Academic Structure

Building on the community-wide conversations and recommendations of the strategic planning process, the Academic Structure Group will explore ways to enhance interdisciplinarity in the educational mission of the School. It will assess our academic program to both establish a coherent vision for our academic offerings and respond to our enrollment decline. The group will:

  • Assess the organization of our academic departments and programs, keeping our core values and educational mission at the forefront of its work
  • Explore opportunities for new interdisciplinary programs, synergies, and structures through new combinations of intellectual and creative practices that build on existing faculty expertise
  • Consider areas where the School might reduce in order to prioritize new initiatives and expand others

Academic Structure Process

In the spring of 2021, the Academic Structure Group circulated an all-faculty survey in order to better understand the academic priorities of faculty, and a departmental questionnaire to catalyze conversations within academic departments about potential areas for collaboration and growth. The chair and a subset of the Academic Structure Group then met with the chair, graduate coordinator, part-time faculty liaison, and some senior administrative directors for each of 24 departments plus the Spine. Working with the results of the survey and from information gleaned from conversations with departments, the group identified several interdisciplinary thematic clusters or concentrations with widespread interest across the School.  The group then formed an "operational" subgroup from its membership to provide models for how those interdisciplinary concentrations might best be realized and what kind of departmental structure might work best for the School going forward. The subgroup will now work with the larger Academic Structure Group to discuss and refine those models, before they are presented to faculty for feedback and further refinement. Ultimately, any major structural changes to emerge from the group’s work would need to win approval from the academic steering committee, administration, and faculty business senate.

Academic Structure Timeline

  • Research and planning: spring and summer 2021
  • Initial recommendations: 2021-22 academic year

Academic Structure Membership

Chair: Shawn Michelle Smith

Lee Blalock
Assistant Professor, Art and Technology Studies
FBS Curriculum Committee / Assessment Steering Committee / Department Heads

Delinda Collier
Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, Art History, Theory, and Criticism
President’s Cabinet / Dean’s Cabinet / ARC Co-Chair / FBS Curriculum Committee / Department Heads

Paul Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Dean’s Cabinet / FBS Curriculum Committee / Department Heads / ARC Curriculum and Resource Share Subcommittee

Rebecca Keller
Professor, Adjunct, Art History, Theory, and Criticism
FBS Adjunct Senator / FBS Curriculum Committee / Part-Time Concerns / Handbook Committee / Department Heads / ARC Climate and Accountability Subcommittee

Shaurya Kumar
Associate Professor, Printmedia
Chair of Faculty / Dean’s Cabinet / Part-Time Concerns / Fiscal Affairs / Academic Steering Committee / Handbook Committee / School Climate Committee / Department Heads

Kristi McGuire
Professor, Adjunct, Visual and Critical Studies
FBS Adjunct Senator / Part-Time Concerns / Fiscal Affairs / Library and Special Collections Committee / Department Heads

Dwayne Moser
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies 
Dean’s Cabinet / Co-Chair of FBS Curriculum Committee / Department Heads / ARC Curriculum and Resource Share Subcommittee

Jefferson Pinder
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academic Affairs and Professor, Contemporary Practices / President’s Cabinet / Dean’s Cabinet / ARC Co-Chair / Fiscal Affairs / FBS Curriculum Committee / Workplace Accessibility and Accommodations Committee / Department Heads

Katrin Schnabl
Associate Professor and Chair, Fashion Design
Co-Chair of FBS Fiscal Affairs Committee / Department Heads

Gretchen Talbot
Dean of Administration, Budget and Planning 

Andrew Yang
Associate Professor, Liberal Arts
FBS Chair / Part-Time Concerns / Fiscal Affairs / Academic Steering Committee / Handbook Committee / School Climate Committee / Department Heads