UA Little Rock Forms 4 New Schools in Academic Reorganization


UA Little Rock Forms 4 New Schools in Academic Reorganization
(UA Little Rock)

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock announced the creation of four new schools that combine the academic programs of smaller departments.

The new schools are the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology; the School of Physical Sciences in the Donaghey College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; the School of Literary and Performing Arts; and the School of Human Inquiry in the College of Humanities, Arts, Social Studies, and Education.

The reorganization aims to "improve administrative efficiency and encourage constructive interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching and research among involved faculty," the university said in a news release.

The new schools began operation on July 1. Each school will be headed by a director that will be selected by an academic search committee. 

"This model allows us to modify positions to focus on our programs and ensure that student needs are met,” Lawrence Whitman, dean of the Donaghey College of STEM, said in the release. “The new associate dean is focused on the pre-health programs and lab and classroom improvement. The program coordinators are available to ensure student needs are addressed in a timely manner. The new structure improves our efficiency and ability to serve students."

The School of Engineering and Engineering Technology brings together the departments of systems engineering and engineering technology. It will include the university’s programs in electronics and computer engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology, mechanical engineering, and electrical and computer engineering. Srikanth Pidugu, professor of mechanical engineering technology, is serving as interim director of the school.

The School of Physical Sciences joins the departments of chemistry, physics and astronomy, and Earth Sciences. The new school will include the bachelor’s degree programs in chemistry, geology, physics, as well as minors in astronomy, chemistry, environmental geology, geology, and physics. Tansel Karabacak, professor of physics and former chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is the interim director of the school.

The School of Literary and Performing Arts combines the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Department of English, and the Department of Music. Kris McAbee, associate professor of English, and Stacy Pendergraft, associate professor of actor training, are serving as interim co-directors of the School of Literary and Performing Arts.

The School of Human Inquiry will combine the Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology into one academic unit. The school also includes the religious study and gender study minor programs. Michael Norton, the former chair of the Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies and a professor of philosophy, is serving as the interim director.