Bemidji State University announces new college structure

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University has reorganized its three colleges to better support the goals and priorities of academic departments and the University. The reorganization will support the University’s goal of developing a more-focused identity as a university of arts and sciences with select professional programs, while allowing academic departments to support an integrated liberal education, enhanced external fundraising and focused enrollment growth.

Bemidji State’s College of Arts and Letters, College of Professional Studies and College of Social and Natural Sciences have been restructured, and the University’s colleges are now the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Health Sciences and Human Ecology and the College of Business, Technology and Communications.

The reorganization took effect on Tuesday, July 1.

“College reorganization was something we began to look at in the spring of 2007,” said Dr. Joann Fredrickson, associate professor of business administration at Bemidji State. “At that time, the University had just completed a significant budget realignment process and academic affairs was looking to hire two permanent deans. We originally thought we’d make some minor shifts in college structure, and then hire deans to lead those colleges.”

During meetings in the spring of 2007, the Bemidji State faculty encouraged the academic leadership to consider a comprehensive realignment. During the summer of last year, Fredrickson, then the University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, formed a 10-member committee of faculty and administrators to explore a college structure which aligned itself with the goals of the University.

The committee came up with more than a half-dozen possible college organizational structures. Eventually, two were presented to the campus community during an October, 2007 open forum – a variation of the arts and sciences model which eventually was the model selected, and a less traditional model which aligned Bemidji State’s academic programs into three colleges named after the University’s signature themes.

“With the reorganization conversation and the President’s focus on sharpening the identity of the University, the campus community was asking itself whether Bemidji State was a comprehensive university or a liberal arts college, which really are quite different models,” Fredrickson said. “In the end, the President has carved an identity that works very well for the University out of both of those models: a university of arts and sciences with select professional programs.

“The final college structure we adopted in the spring of 2008 and implemented in July supports that vision, and the updated strategic plan which will implement that vision,” she said.

Nancy Erickson, who was recently named the University’s interim vice president for academic affairs following Fredrickson’s decision to return to the faculty in a teaching role, noted that the larger College of Arts and Sciences would contain the University’s pre-professional programs and majors and its liberal education component, while the two smaller colleges would house professional programs. She noted the new structure would afford the University the flexibility to assign different missions to the different colleges, including goals such as fundraising, new program development, responsiveness to employer needs and a focus on enrollment.

Dr. Patricia Rogers will be the interim Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Ecology and Carol Nielsen will be the interim Dean of the College of Business, Technology and Communications. The College of Arts and Sciences is currently seeking a dean, and Dr. Patrick Guilfoile has been named to a three-year term as its associate dean.

With the restructuring of the colleges, some physical reorganization of office space on campus has taken place as well. The deans of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Health Sciences and Human Ecology will relocate to Sattgast Hall. The dean for the College of Business, Technology and Communications will remain in Decker Hall 110, home of the former College of Professional Studies.

In addition to the restructuring of the three colleges, the University has also reorganized the School of Graduate Studies, which will report to the dean of Health Sciences and Human Ecology, and the library, which will report to Associate Vice President for Information Technology and Extended Learning and Library Bob Griggs.

“This reorganization has involved considerable conversations with the faculty, students and other constituents,” Fredrickson said. “The faculty had the foresight to see that the administration’s initial plans for the reorganization were missing an opportunity for the University. But the faculty and administration have worked together to forge a new college structure which should support the University’s goals and serve our students for years to come.”

Bemidji State University College Structure
College of:
…Arts and Sciences

Art History
Communication Arts
Computer Science
Enviornmental Studies
Indian Studies
Modern Languages
Political Science
Visual Arts

…Health Sciences and Human Ecology
Criminal Justice
Physical Education, Health and Sport
Professional Education
Social Work

…Business, Technology and Communications
Business Administration
Physics and Physics Engineering
Technological Studies
Mass Communication