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Marshall reorganizing academic structure

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University has committed to a major academic restructuring plan that will affect several colleges and leadership positions.

The moves, according to a news release from Marshall, will reduce administrative personnel costs. The financial savings, which are estimated to be at least $350,000 in salaries and benefits, will help soften the blow of what is expected to be a decrease of $11 million in state appropriations during the next two budget years.

The changes affect the colleges of Fine Arts and Education, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and the Graduate School of Education and Professional Development.

On July 1, the Graduate School of Education and Professional Development and existing College of Education units will combine programs to become a new comprehensive College of Education. Teresa Eagle, the current dean of the graduate school, will become dean of the new College of Education.

Robert Bookwalter, currently dean of the College of Education, will become interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, effective June 1. And David Pittenger, the current dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will assume the interim role of a new position -- associate vice president and dean of graduate studies -- that are held now by Rudy Pauley and Donna Spindel.

Pauley will retire as associate vice president for Outreach and Continuing Studies, effective June 1. Spindel, dean of the Graduate College, is retiring Aug. 16.

Provost Gayle Ormiston said the moves eliminate two senior administrative positions without reducing student support services or affecting program curricula.

Staff members in the Graduate College and College of Education will continue in their current roles. Administrative leadership of the university's physical facilities in South Charleston, Point Pleasant, Beckley and Teays Valley, for which Pauley was responsible, will be provided through existing staff at the South Charleston campus.

Matt Turner, the university's chief of staff, stressed that the retirements were planned and simply opened up the door to look at streamlining some programs to better serve students and eliminate some administrative costs.

"It was an ideal opportunity for them to use these retirements to streamline a little bit without laying anybody off," Turner said. "It just made a lot of sense on a lot of levels."

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications will join the School of Music and Theatre and the School of Art and Design, which are currently within the College of Fine Arts, to form a new college, the name of which has not been announced. The Marshall Artists Series also will reside in the new college. That takes affect July 1.

Don Van Horn, current dean of the College of Fine Arts, will remain in the same position. He has formed a committee of journalism and arts faculty to develop policies and procedures, as well as to recommend a name for the new college.

Janet Dooley, currently interim dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, will become director of the school and also will serve as associate dean of the new college.

David Castleberry, currently interim director of the School of Music and Theatre, will return to his previous role as associate dean on July 1. Byron Clercx will continue as director of the School of Art and Design.

"I see tremendous opportunities for our students in progressive new programs ranging from advanced web design, photography, social media, digital media, graphic design and advertising," Van Horn said. "We will continue our renowned tradition of training outstanding journalism and public relations professionals, visual and performing artists and arts scholars, while capitalizing on degree programs that respond to rapidly evolving fields in digital communications.

"We are in a constantly changing era of digital communications and Marshall University is creating an entirely new model that I strongly believe will make us one of the most outstanding programs in the nation," he said.

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