Today, Indiana University of Pennsylvania announced a restructuring of its six academic colleges and academic programs and creating areas of focus, part of an ongoing plan designed to create a stronger, more student-centered university.
“The IUP of the future will continue to prepare students for life and a successful career, not just a job; expose students to new ideas; challenge them with learning experiences outside the classroom, such as research from IUP’s strong doctoral programs; and help them to become critical thinkers and lifelong learners through a strong general education core and a diverse offering of subjects,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said.
“We also know that the IUP of the future needs to become more nimble in meeting workforce demands and delivering on students’ areas of interest,” he said.
“It’s no secret that IUP, like many colleges and universities in the nation, faces financial challenges—and in this region, critical demographic issues because of a continuing decline in high school graduates,” he said. “Then, add in an international pandemic.
“We had two choices: allow the fates and other external forces to define our future; or dig deep, make hard decisions, and work together to create our own destiny. We’ve chosen that second option, to reimagine IUP and become IUP NextGen, student-centered and forward looking,” Driscoll said.
As part of planning for IUP NextGen, Driscoll announced Wednesday that IUP’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Fine Arts will be combined into a college focused on the creative arts, humanities, and design.
“This action creates new synergy and energy for all of the departments and programs within these two colleges,” Driscoll said. “A rising tide lifts all boats: by combining resources, all of the departments and programs are stronger. Students benefit with streamlined coursework and collaboration between departments, and it’s a more logical organization for ongoing and for prospective students.”
Other plans for restructuring of the academic colleges and programs are not yet finalized, but within this work, some programs and academic departments will be merged, discontinued, and/or placed into moratorium; some academic departments may also be moved among colleges.
Changes would take effect in fall 2021.
“For any students in programs that may be discontinued, we pledge to develop ‘teach out’ plans to allow them to finish their IUP degrees with the quality educational experiences we have promised to them,” Driscoll said.
The foundations of the plans for IUP NextGen include:
academic quality at all levels
making every student a priority
strengthen IUP’s research, scholarship, and creative activity through master’s and doctoral programs, including seizing IUP’s doctoral research mission
maintain a commitment to providing a well-rounded education through a strong general education core curriculum
provide affordable, accessible, and efficient programs with technological delivery and fast completion options
offer experiential education, “more than a degree” through internships, service learning, mentored work experiences, leadership and teamwork skills, research opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and access to international education.
Driscoll said that IUP NextGen, and investing in IUP’s future, does mean investing in some disciplines more than others as areas of focus.
IUP’s areas of focus will be science, math, computer science, pre-engineering and engineering; allied health disciplines; behavioral health; business; and proactive cross-disciplinary and multi-thematic areas built on a strong general education core resulting in well-prepared leaders who can transform the world.
These selected areas of focus have been determined from student demand, employer demand, and demonstrated areas of IUP strength.
“We also are committed to providing our students with the tools and experiences to be champions for inclusion, diversity, and equity and an appreciation for social responsibility,” he said. “There are many details still being determined, and members of the university community will have a chance to engage in that design work.”
In May, IUP notified its faculty union leadership that faculty furloughs were possible, following the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty union contract requirements. Any faculty workforce decisions will be in response to these strategic plans for IUP’s future.
Since 2014, IUP has reduced its faculty workforce by more than 150 positions, mostly through attrition.
“Now that we have more clarity about what programs will continue, we can’t delay any longer in making personnel decisions; our plans will be used to guide our financial and workforce decisions. This is the structure in which we are creating our footprint for now and for the future,” he said.
“We have set high goals for ourselves, as well as an expectation of accountability for our work.”
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences currently includes the departments of Anthropology, Economics, English, Foreign Languages, Geography and Regional Planning, History, Journalism and Public Relations, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, and Sociology. It also is home to these centers, institutes, and area studies: Frederick Douglass Institute for Intercultural Research; Mid-Atlantic Research and Training Institute for Community and Behavioral Health; Center for Northern Appalachian Studies; Asian Studies program; Latin American Studies program; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies program; Pan-African Studies program; Sustainability Studies program; and Women’s and Gender Studies program.
The College of Fine Arts includes the departments of Art and Design; Music; and Theater, Dance, and Performance and programs including the Lively Arts, Arts Path, University Museum, and Kipp Gallery.