College of Design set for structural redesign

Alexandra Smith

The College of Design is making big changes to its departments.

The college will be going from four departments to seven. The original four programs were architecture, graphic design, industrial design and interior design. Students said this left out a large chunk of student interests.

“The reorganization will give students administrators with more expertise in their departments.” said Luis Rico-Gutierrez, dean of the College of Design.

The reorganization is being done to better students’ educations and has been well received. It had unanimous support at the Faculty Senate meeting Feb. 14.

As soon as the reorganization is finished, the new seven departments will be: architecture, community and regional planning, graphic design, industrial design, integrated studio arts, interior design and landscape architecture.

The reorganization should be taking place next fall if all goes as planned. The only thing left to do is a new governance document with a committee, which will be written and agreed on, Rico-Gutierrez said.

Then, the reorganization will need to be phased in, which should be done by the end of fall. The phasing in or introduction semester this next fall will give the Board of Regents time to make sure the new departments are acceptable.

The plan began a year-and-a-half ago. It was based on students’ input and proposals. The majority agreed that something needed to be done. The reorganization plan then went to a university vote last September.

Rico-Gutierrez said the reorganization also should save money because the departments that were added were already programs. Now they have faculty who are specific to the departments, rather than faculty from other departments doing the work for all the programs.

“Almost all the programs were separate and accredited anyway. Now they are their own department and have their own director,” said Elizabeth Hoffman, executive vice president and provost.

The new departments are expected to enhance the curriculum. The reorganization also will support more structure within the school.

“The reorganization will better education and improve teaching,” said Susan Bradbury, associate professor of community and regional planning.

Bradbury is one of the faculty members overseeing the reorganization.

The College of Design already had supportive, strong programs, but a lot of programs were not giving students enough attention because they were in too broad of a department.

“Architecture is a huge program,” Hoffman said. “Now, by making it architecture and then landscape architecture, it gives a lot more students their independent voice.”

The reorganization was worked on by a large group of people who all had different interests.

“We all worked very well together with everyone engaging and participating” Bradbury said.