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Education and Human Resources to merge

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 18 - January 25, 1996

Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen announced Monday the merger of the College of Human Resources and the College of Education. The new unit will be named the College of Human Resources and Education.

"Collaboration is inherent in defining the role of the land-grant university in the 21st century," Torgersen said. "We need to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and channel our expertise to work together to identify and meet the needs of the people of Virginia."

The mission of the newly formed college will reflect the College of Human Resources' commitment to enhance the quality of individual, family, and community well-being, as well as the College of Education's commitment to the improvement of educational policy and practice.

The merger will become effective July 1, 1996, with the transition slated for completion by July 1, 1998. Under the merger plan, the College of Education will continue the process of restructuring it began in 1994. Because both colleges are currently headed by interim deans, the search committee for a dean of the College of Human Resources will be expanded to provide for full participation from the College of Education.

"Over the next couple of years we will see a revolution in both the means and content of teaching and learning," Torgersen said. "This move will better position us to help integrate emerging technologies into the classrooms at both the university and secondary level."

Torgersen announced his decision to merge the College of Education with an existing college Nov. 8, 1995, and the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors endorsed the concept November 13. The details of the merger were worked out by a 15-member, university-wide committee headed by Provost Peggy Meszaros.

"This broadly representative committee discussed several options and concluded that the colleges of Human Resources and Education are most closely aligned in mission and subject matter, and that a merger of the two offers the most opportunity for developing innovative programs. This has been a collaborative process, and members of the committee worked tirelessly to develop an effective plan that we could bring President Torgersen," Meszaros said.

"Of the options available to us, a merger with Human Resources is the most preferable," said Wayne Worner, interim dean of the College of Education. "We look forward to building on our considerable past and current joint endeavors, as well as involving university faculty members in other disciplines in the vital topic of teaching and learning."

The Faculty Senate, after hearing reports of faculty meetings in the two colleges that endorsed the merger, passed a resolution supporting the action. The text of the resolution is as follows: "The Faculty Senate supports the decisions made by the faculties of the colleges of Education and Human Resources to merge the two colleges. Further, the Faculty Senate offers its assistance in planning and implementing the merger."

Tech's colleges of Education and Human Resources have collaborated on programs and projects for the past 25 years. These joint efforts include preparation of students for careers in elementary education, health education, counseling, and family and consumer sciences. In addition, the two colleges have jointly participated in research and evaluation of the teaching and learning process, and the establishment of adult-education programs for non-traditional students.

Among initiatives the new College of Human Resources and Education will participate in is Project VITAL, a plan to use emerging technology to enhance classroom instruction at both the secondary and university levels. Project VITAL, currently under consideration by the General Assembly, is a series of Virginia Tech initiatives to support the state's efforts to incorporate new technologies into teaching and transforming the learning process.

"We look forward to celebrating this merger ," said Janet M. Johnson, interim dean of the College of Human Resources. "This year is the celebration of 75 years for Human Resources and the 25th anniversary of the College of Education. Together we make 100 years of history on which to build collaborations never before possible."