Plan would move dept, evaluate grad school

AThis article is the third in a three-part series outlining various structural changes to the University a task force recommended to University President Bob Bruininks in March. Bruininks will propose some or all of these recommendations to the Board of Regents in May, and the board will vote on them in June.

A task force proposed changes to the food science and nutrition department and a yearly evaluation of the Graduate School to University President Bob Bruininks in March.

The department is currently in the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences and the College of Human Ecology.

The report said the department conducts research efforts that include laboratory sciences, clinical science and community nutrition. It is largely centered on the study of biology.

It said the mission of the department is to engage in research and teaching related to the science of safe and healthy foods.

Because of this, the task force proposed to find a new home for the department, possibly in the College of Biological Sciences, the School of Public Health or the School of Medicine.

Depending on the Board of Regents’ decisions in June, the department might be relocated to a new college.

Food science and nutrition department head Allen Levine said the report did not say anything about where his department is going to be moved, so he couldn’t comment on any future changes.

The report also suggested reducing or consolidating low-enrollment graduate or professional programs. The goal is to improve the cost, quality and support for students.

The recommendations call for the Graduate School dean to submit an annual summary report of those actions to E. Thomas Sullivan, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Victor Bloomfield, vice provost for research and Graduate School interim dean, said the recommendations would look at statistics the school currently accumulates and flag issues that might need help.

“I’m basically in favor of (the recommendations), because they will in some cases tighten the ship,” Bloomfield said.

He said the task force’s proposals would not make any changes to the way the Graduate School already functions but rather help to use the information the school gathers annually in a more active fashion.

“If we can use these reviews a little more proactively to focus the attention of graduate programs to make sure that they’re performing optimally, then that’s a good thing,” he said.