Archive for Thursday, February 25, 1993

EDUCATION MERGER DRAWS MIXED VIEWS

February 25, 1993

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Kansas University faculty lined up Wednesday to challenge the administration's plan to merge two departments in the School of Education.

Merger of the department of counseling psychology and the department of educational psychology and research was one change proposed by KU officials following a review of the university's 216 academic programs.

"I feel the reorganization is more costly than beneficial," Robert Hohn, professor of educational psychology and research, told a KU committee appointed to evaluate the proposal.

He said the merger would require adjustment of departmental policies, rewriting of promotional materials and creation of new faculty relationships.

That effort would be "wasted," he said, because there was no guarantee the quality of work done by faculty or students would improve.

E.P. Johnson, professor of educational psychology and research, said KU administrators hadn't provided a strong rationale for the merger.

"I THINK THE programs operate quite independently," he said.

The departments share little more than the word psychology in the name, said Edward Heck, professor of counseling psychology.

Dave Shulenburger, acting vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the goal was to consolidate academic operations and reallocate scarce resources.

The merger would eliminate the need for one department chairman and free up that faculty member to teach more courses, he said.

Nona Tollefson, professor and chair of the educational psychology and research department, said the merger would allow more collaboration among faculty.

Tollefson is a member of the review committee, but temporarily excused herself from the committee to testify in support of the merger.

Combining the departments would create a department with 20 faculty, she said. That larger department would have a stronger voice in the university's decision-making process, she said.

The KU committee was appointed to evaluate the recommendation and write a report by March 15 that accepts, rejects or modifies the proposal.

KU Chancellor Gene Budig will draft the final list of program adjustments and submit it to the Kansas Board of Regents, which ordered KU and other state universities to conduct program reviews.

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