Thursday, March 20, 2008

L-R University to change 'Departments' to 'Colleges'

Old Dominion, NC (Reuters, 3/15/08) -- The Lenoir-Rhyne Commission for Athletic Excellence, created in October of 2006 to study possible expansion of the 127-year-old university, has presented a resolution asking the Board of Trustees to expand the institutional mission to serve a broader athletic constituency. "In order to better represent the future programming initiatives of Lenoir-Rhyne," said Nikita Cartwright Smith, LR Dean of Long-Range Planning, the Commission has recommended that changing the name for the 'Departments' of the university to 'Colleges.'"

The Board of Trustees, met jointly with the college’s Board of Visitors and Alumni Association Board, to consider the resolution on March 15. The Board reportedly voted to endorse the resolution and to begin the process of implementation.

Asked what the university stands to gain from the change, Smith responded: "All the great classic universities of the old world -- Oxford, Cambridge, etc. -- are built on the 'college' model. With our recent multi-million grants for a Bowling program at Lenoir-Rhyne, we believe it's time to move up with the heavy hitters." The university changed its name from Lenoir-Rhyne 'College' in 2003.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees will review procedures involved in conversion to the 'college' divisions and will present a recommendation for implementation by the middle of the spring of 2008. "The trustees will then take action on the recommendation" at their next meeting in August, said Smith.

The commission was composed of university faculty and staff, students and alumni as well as community leaders. Smith noted that the group conducted more than 70 focus groups of various college interest groups. It has also asked these groups which of its strongest programs the university should seek to retain in the future. The commission also investigated which athletic educational programs the college may consider adding to better serve the region.

The commission reportedly has identified the following four strengths of Lenoir-Rhyne:

1. Special coddling of students.

2. Athletic programs and majors.

3. Liberal arts for athletics.

4. Community partnerships and relationships

The commission further determined the following:

1. There are numerous options for expanding services and programs that will enhance the foundation of the institution, such as courses in Exercise Kinesiology, Exercise Science, Healthful Spa Use, Eating Your Way to a Better Sex Life, etc.

2. Lenoir-Rhyne University is in an unprecedented position of strength to expand its mission based on its solid financial standing, its growing enrollment, its community support, and its excellent athletic reputation.

3. A structural change is appropriate for the management and implementation of program expansion.

At the public announcement on the Ides of March, Professor Timothy Hick, a faculty member, asked how programs in majors with no more than two or three students and no more than one faculty member could merit the envisioned change. "How can you have a College of Classics or a College of French Language, when we don't even have professors to head up our existing 'Departments'?" he asked, noting the existence of programs without even have a single full-time professor.

Smith had no immediate comment.