By ANDREW KATZ
COLLEGE PARK (March 24, 2010)—The University of Baltimore moved one step closer to establishing a public affairs college with approval Wednesday from the Education Policy Committee of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.
Meeting at the University of Maryland, College Park, UB President Robert Bogomolny presented the eight-member committee with the plans for the new college as part of a major reorganization of the university's liberal arts core. Representatives from other universities also proposed a series of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees for their respective schools.
Under the proposal, the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts will be renamed and split into two units: the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Public Affairs, which will be composed of faculty and degrees drawn from the liberal arts college.
It was the realization that the College of Liberal Arts was a "conglomeration of historical growth" that "led to the idea that we needed to separate some of our programs," said Bogomolny, noting that the "revolutionary" shift will allow the university to be "much more heavily engaged" with undergraduates.
An "overwhelming majority" of the college's Faculty Senate approved the restructuring plans in December.
The revamped College of Arts and Sciences will continue to expand its lower-division offerings and develop additional "edgy, interdisciplinary" programs," said Jeffrey Sawyer, interim associate dean at UB. Current liberal arts dean, Larry Thomas, will be the founding dean of the College of Public Affairs.
An organizational chart attached to the proposal detailed the ins and outs of the new college.
The new School of Health and Human Services will administer degrees in Human Services Administration and Health Systems Management, while the Schaefer Center for Public Policy will house the Center of Negotiations & Conflict Management.
The Division of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Forensic Studies will be renamed the School of Criminal Justice and offer the same degrees it does now.
"We were sort of hidden in Liberal Arts," said Debra Stanley, a professor and chair of the division. Stanley said the new college would "absolutely" make criminal justice and public service degrees more attractive for first-time freshmen and students already matriculating.
"It fits in with the mission of public affairs" and "really enhances the identity of the program," she added.
The fourth division, the School of Public and International Affairs, would administer degrees in Public Administration, Government and Public Policy and International Studies, which, along with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Sustainability and Human Ecology, was sanctioned by the Board of Regents in a rare conference call meeting on Feb. 12.
Don Haynes, associate professor and director of the International Studies program, said the changes might not be visible right away, but the advantages will prove beneficial in the future.
"There probably won't be much difference in the way students come in and out of programs or the way courses are delivered" right away, he said, but "over the long run, let's say 10 years from now, I think it'll have some impacts."
The plan still needs approval from the full Board of Regents.
The committee also unanimously approved proposals in Non-Profit Leadership, Nurse Practice and Contemporary Educational Leadership for Coppin State University, as well as a master's in Cybersecurity Policy for the University of Maryland University College and a bachelor's in Rehabilitation Psychology for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Capital News Service contributed to this report.