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The University of Central Arkansas in Conway has merged its College of Liberal Arts and College of Fine Arts & Communication into a new unit, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
The new college will include the School of Communication and a dozen departments: English; History; Philosophy and Religion; Political Science; Sociology, Criminology and Anthropology; Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures; Art and Design; Music; and Film, Theatre and Creative Writing.
The combination made sense academically and financially, university officials said.
“This exciting collaboration will result in new opportunities for greater student and faculty success, as well as increased administrative efficiencies and long-term sustainability,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Patricia Poulter. “Bringing these two highly compatible colleges together will create a more unified approach to the arts and humanities at UCA and will increase opportunities for collaboration between different programs and among students and faculty,” she said in a news release.
Plans for the new college were first announced to faculty and staff in October 2019, and the new college became effective July 1.
Tom Williams, who served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts before July 1, has been appointed dean of the new college. Gayle Seymour, former associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, now serves as associate dean of CAHSS.
The university said all departments and schools will remain intact, and their leadership teams will continue to work together toward a seamless transition.
“It’s not uncommon to see a college comprised of such departments as these,” Williams said in the release. “However, after working with the leadership, faculty and students, I see a unique opportunity to do more than just come together as a college. I see an opportunity to collaborate and challenge ourselves to revitalize what we do in our classrooms and studios and creative production scholarship, to really seize the moment and offer a path forward that highlights the strengths of individual disciplines while linking them together in innovative and useful ways.”