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CHARLESTON — The academic realignment project at Eastern Illinois University that was announced in April could be made official at the Board of Trustees meeting today. 

EIU officials announced the biggest shakeup of Eastern's colleges and departments in 25 years, and EIU officials are taking the next step seeking board approval over the specific changes detailed in the realignment plan.

Numerous changes to the current system are listed on the board's meeting agenda and will be up for a vote. They include:  

  • Creating the College of Health and Human Services
  • Creating the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Renaming and reconfiguring the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences to the Lumpkin College of Business and Technology 
  • Renaming and reconfiguring the College of Education and Professional Studies to the College of Education
  • Renaming the Center for Academic Services & Assessment to the Academic Success Center as part of the centralization of student success initiatives
  • Expanding the scope of the Office of Faculty Development and renaming it the Faculty Development and Innovation Center
  • Eliminating the Center for Academic Technology Services and reassign staff to ITS, Web Services, and the Faculty Development and Innovation Center based on area of expertise
  • Creating a School of the Arts to be housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences comprised of the independent Music, Theater, and Art and Design departments
  • Creating a unified School of Communication & Journalism comprised of the former departments of communication studies and journalism
  • Renaming the School of Continuing Education as the School of Extended Learning. The school will be housed in the College of Education.
  • Dissolving the School of Family and Consumer Sciences to create the new Department of Human Services and Community Leadership comprised of current broad area family consumer science degrees, family studies, aging studies and related teacher education programs. Independent programs in Hospitality and Nutrition and Dietetics will be housed in the Lumpkin College and the College of Health & Human Services. Additionally, the Fashion Merchandising and Design degree program will be housed in the Department of Art and Design.

As previously reported, these shifts were formulated to foster new program growth, a focus for the EIU administration in an effort to drum up more interest from prospective students.

EIU officials have been pivoting in attempts to focus majors toward what students are wanting. And in the past year, the university has seen positive numbers in the new student populations coming in.

Jay Gatrell, vice president for academic affairs, expects several programs to spring up from this move in the next two to five years as the new structure is implemented.

Gatrell had mentioned the addition of Occupational Therapy and Social Work as examples of possibilities for the future for which the university community has clamored.

Even if approved by trustees, the realignment will be a year-long process. 

The board is set to vote on these changes at 1 p.m. in the University Ballroom in the University Union in the center of campus. 

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Contact Jarad Jarmon at (217) 238-6839. Follow him on Twitter: @JJarmonReporter

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