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College of Interdisciplinary and Grad Studies Created at MU
Missouri Ag Connection - 05/17/2018

University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced Wednesday that he is launching an effort to establish a College of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies that will address the future needs of graduate education. The announcement follows a nearly yearlong process where a 17-person committee reviewed graduate programs campuswide and recommended a series of investment and collaboration opportunities as well as the inactivation of certain programs. Cartwright accepted 15 improvement plans and issued a decision to inactivate 12 graduate programs.

"We received innovative program improvement plans that will lead to the merging of departments, creation of innovative new programs and a significant push toward becoming the most collaborative institution in the world," Cartwright said. "That level of innovation is exactly what we must be doing. As society and technology evolve, so must the educational offerings and research productivity of Missouri's flagship, AAU university. To remain a leader in these areas, we must constantly review our offerings and research productivity. Our faculty have shown that we are those leaders."

Following the task force report issued in January, Cartwright and Interim Provost Jim Spain met with deans and the campus community to discuss the recommendations. Through those conversations, it became clear that a new college focused on interdisciplinary and graduate studies was needed. The new academic unit will be established during 2019.

"Our graduate programs and graduate students are a critical part of our educational mission," Spain said. "The new college will help lead the development of innovative curricula as MU attracts the top students from across the nation and around the world who are interested in graduate studies. I am excited to see how we can leverage this new college to promote and support collaboration across traditional academic disciplines, leading to discoveries that can tackle new and emerging grand challenges the state and nation will face."

Collaborative programs that expand opportunities for our graduate students are being developed. For example, the chemical engineering doctoral program is merging with biological engineering, and leaders and faculty within the French and Italian doctoral programs are working to combine with German and Russian Studies to create a new Department of International Studies.

Additionally, of the more than two dozen graduate programs recommended for inactivation in the task force report, Cartwright announced that 12 will be inactivated. Many of these inactivated programs are a result of degrees and departments that are merging, thus creating stronger interdisciplinary opportunities for students. For example, programs in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources will combine to create a comprehensive curriculum in the Division of Applied Social Sciences for students studying agricultural education, rural sociology, science and agricultural journalism, and agricultural and applied economics. Similarly, five programs in the School of Medicine are combining to form a new interdisciplinary program.

Other faculty leaders looked beyond MU as a way to increase the quality of education on campus. For example, faculty in the Department of Art History and Archeology have proposed to collaborate with other UM System campuses on a potential systemwide master's program.

Students enrolled in any of the programs slated for inactivation will be given an opportunity to finish.

Cartwright also said that campus leaders will work with faculty to develop a routine mechanism for reviewing academic programs on a regular basis. The mechanism will be consistent with the university's Collected Rules and Regulations.

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