Dear Campus Community,
Your hard work and resolve as we navigate the unparalleled disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic are truly appreciated. However, much work remains for our campus community.
As President Edwards has stated numerous times over the last few months, COVID-19 has significantly exacerbated our underlying financial issues. Wright State University must take immediate and decisive action to ensure that we can continue to fulfill our mission of serving our students, our region, and the state of Ohio.
Slightly over 50 years ago, business leaders in the Dayton community rallied to create an institution that would meet the educational needs of the region. Since assuming the presidency, Dr. Edwards has challenged us to think about where Wright State is versus where it needs to be in the face of significant challenges. The communities that we serve are evolving, and the composition and needs of our student body are changing along with them, shifting emphasis from some traditional areas to new topics of emerging importance. In response, we initiated an iterative process with the goal of developing a new, refocused, and vibrant Wright State.
Those efforts were abruptly interrupted by the current pandemic. Campus has been closed, courses have been moved to remote delivery, state support has been reduced and is slated for further reduction, and no institution yet knows when current restrictions will be lifted. Such conditions threaten the educational missions of universities worldwide. However, rather than freeze in place, we are rising to the challenge and accelerating the reorganization. The consolidation of many of our academic units and programs will focus on the forward-looking needs of our region.
This effort reinvigorates our university. It will provide stability and a foundation upon which to prosper. The preliminary plan will consolidate seven of our existing colleges into four and reorganize many existing academic departments. These proposed changes include:
- the previously announced creation of a new health college;
- combining most of the units in the Colleges of Science and Mathematics and Engineering and Computer Science into a new STEM college;
- reorganizing the departments and programs in the College of Liberal Arts; and
- continued assessment of the departments in the Raj Soin College of Business for organizational efficiencies.
This preliminary plan was created with input from our college deans and has been shared with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and department chairs across campus.
I am sharing the preliminary plan with our campus community to solicit your feedback, ideas, and concerns. We have created a webpage where you will find information on the plan and a form through which you can provide your comments. The deadline to provide feedback is August 4, 2020.
I have asked Brian Rigling, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, to serve as the point person for this monumental effort. Dr. Rigling has assisted in leading our efforts around academic program review, and the results of that effort provide a solid basis for future-looking decisions. He will now coordinate a committee process to review and incorporate feedback and prepare a final organizational plan for my consideration.
Reorganizing academic units is significant, but our work today is necessary to ensure Wright State’s future prosperity. Refocusing our resources on areas of excellence within the university to meet regional demand, including creating more educational paths to help our students thrive professionally and personally, is a win for us and the greater region we serve.
Now, more than ever, we must all work together to ensure our future.
Please stay safe.
Douglas W. Leaman, Ph.D.