital budget was enough for the plans. Thank you.
Colin Hesse (School of Arts & Communication, Associate Professor) (colin.hesse) (Thu, 15 Apr 2021 23:30:43 GMT): Good questions (this is my response to the two questions posed by the Budget and Fiscal Committee). 1. We are not really planning a lot around extra marketing of the two schools, since we are not adding new programs to either school. All programs will continue to engage in marketing and recruitment around those programs (e.g., for Art, Theatre, or New Media Communications). However, we are not immediately planning on devoting a lot of new resources around marketing the schools themselves (at least, this hasn't been the mindset either at the college level or at the school level). 2. On the Arts side, this is a little bit up in the air since we are already planning on the Arts having a wonderful new space with the Performing Arts Centre, and thus the existing spaces are already being modified or people being moved surrounding that facility. On the Comm side, we are not currently planning on renovations DUE to the move, but I think that there will be conversations at the college level regarding both main Comm spaces (both Shepard and Snell Hall) at some point. Again, I think those conversations would happen regardless of this proposal, which is why we aren't putting those as necessary costs of the school split. I hope that these answers provide some clarity as to our thoughts revolving around those two questions, and please feel free to reach out with other questions you might have.
Paul Wanke (School of History, Philosophy & Religion, Senior Instructor I) (paul.wanke) (Thu, 13 May 2021 18:16:19 GMT): Approve pw
Dorthe Wildenschild (School of Chemical, Biological & Environmental Engineering, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs) (dorthe.wildenschild) (Thu, 27 May 2021 17:59:04 GMT): no concerns
JoAnne Bunnage (University Accreditation, Director) (joanne.bunnage) (Tue, 15 Jun 2021 20:24:08 GMT): This is an internal reorganization that does not need to be reported to the NWCCU. JB approves
Belinda Sykes (Office of the Registrar, Catalog & Curriculum Coordinator) (belinda.sykes) (Tue, 19 Oct 2021 03:35:40 GMT): As this change has an impact on programs and courses in Banner and the Catalog, it is considered curricular in nature and therefore the Catalog Year Policy applies. As the Board of Trustees approved the proposal after May 1, the effective term must be the start of next academic year, Summer 2022.
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