January 23, 2010 in City

EWU merges colleges to meet budget

Move allows elimination of two dean positions
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Eastern Washington University expects to save about $500,000 a year by merging four academic colleges starting this summer.

The decision to merge the College of Arts and Letters with the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences with the School of Social Work and Human Services is an answer to ongoing budget cuts by the state, university officials said.

The change helps address the $26 million cut for the 2009-11 biennium, said Dave Meany, a university spokesman. Additional cuts could come during this legislative session.

Most of the university’s savings will come from eliminating two dean positions. Jim Perez, interim dean of the School of Social Work and Human Services, will retire on June 30. Alan Coelho, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, decided he wanted to go back to teaching.

Faculty and staff from the colleges will be reorganized, but that will come later. Names of the consolidated colleges are also yet to come.

Will the merger result in layoffs? “We can’t say for certain,” Meany said.

Raphael Guillory, president of the Faculty Organization and a professor, said the faculty senate endorsed the decision.

“We felt that right now, because of the budget crisis, the consolidation was going to take place with or without our consent,” Guillory said. “We endorsed it because it was going to cut administration and it would protect instruction and faculty jobs.”

Professors from the merging colleges have mixed reactions, Guillory said. Some think there will be collaboration while others don’t like it.

But most realize “this was done out of necessity,” Guillory said. “They are willing to adapt.”

While the four colleges will come under two deans, officials said the students likely will not notice the difference. Each school will stay in a separate building, and classes are expected to stay basically the same.

The College of Science, Health and Engineering and the College of Business and Public Administration will remain unchanged.

Said Meany: “We wish we could say we’ve realized all the cuts we are going to make, but that’s not a reality.”


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