CSU Restructuring Focuses on Arts, Nursing, Departments

COLUMBUS, Ga. — In a continuing effort to increase quality and focus on strengths, Columbus State University’s academic structure now includes a School of Nursing, new departments and plans for a new college devoted to the arts.

Creating a College of the Arts will allow the university to focus a brighter spotlight on three academic departments that are already shining. The college would encompass the Schwob School of Music and the departments of Art and Theatre, all housed downtown on CSU’s RiverPark campus.

An arts consultant was in town this week to help map a strategy for the new college, which should be in place on July 1. The three departments are currently housed in the College of Arts and Letters, so some issues that still need to be settled include governance, budget, staffing and student advising. The College of the Arts will be the university’s sixth college, adding to the College of Education, D. Abbott Turner College of Business, University College, College of Science and College of Arts and Letters.

“Every great strategy has a commensurate structure that allows the organization to accomplish its key objectives,” said Tim Mescon, president of Columbus State University. “This new college, school and departments allow us to create an exciting new structure that makes our goals imminently attainable.”

Turning what was previously a nursing department into a School of Nursing was the natural progression of the program, said College of Science Dean Glenn Stokes. Originally, the university offered a two-year degree in nursing, and the program has grown to become one of the most popular baccalaureate programs on campus.

“As the university grows and puts more emphasis on graduate programs, one of the areas we really want to emphasize is nursing,” Stokes said. “The next logical step for them is a master’s program to meet the community’s needs. The concept of a school is more conducive to having that kind of dual mission of undergraduate and graduate education.”

The three new departments in the College of Science are the Department of Health Science, the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Earth and Space Science.

Each comes about through a reorganization of existing academic units. Stokes said the new departments respond to community and student needs, and also allow each a better opportunity to stand out.

“We’re working toward the development of more nationally recognized programs,” he said. For instance, for the Department of Chemistry to become nationally accredited by the American Chemical Society, it had to be its own department. It was previously part of a department of chemistry and geology. The Department of Chemistry will be chaired by Floyd Jackson.

Geology will be folded into a new Department of Earth and Space Science, which will be chaired by astronomy professor Shawn Cruzen, also the executive director of CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center.

The department will offer a new degree in Earth and space science, approved last week by the Board of Regents.

“Phasing out geology and developing a degree program that encompasses several different areas leverages our assets with the center and our geology program, and forms a bridge the between the two,” Stokes said. “We’re also looking at a degree track for school teachers because they are in such demand.”

Also in demand are health care workers, thus the new Department of Health Sciences, chaired by Tara Redmond. She will lead the department toward national accreditation and the development of a master’s in public health, Stokes said.

And in the College of Education, the Department of Counseling, Educational Leadership and Professional Studies is now the Department of Counseling, Foundations, and Leadership. But a piece of that department and a piece of the Department of Teacher Education were splintered off to create the new department of Physical Education and Exercise Science.