by Tyler Hale
The University of Central Arkansas has announced the creation of a new college – the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
The new college is set to bring together disciplines currently housed in two separate UCA colleges. In an email to faculty, staff and students, Patricia Poulter, UCA provost and executive vice president of academic affairs, says the new college will bring together the departments in the Liberal Arts college and the Fine Arts and Communication college.
Currently, the English, History; Philosophy and Religion; Political Science; Sociology; Criminology; Anthropology; and Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures departments are housed in the Liberal Arts college. The Fine Arts and Communication college houses the Art, Music, Film, Theatre and Creative Writing departments as well as the School of Communication. According to the email, all of the departments are remaining intact for the foreseeable future.
“This exciting collaboration will result in new opportunities for greater student and faculty success, as well as increased administrative efficiencies and long-term sustainability,” Poulter writes in the email. “Bringing these two highly compatible colleges together is an effort to create a more unified approach to the arts and humanities at UCA. The new college will also increase opportunities for collaboration between different programs and among students and faculty.”
In an interview with Arkansas Money & Politics, Poulter said that the decision to merge the colleges was driven by efforts to drive student success, student retention and resource optimization. When looking at the two colleges, Poulter said UCA officials realized the level of overlap between the two colleges and the possibilities for interdepartmental collaboration.
It takes down any false barriers between departments,” she says. “It’s a functional decision that will help make us more interdisciplinary and collaborative.”
She also noted that the decision is part of a nationwide trend, combining arts, humanities and social sciences departments.
Poulter says the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences’ implementation will be effective July 1, 2020 with Tom Williams, the College of Liberal Arts dean, taking over as the new college’s dean.