After nearly a year of inves­ti­ga­tion and dis­cus­sion within Northeastern’s aca­d­emic com­mu­nity, the Office of the Provost released a white paper today rec­om­mending a reor­ga­ni­za­tion of the Col­lege of Arts and Sci­ences and the Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice. The Fac­ulty Senate will be dis­cussing the rec­om­men­da­tion at an upcoming meeting.

The 15-​​page white paper pro­poses restruc­turing the Col­lege of Arts and Sci­ences into three dis­tinct col­leges: a Col­lege of Sci­ence, a Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties, and a Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design. The Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice would become a school within the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Humanities.

We believe that this restruc­turing is a nec­es­sary response to take advan­tage of the oppor­tu­ni­ties and address the needs that have arisen as a result of Northeastern’s trans­for­ma­tion to a more aca­d­e­m­i­cally selec­tive insti­tu­tion with a higher research pro­file,” said Uni­ver­sity Provost Stephen Director.

The new struc­tures will “better align aca­d­emic depart­ments that share edu­ca­tional and research goals and approaches, giving them more power to advo­cate for resources and project a clearer iden­tity to the out­side world,” said Director.

The white paper is the cul­mi­na­tion of a nine-​​month process to inves­ti­gate a pos­sible restruc­turing of the col­leges of Arts and Sci­ences and Crim­inal Jus­tice. The process began with the for­ma­tion of the Ad Hoc Com­mittee on the Orga­ni­za­tional Struc­ture of the Col­lege of Arts and Sci­ences and the Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice, in December 2008. The com­mittee released its report in late May, and the pri­mary out­lines of the restruc­turing came into sharper focus at a University-​​level retreat held in mid-​​June to dis­cuss the report.

The retreat, which included fac­ulty, stu­dents, depart­ment chairs, and staff from the col­leges of Arts and Sci­ences and Crim­inal Jus­tice, mem­bers of the Fac­ulty Senate Agenda Com­mittee, and other aca­d­emic leaders at the Uni­ver­sity, reached a con­sensus on the desir­ability of the three-​​college model.

Fol­lowing the retreat, the provost’s office con­tinued to meet with aca­d­emic leaders in the two col­leges, con­ducted fur­ther research to follow up on issues raised at the retreat, and devel­oped finan­cial models for the var­ious options.

The pro­posed realign­ment of the aca­d­emic dis­ci­plines includes the following:

  • In the College of Science: the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Earth and Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology; and interdisciplinary programs in Behavioral Neuroscience, Biochemistry, and Environmental Studies.
  • In the College of Arts, Media and Design: the School of Architecture and the School of Journalism; the departments of Art + Design, Music, and Theatre; and interdisciplinary programs in Interactive Media and Cinema Studies.
  • In the College of Social Science and Humanities: the departments of African American Studies, American Sign Language, Economics, English, History, Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Philosophy and Religion, Political Science, and Sociology and Anthropology; the School of Criminal Justice and the School of Public Policy And Urban Affairs; and interdisciplinary programs In Human Services, International Affairs, Law, Policy and Society, and Linguistics.

A broad variety of details need to be worked out, including the place­ment of the depart­ments of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Studies and Edu­ca­tion; the place­ment and orga­ni­za­tion of the School of Gen­eral Studies and unde­clared majors within the Uni­ver­sity; and a host of admin­is­tra­tive and logis­tical issues, ranging from space and staffing to stu­dent recruiting and admissions.

The white paper noted that the Uni­ver­sity would name task forces to address these next steps. North­eastern would also con­vene search com­mit­tees for the deans of the three new col­leges and for the new School of Crim­inal Justice.