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College of Sciences Update – Strategic Planning and Departmental Changes

Memo from the Provost

Date: May 10, 2013

To: University Leaders

From: Warwick A. Arden, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

Subject: College of Sciences Update – Strategic Planning and Departmental Changes

Just over a year ago, Chancellor Woodson announced NC State’s plan to replace the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences with a more comprehensive College of Sciences. And on July 1, 2013, it becomes official, with biological sciences from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and physical and mathematical sciences from the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS) transitioning into the new college. However, the July transition will only mark the beginning of changes in Sciences and CALS, as I expect that both colleges will continue to evolve in the coming months and years.

Since my last update in January 2013, work has continued in PAMS and CALS and on the implementation teams to ensure that the transitions in both colleges are as smooth as possible. Below I’ve included brief updates on strategic planning in the two colleges, details on three departmental changes and an overview of the work of the Communications, Development & Alumni Relations Implementation Team.

Strategic Planning Efforts

Sciences: The development of the first strategic plan for the College of Sciences is well underway.  The college contracted with Art & Science Group, LLC, a firm that specializes in strategic positioning for higher education institutions, and they have been carrying out their study since fall 2012.  The firm has now filed its report which documents their findings, makes recommendations about a competitive positioning platform for NC State in the sciences, and offers a 3-part strategy for action. You can find a summary of the report here.  The report provides a bold vision and a well-researched framework for the college strategic plan, and faculty are now engaged in developing specific actions to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the convergence of the sciences.  Departments and individuals have submitted proposals, which are being evaluated, synthesized and prioritized with a goal of presenting a plan by the end of June.

CALS: The strategic planning process began in the fall of 2012 and includes four phases - information, ideation, writing and implementation - with the ultimate goal of developing a robust and inclusive document that outlines the priorities of CALS. This strategic document will serve as the foundation for the college as a global leader in agriculture and life sciences.

The information phase (Dec 2012 – Feb 2013) included a series of listening sessions and the opportunity for online feedback that engaged a total of more than 1,000 stakeholders from across the state and resulted in the emergence of 15 strategic themes. The ideation phase (Feb – Mar 2013) focused on creating ideas to move CALS forward in each of the strategic theme areas. Also, during this time period, the strategic planning project team worked on the mission, vision and core values for the college.

CALS held two separate two-day workshops to complete the writing phase. Steering committee members evaluated the suggestions of the stakeholder groups and determined the college’s proposed core purpose, mission, core values and principles, and strategic goals. This information was then input into a survey which was distributed to key stakeholders and all faculty, staff and students within CALS for comment. After reviewing the suggestions, the steering committee evaluated all comments and set objectives and strategies to meet the college’s goals as part of the implementation phase. CALS will release its strategic plan soon and has scheduled a public forum on Monday, June 17 (2-3 p.m. in Bostian Hall, Room 3712) to discuss the strategic plan and college realignment.

Departmental Changes

The establishment of the College of Sciences, the elimination of the CALS departments of  Biology, Microbiology, Genetics and Toxicology and the subsequent realignment of faculty between the two colleges created the need for the formation of two new departments and the re-naming of one existing department, effective July 1, 2013. These proposed changes have been approved by Chancellor Woodson. The Board of Trustees was notified of this information on April 18-19, 2013.

  • Within Sciences, a Department of Biological Sciences is being created. While this department will initially include 44 tenured/tenure-track faculty transitioning from CALS, future investments in the biological sciences are critical to the success of the college and the university. An interim department head will be named shortly. A nationwide search for a permanent head will soon be underway.  >> More information on the creation of this department is available here or at
  • Within CALS, a Department of Applied Ecology is being created to support faculty working in the fields of ecology, fisheries, wildlife, aquaculture, environmental toxicology and conservation biology. Eight members of the Biology and Toxicology departments who will remain with CALS will join the new department. Dr. Harry Daniels will serve as the interim department head. >> More information on the creation of this department
  • Also within CALS, the existing Department of Plant Biology is being renamed the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology to signify the addition of eight faculty members (5 from Microbiology and 3 from Genetics). Dr. Margo Daub will continue to serve as head of this department. >> More information on the departmental name change

Implementation Team Update

The Communications, Development & Alumni Relations Implementation Team, chaired by Executive Director of Gift Planning Steve Watt, has been meeting since January to discuss advancement issues related to the creation of the new college. Three subcommittees were formed. Alumni Relations, chaired by Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni Relations Benny Suggs, focused on the future college affiliation of alumni and donors for programs moving from CALS to Sciences and developing a means for alumni to indicate their primary college affiliation. Development and Foundation Administration, chaired by Associate Vice Chancellor and Treasurer Mary Peloquin-Dodd, addressed the transition of the PAMS Foundation to the College of Sciences Foundation and the movement of North Carolina Agricultural Foundation funds to the new college foundation; reviewed scholarship administration and identified scholarship funds that were to move from one foundation to the other; and considered other issues related to the financial and Advance systems. Communications, chaired by Associate Vice Chancellor for University Communications Brad Bohlander, assisted in the development of alumni communications for the college transition and outlined plans for the rollout of a broad communications plan to launch and promote the College of Sciences, which includes a new website to replace the current PAMS and interim Sciences site on July 1.

Next Steps

I plan to provide one last update on the College of Sciences in June which should include details on an internal campus event to mark the official establishment of the college in July. A larger event to include returning students and our external constituents will be planned for the fall semester.

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