September 27, 2010

University Merges Departments Across Campuses to Improve Collaboration

Print More

This fall, the University merged several departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences by unifying branches located on the Ithaca and Geneva campuses to create four new multi-campus departments. Sister programs in entomology, food sciences, plant pathology and horticulture on both campuses have been combined into unified departments of entomology, food science, plant pathology and plant micro-biology and horticulture.

The changes -— finalized on July 1 — are intended to allow for improved collaboration between faculty of the two campuses, CALS Associate Dean Jan Nyrop said in a University statement.

Nyrop noted that resources of both campuses would be more readily available to all faculty under the new arrangement.

“When we looked at the number of faculty and staff in these various programmatic areas, they represented perhaps the largest concentration of personnel in each of these areas of nearly any place in the world, but it wasn’t fully coordinated,” Nyrop said, noting that the formal merger is the culmination of years of joint teaching and research.

“It really made sense to capitalize on the fact that the departments were already planning together and that the distinctions between the two locations were blurring a bit,” Nyrop said.

CALS administrators also hope the merger will create a more clearly defined academic persona for the departments that prospective students, researchers and the public can easily understand.

Prof. Susan Brown, horticulture, said she thought the overall professorial reaction was positive and the merger seems to be a logical move for the University to make.

“I think most of us feel that it’s a really positive step,” Brown said, noting that the sister departments have been collaborating for decades.

“Professors on the two campuses have very similar interests,” Brown added. She expressing confidence that the decision would enhance, rather than dilute, the academic strength of the horticulture department, as well as the other affected areas of study.

Original Author: Eliza LaJoie