By Courtney Such, Editor-in-Chief
Accreditation recertification and a second-year president means change is underway—a new curriculum, a new provost, the elimination of a dean and the search for a new faculty chair will shape Furman’s future this fall.
The faculty voted in December to eliminate the first-year seminar program and replace it with an additional required writing and research intensive (WR) course. Furman faculty and administrators are obligated to make improvements to the curriculum every ten years in order to receive accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The incoming class of 2020 will be required to take one first-year writing seminar (FYW) during freshman year and one writing and research course (WR) at any point in their Furman careers after completing the FYW. The decision was a controversial one among faculty members, with a tightly contested 77-65 final vote.
“It’s a service to the university [to have a first year seminar program], but it takes away from departmental offering,” Dr. Kate Kaup, faculty chair, told The Paladin.
The last change of this size to Furman curriculum was in 2006, when the university designed a new calendar and the general education requirement (GER) system, allowing students more variety in course selection.
“This year has been very unusual for us because President Davis spent the first year that she was at Furman listening and trying to figure out what she wanted to do,” Kaup said.
But now that she has spent a full year listening, it is time to implement administrative change.
Davis is searching for a provost to serve as her new second-in-command beginning July 1. The provost will also serve as the “chief academic officer responsible for the faculty and related administrative departments that support all undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs,” according to a job description posted on a search consulting site. Several candidates have visited and interviewed on campus, but there is no word on an official hire.
The new hire means a restructuring of the current administrative system. The provost and dean model mean Senior Associate Academic Dean Marianne Pierce’s position will be eliminated July 1.
Piece has also been serving as interim director of the Rinker Center for Study Away and International Education, and will take on this position full time starting July 1.
“I have been aware for quite a while that the position of Senior Associate Academic Dean would be eliminated,” Pierce told The Paladin in an email. “I will continue in that Interim Director role next year and I am very excited about that opportunity.”
This is also the last academic year John Beckford will serve as dean of faculty/vice president for academic affairs. Beckford, who served as the music department’s percussion instructor for 32 years and dean for the past eight, will be on sabbatical during the fall 2016 semester and will return to the music department in spring 2017.
Although there is no set deadline for the dean of faculty hire, an internal search committee is in the process of reviewing applications.