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New departments added to Arts and Sciences

By DaYona McLean
On December 4, 2012

Various academic programs and departments in the College of Arts and Sciences have either joined other departments or become independent units effective fall 2012.
These changes will give these majors an opportunity to establish and pursue their own interests and to better serve students, said Brenda Allen, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.
"The real reason we did this [separate or add to departments] was to give the academic programs a greater voice," said Carolynn Berry, interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.
After more than 30 years serving as one academic unit, the former Department of English and Foreign Languages is now two academic departments: the English Department and the World Languages and Cultures Department.
In addition, the speech minor was removed from the English Department to the Department of Mass Communications.
The interim chair of the English Department is Audrey Forrest-Carter. She was the interim chair of English and Foreign Languages Department  as well.
 Michael Brookshaw, professor of Spanish, is the new chair of the World Languages Department.
"It was a realization that in order to meet the needs, demands and realities of the 21st century, the [Foreign Languages] department had to be able to operate by themselves and not under another umbrella," Brookshaw said.
Uchenna Vasser, an associate professor of Spanish, said she is excited for the new department to take on more responsibilities and possibly adding Chinese to the curriculum.
The number of student majors in the departments was not a deciding factor for the modifications.
Berry said as a part of the UNC system, the University keeps an eye on "low producing" programs.
She said across the campus mathematics, English and sometimes art and music have a small number of majors.
"You don't form departments over the number of majors you have; it's around the curriculum that they're offering to the campus," Berry said.
"We respond every two years, and we look to see how essential the program is. Are they growing or getting smaller.... how essential they are to what we do. There are lots of places on campus where we have programs that don't have a lot of majors such as computer science and education, but these departments are just not offering major courses they are also offering service courses," she said.
Psychology, gerontology, social work and sociology majors were offered in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social work.  Psychology and Sociology had more than 200 majors.   Therefore the Department of Psychological Sciences (psychology) was developed and Gary Bond became the chair.
According to Psychological Science website, WSSU is the first historically black college or university to establish a Department of Psychological Sciences, instead of a Department of Psychology.   Lynn Harvey, associate professor of sociology, is the interim chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social work.
The Department of Fine Arts which included music, art and visual studies majors is now the Department of Arts and Visual Studies, with Alison Fleming, associate professor of art history, as chair.
The interim chair of the new Music Department is Michael McGruder, professor of music and the band director.
 According to the 2011 University Fact Book, the largest program was nursing with approximately 550 majors and the smallest was English education and motorsport management with approximately one major.
Edited by Pachia Lee

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