Council chooses four-division format

organization-option-3By KARINA DUNN

The organization of the college’s academic programs will shift to a four-division format in the fall.

Michael Gutierrez, executive vice president of academic affairs, said the new divisions will be Arts and Communications, STEM, Career Tech and Social Sciences.

The removal of the College Readiness and Mathematics division allowed for the addition of a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math division and the expansion of the current Arts, Language and Literature division. Employees in College Readiness will take on new roles in other divisions.

Gutierrez said in a campus-wide email that the changes “will create opportunities for faculty, staff and administrators to collaborate in different and creative ways.”

A forum was held in early February, allowing audience members to comment on the pros and cons of the three proposed models.

Discussions about reorganizing academic programs at Eastfield have been ongoing for the past year. Collaborative efforts among faculty and administrators produced the three options.

After receiving input from faculty, staff and administrators, Gutierrez recommended that the executive council adopt Option 3, the four-division option. It was approved on March 4.

Changes include shifting computer science and all math courses to the new STEM division. This grouping aligns with the statewide and national push to create more STEM students.

Arts and Communications will pick up developmental reading and writing courses as well as digital media and sign language.

The four-division plan will “enable discipline alignment and departmental cohesion and will give students even more dynamic opportunities for success, achievement and completion at Eastfield College,” Gutierrez said.

Executive Dean Gretchen Riehl of Science, Physical Education and Athletics believes her new division promotes student success by concentrating similar disciplines.

“The sooner you connect students to who they want to be or to people doing what they want to do, the more successful they’ll be,” Riehl said.

The changes will double the size of the Science, Physical Education and Athletics division. Marilyn Turner, an administrative assistant in College Readiness, will move to the STEM division to help with the increased workload.  While it’s too early to know if more faculty or space will be needed, Riehl is excited to expand.

“The faculty members coming [to the division] are really stellar people and have the good of students at heart,” she said. “There may be road bumps, but we’ll get through it.”

Executive Dean Ricardo Rodriguez of College Readiness and Mathematics will take on new duties at the college, while Associate Dean Judith Dumont and secretary Neyra Balk will join the Arts and Communication division under Executive Dean Rachel Wolf.

Wolf hopes the teamwork and conversations among faculty will continue under the new organization plan.

“If people are working together, collaborating and engaged with one another, they’ll be the same with students,” she said.

Gutierrez said he is excited to see the new direction the college is taking.

“I know that Eastfield is no stranger to innovation, so I am especially pleased that so many embraced this change,” he said.

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