Rutgers Preparatory School '93 Somerset N.J. The University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to eliminate the American Civilization and Regional Science Departments in January, after a semester of arguments between the faculty of the respective departments and the administration. The decision to eliminate the Am Civ and Regional Science Departments was proposed by School of Arts and Sciences Dean Rosemary Stevens, endorsed by Interim Provost Marvin Lazerson and Interim President Claire Fagin and approved by the Trustees' Academic Policy Committee. The closings take effect June 30. Stevens also proposed to cut the Religious Studies Department along with the other two, but put off the decision after related problems. After her announcement recommending the closures, the chairpersons of the affected departments approached the Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility in October, which reviewed the dean's actions in handling the matter. In December, the committee and its chair, Chemistry Professor Madeleine Joullie, concluded the dean had handled her recommendations properly with regards to the American Civilization and Regional Science Departments. But the committee decided to postpone making a final report on Stevens' handling of the recommendation to cut Religious Studies, citing the complexity of the department's case against Stevens. Citing a lack of time to review Religious Studies' case before this past winter break, the committee was unable to determine whether the procedure Stevens used to cut the department was within University guidelines. Without the decision, a recommendation to cut the department was not made to the Trustees. Instead, a Religious Studies Task Force, headed by Public Policy and Management Professor Emeritus Anita Summers, was created to review the study of religion at the University and to decide "what is the best possible way to teach religion" at the University, Stevens said early in the spring semester. In its conclusion on the Am Civ and Regional Science Departments, the committee found that Stevens did not violate University procedures. It concluded she followed a memorandum about department closings, circulated by former Provost Michael Aiken in 1991. Because it felt the University lack ed a proper code of procedures concerning departmental closure, the Faculty Senate Committee on the Faculty released a Statement on Department Closings in late April. The statement revolves around more consultation between the administration and departments to be cut, stressing that related departments be continually informed of their situation, especially before the decision to cut them is made by the dean. "The issue was whether proper procedures had been followed by [Dean Rosemary Stevens]," Auerbach said in May. "We realized the need to clarify what proper procedures are." Stevens said the decision to add the Faculty Senate's statement to departmental closing procedure will be up to Provost-elect Stanley Chodorow when he arrives at the University in July.Comments powered by Disqus
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