New faculty in the works

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By Michael Duncan

Ryerson could see an independent faculty of science within the next couple of years, depending on the outcome of a proposal by a committee consisting of Ryerson faculties looking into academic restructuring.

The current faculty of science, amalgamated into the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture, and Sciences, could splinter from FEAS after a report released by the Provost’s Commission on Academic Structures recommended the creation of a separate faculty of science.

“The faculty of science was the number one recommendation out of the committee,” said Provost and Vice President Academic, Alan Shepard.

“It’s a grassroots thing,” said Maurice Yeates, the former dean of graduate studies who is heading the committee. “It came from the faculty in each department, they voted for it and each one sent the motion to the provost.”

The faculties involved are the department of computer science, the department of mathematics, the department of biology and chemistry and the department of physics.

The idea for a faculty of science first arose in 2007 when Ryerson’s Office of the Provost and Vice Academic were developing Ryerson’s current academic plan called “Shaping Our Future”.

“In the consultations that we had which were really broad across campus we heard repeatedly from a number of folks, faculty staff and students that they wanted a faculty of science,” said Shepard.

“A faculty of science is quite a normal thing to have,” said Yeates.

The committee will begin working on the proposal in mid-October, and it is expected to be completed and delivered to the Provost Alan Shepard during the winter 2011 semester.

“We will probably be going forward with it but it remains to be seen when or how, we’re waiting on the report basically to give recommendations,” said Shepard.

“The proposal would come first to senate for consideration sometime in the winter, and then it would come to the board of governors for considerations of funding the proposal.”

It is too early to decide, however, whether the development of a new faculty could bring new science programs to Ryerson.

“Just because there’s a faculty of science, I don’t know which synergies it will create,” said Yeates. “But they have new programs that are developing all the time”

The proposal will outline items such as curriculum issues, human resources, and physical space needs, among other issues.

“The report is to try and articulate what it would look like to have two separate faculties— one of engineering and architecture and one of science. So it would be premature of me to say what they are going to look like,” said Shepard.

Photo: Jennifer Cheng

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