Stephens College to form three new academic schools

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | 6:58 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Stephens College students might find themselves fitting into one of three new schools next fall. The college is creating the new academic schools in addition to the two already in existence.

According to a news release from the college, Stephens has created the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication, the School of Humanities and Sciences and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

The schools will join the School of Performing Arts, established in 2005, and the School of Fashion and Design, established in 2006.

Susan Bartel, who will be the dean for the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication, said the changes will affect administrators more than students, who already have relationships with the faculty in their programs.

The deans of the new schools will be current faculty members who have received tenure. Tara Giblin will become dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Leslie Willey will become dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

The additions will not change majors, courses or faculty. All current academic programs will still be available. The only difference will be that some majors will now fit into larger schools.

For example, Bartel said the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication will now include majors in business and marketing, public relations and advertising, integrated media and graphic design. The school also will offer an MBA and a master's degree in Strategic Leadership.

Putting several programs under the umbrella of one school allows the administrators of those departments to work together more closely, Bartel said.

"When you put together majors that are alike, or similar in some way, there is synergy and opportunity for growth," Bartel said. "Imagine what kind of new opportunities will emerge in the next few years."

Bartel said that while she and the other new deans work on administrative tasks, such as scheduling and obtaining grant money, the teachers' focus will continue to be on the students.

"Deans make an academic department function so the teachers can focus on continuing to develop those relationships with the students," Bartel said.

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