Campus Times Staff

Reaction to President Thomas Jackson’s decision to go ahead this summer with a reorganization of the structure of The College has been overwhelmingly positive.

The change eliminated the separate Student Affairs Administrative Division and brought the Student Activities Office, the Department of Athletics and Recreation and Residential Life under the leadership of The College. The Division had been under the direction of Vice President and Dean Paul Burgett, who moved into the President’s Office July 1 to assume his new role as General Secretary and Special Adviser to the President.

“The change was simple,” Dean of The College William Green said. “When Dean Burgett moved to the President’s office to assume his new responsibilities, we integrated Student Affairs into The College.

“It is our view that the so called co-curricular activities ought to contribute as much to your education as what you take in school for credit,” he continued.

Before the Renaissance Plan, UR had three separate undergraduate colleges ? The College of Arts and Science, the School of Engineering and the School of Nursing ? operating on the River Campus.

The three colleges had their own separate Deans and their own separate budgets.

“In that structure, it made sense to centralize the River Campus student activities in the central administration,” Green said.

The Renaissance Plan seven years ago changed that. After the plan was implemented, the School of Nursing stopped admitting undergraduates and the School of Engineering incorporated itself back into The College.

“We went back from having three colleges to having one so the separated structure made little sense because the division of Student Affairs and The College with different administrative structures for the same student body,” Green said.

The previous structure had The College out-of-step with other institutions of a similar size, who have their student activities operations centralized under the college’s administrative structure.

Green credited The College’s coordinated and quick response to the tragedies on Sept. 11 as being a result of the new structure.

“The increased communication really helped us coordinate our response quickly across The College,” he said.

Department response

The change has been met with optimism from the various departments affected.

“It brings together all the people who have a significant role in the lives of students,” Director of Student Activites and Wilson Commons Rob Rouzer said.

Rouzer also heralded the change as “making good sense” for the goal of building a better college community.

He said that under the old structure Student Affairs or The College had to go through the central administration first to communicate with one another and ask each other for resources which “limited communication” and “left resources controlled by a third party.”

Others agreed with Rouzer.

Assistant Director Dan Watts, who is responsible for the Freshman Quad, said the structure couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It has opened up the lines of communication in this time of major transition,” he said. “Everything feels more coherent than it has in the past.”

Watts said that the various departments are still learning about each other however.

“We’ve had decades of being on separate sides of the house,” Watts continued. “So, now, each side needs to learn what the other side does.”

Director of Residential Life Logan Hazen said that ResLife has been working with The College more closely for four years since the Residential College Commission formed but he agreed with Watts assessment.

He heralded the change as being “a great success.” He highlighted the availability to more resources as the major positive change saying that it was much easier now to gain access to all the resources of the college.

The bottom line

Green said he is positive that the changes will continue have positive affects on The College as a whole.

“It enhances the ability for The College to create a first rate college experience [for students],” Green said, “and that’s what it is all about.”

Hildebrandt can be reached at thildebrandt@campustimes.org.



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