Commonwealth School reorganized after listening tour

Elizabeth Beilman

Like many other divisions at WKU, the University College Commonwealth School will be restructured in the wake of the academic open forum.

The changes, approved Friday by the Board of Regents, mainly remove the administrative body from the Commonwealth School.

Commonwealth School Dean Dennis George said this means eliminating the director of the Commonwealth School position and changing divisions to departments.

Division chairs consequently will become department heads, who will report directly to the dean of the school.

“We eliminated an unnecessary layer of administration,” George said.

He said any activities performed by the director of the school could have been done by either the dean of Commonwealth School or department heads within the school.

These departments are now academic support and liberal arts and sciences.

According to the Board of Regents agenda, the health science division will be moved to the College of Health and Human Services, and the business division will be moved from within the Commonwealth School to University College.

The changes will be effective July 1.

These recommendations were presented at the academic open forum on March 25 conducted by Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Gordon Baylis, vice president for Research.

The forum was a result of the “listening tour” led by Baylis and Emslie to  evaluate the academic world at WKU.

The reorganization reflects administrative efficiency and abides by faculty suggestions, according to materials distributed at the forum.

The Commonwealth School, which at one time was the Bowling Green Community College, is a unit of the University College, George said.

When the BGCC first joined University College, it retained its dean.

However, because having two deans was redundant, the dean’s position was changed to director.

Despite structural changes approved this year by the Board of Regents, the school will keep its name, George said.

“We have conditionally admitted students, and it is useful for us to maintain the name,” he said. “It was just convenient.”

Conditional admittance refers to admitting students whose ACT scores or high school GPA were lower than WKU standards.

George said the University College has two main purposes.

“It provides a home to an academic variety of interdisciplinary units,” he said. “It also provides access to success for students at our regional campuses and our south campus.”