New College Creation FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions will be updated during the process.
The College of Humanities and Public Affairs and the Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters are joining forces. The name of the new college is the Reynolds College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.
This opportunity results from President Smart’s call for transformation, and other conditions. These conditions include little significant academic realignment over the last few decades, campus readiness for realignment, a drop in enrollment, personnel changes, and a recognition that synergy already exists between the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and the Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters.
Protecting the humanities and arts, uplifting interdisciplinary work and collaboration in-play (academic programs, teaching and research collaboration, student success) across the two colleges, enacting administrative savings, and combining the colleges to make the third largest college at the institution allows us to reimagine, realign, and revitalize this part of the college structure.
As part of a larger transformation process announced by President Smart, the joining of the two colleges stems from a focus on realignment within academic affairs. The president’s expectations have been clear: decide with speed and conviction, adapt proactively, engage for impact, and deliver reliably. Operating from a position of strength, the president has challenged academic affairs to inject academic agility, revitalize, and transform – as well as adjust its budget by a projected $5 million in both cuts and reinvestments – to ensure long-term institutional success.
Missouri State University’s Transformation Plan, developing over the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 academic years, has yielded Academic Affairs invoking a Continuous Agility Process (CAP) – a systematic and ongoing process to keep academic affairs fresh, relevant, and market-savvy. CAP includes five workstreams and 11 outputs for 2022-23. One workstream includes addressing budget and realignment.
Organizational realignment, ongoing budget adjustments, and enrollment challenges are the norm across the higher education sector. For both realignment and budget purposes, a focus at MSU is to:
- Protect our academic core – agriculture, arts and letters, business, education, health and human services, humanities, natural and applied sciences, the graduate college, and the mission of public affairs.
- Protect filled faculty lines and, more holistically, faculty positions that serve the changing needs of our students.
- Address efficiency within academic administration. The Board of Governors has voiced its support of the transformation plan.
Judith Enyeart Reynolds is a naming designation that we will continue honoring and uplifting. We wish to protect both Humanities – bucking a trend across higher education – and the Arts. Public Affairs is an integral part of MSU’s mission and as such, we will ensure Public Affairs is embedded throughout all colleges.
The proposed new college becomes official July 1, 2023.
Dr. Shawn Wahl, current dean of the Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters, will serve as the leader. For the transition year, associate deans will be Dr. Pam Sailors and Dr. Jake Simmons.
We are thankful for the incredible service of the current dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs, Dr. Vic Matthews. This past August he announced his intent to retire at the end of this academic year. We honor his 39 years of service to MSU, including 13 as dean.
Little, if any. Courses will continue to be offered per the academic schedule, department locations will remain intact, faculty office locations will remain as is.
Signage and website information will change.
The combination of the two colleges will impact administrative structures and councils, budgets, etc. Faculty will retain control over the curriculum. Programs and courses will continue as is. The physical locations of departments and faculty workspaces will remain. For the 2023-24 academic year, departments will stay in-tact though there is a possibility of very limited changes at the department level in this phase.
As mentioned, the realigning of the two colleges into a new college formally goes into effect July 1, 2023.
Between January 5 and May 31, 2023, Deans Victor Matthews and Shawn Wahl will lead a transition team to prepare for launching the Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Humanities. The transition team is being asked to ensure the strengthening of faculty teaching, research, and service collaboration across the arts and humanities.
The transition team’s work will also include, for example, naming a cross-functional team, gathering stakeholder input from faculty and staff as well as support structures (e.g., Registrar’s Office, Marketing and Communication, Finance, HR, IT, IR, University Advancement, etc.), developing and executing a timeline of key steps, etc.
Yes, there will be further realignment.
Currently, we have seven colleges, about 45 departments, seven schools, and about 21 centers. The Deans’ Team is tasked with designing changes within the system to maintain and strengthen academic programs and streamlining the college/school/department structure.
The design and feedback timeline is from January through May of 2023, with a projected announcement of changes to come by mid-May. We project all changes will go into effect July 1, 2024.
Some revitalizing and realigning guidelines, to be solidified by the Dean’s Team over the next four weeks, initially include, (1) enhancing collaboration and reducing internal competition (this would include enhancing interdisciplinary opportunities related to curriculum, pedagogy, program development, research, and service); (2) aligning program offerings, academic structures, and incentives with areas of institutional distinctiveness (3) aligning instructional costs with student demand and avoiding program cuts; (4) making decisions based on the desired outcomes and connections to the long-range plan, not being person-dependent, (5) producing budget savings and thus contributing to a financially sustainable structure for the university, and (6) ensuring Public Affairs is embedded across all colleges. More guidelines may be added as needed.
We have already received informal feedback on opportunities, possibilities, and obstacles through in-person meetings and emails with and from faculty across the colleges.
The Deans’ Team, led by Dr. Mark Smith, will design a variety of input/ideation/feedback mechanisms (e.g., forums, surveys, facilitated meetings, conversations) to be enacted January through March 31 during the design phase for this further academic realignment. Based on this feedback, the Deans’ Team will develop options for further academic realignment, and we project campus feedback to be gathered on those realignment options from April 10-28.
Following analysis and a recommendation from the Deans’ Team, a final decision will be made by early-May with an announcement of the selected option coming via Clif’s notes projected by mid-May.
Please note other academic realignment – beyond colleges – will be taking place December 2022 through May 2023.
Based on continued feedback, work will continue on the development of college-level and support process level preparation planning for the full changeover to be effective July 1, 2024. Additionally, the Deans’ Team will articulate many planning and implementation steps prior to June 1, 2023.
The MSU culture of focusing on student success, academic excellence, and public affairs drives the success of the university. We wish to continue enhancing what we do and how we do it. We will continuously learn, grow, and show agility as an organization as we keep academic affairs fresh, relevant, and market-savvy. Culture is a collective responsibility as is embracing and carrying out continuous evolution and transformation.