The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved campus curriculum changes.
The bachelor of fine arts in digital and photographic imaging will become a major in photography in the department of arts and design, effective fall 2009. The department will transform to the school of art and design.
The department of technology will be renamed as department of engineering technology, and the School of Social Work will move from College of Health Professions into the College of Applied Arts.
“The university, like any progressive organization, has the responsibility to continuously evaluate and refine its programs,” said Debbie Thorne, associate vice president for academic affairs. “Curriculum changes are a key indicator of Texas State’s commitment to this responsibility.”
University officials do not expect any additional costs or savings to come as a result of the changes.
Erik Nielsen, chair of the department of arts and design, said people did not understand that digital and photographic imaging meant photography.
“They though it was a program that’s related to health and science — to the medical field, because of the digital naming of it,” Nielsen said. “And so there were a lot of people thinking it did not offer a degree in photography because of their misunderstanding of the name. The name change was just to clarify the fact that we do have a photography program.”
The department of technology has, in recent years, broadened its traditional programs to encompass new areas of studies in engineering technologies.
“The name change better reflects the changing mission and broadening scope and reflects the rigor and depth of the science and engineering orientation of the department,” university officials said in an explanation to the board.
The name change is expected to help faculty seek research funding from industry and government agencies.
Thorne said the faculty of the department of art and design decided to seek an accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design in 2010.
“The combination of ‘school status’ and accreditation will make Texas State’s art and design programs more competitive and attractive to future students, faculty, employers and other stakeholders,” Thorne said.
Texas State’s art and design unit is one of the largest in the nation with 1,200 students and 70 faculty members, she noted.
Thorne said the university is planning to eventually move the College of Health Professions to the Round Rock Higher Education Center. She said it made sense to move the School of Social Work, which does not have a highly health-related curriculum, into the College of Applied Arts so the faculty can maintain collaborations with colleagues in family and consumer sciences and criminal justice.
Thorne said the university uses a faculty-driven approach in making curriculum changes, and committees and individual stakeholders are involved in the decision making process.
“By the time such proposals reach the Texas State University System Board of Regents, the decisions have been thoroughly discussed and vetted by the Texas State academic community,” Thorne said.