I am writing to comment on the discussion last Thursday and the accompanying vote at the College Council. Let me begin by indicating my gratitude to the College community for its strong support of the creation of six new departments. The creation of these departments follows a long period of consultation with faculty in the PEP and Business departments. I began these discussions shortly after assuming my current office. Immediately, it was clear to me that the Business faculty was extremely enthusiastic about both forming a School of Business and dividing the existing department into various disciplines. Later in the fall semester, Interim Dean Sussman indicated that the Political Science faculty and the Geography faculty wished to split off from PEP. In part, this was self-initiated and, in part, it was catalyzed by a self-study they had undertaken. When this request was discussed at the Institutional Planning Committee, questions were raised concerning the viability and resource requirements of the remaining Philosophy and Economics faculty in PEP. By the spring 2013 semester, these questions were resolved; all of the faculty members in Business and PEP voted without dissent to form new departmental entities along disciplinary lines.
I am aware that many of you remain concerned that the creation of these new departments will dilute the voices of faculty in the remaining departments and will threaten the liberal arts and sciences tradition of CSI. Change often brings with it such concerns and it is my responsibility as Interim Provost to ensure that this does not happen. At the Council meeting, several of you spoke passionately against both forming schools and creating new departments. I understand your passion. However, I am writing to assure you that I am committed to giving our students an education, not vocational training. While it is important to prepare our students to enter the work force, it is as, if not more, important to prepare them to live rich, rewarding, and meaningful lives. I have always been and remain committed to this goal. I will challenge our new schools to meet the highest standards of their professions while simultaneously providing their majors with a rich general education. I am convinced that we have the faculty, the will, and the vision to fulfill the Mission of CSI to offer a rich array of rigorous undergraduate- and graduate-degree programs to better meet our students’ educational and professional aspirations.
I appreciate the tenor of the campus discussion. I find it civil, thoughtful, and directed toward raising our standards and retaining our culture. I look forward to working with you as we continue to make CSI truly an exceptional center for higher learning. Have a productive summer.