By Admir Durakovic
Geoffrey Weinman has been appointed the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, as a part of FDU’s plan for unifying the two New Jersey campuses.
Weinman attended and received his B.A. from Hunter College of the City University of New York and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.
He first joined the University staff in 1968, working in the Department of English on the Florham campus. Since then, he has served in a variety of different roles until he was named the acting dean of Becton College on the Florham campus in 2005, and the permanent dean in 2006.
“There is nobody more experienced than Dean Weinman to take on this position,” Gillian Small, the University Provost said. “So I asked him and he agreed. I had a meeting of the faculty who will be in the combined college effective next fall, and announced it there.”
The new College of Arts and Sciences will replace University College.
This transformation will also form independent professional schools of programs once a part of University College.
The new initial professional schools that will report directly to the university provost will be the Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health, the Gildart Haase School of Computer Sciences and Engineering, and the Peter Sammartino School of Education.
The remaining programs will unite into a college of arts and sciences that exists on both NJ campuses.
“University College was always something of an unusual structure,” Small said. “It’s quite unusual to have a school of engineering and a school of nursing for example inside a college including the liberal arts and sciences. In order for those professional programs to really flourish, it makes more sense that they be independent schools reporting directly to the provost, making their case for what their needs are in those professions.”
Students that already study under these programs will have nothing to fear, said Small.
“No existing students in the University will be adversely affected by this, we won’t make them suddenly take different courses,” Small said.
“Students will have an option to follow the new curriculum if it works out for them,” Weinman said. “If they’ve moved along already, if they’re juniors and seniors, we are not gonna tell them ‘well now you need to go back and take this.’ We will honor the curriculum that existed when they started.”
The structure of colleges isn’t the only change taking shape on the Metro campus.
“The scheduling of class times have also been unified. In the past you couldn’t shift from one campus to the other because the times were so different,” Weinman said. “What I’ve been doing over the past several months is meeting with faculty from particular disciplines, to work on revising the curriculum and making it uniform where appropriate.”
The faculty groups from the two campuses vote on and approve the new curriculum changes, which don’t include any adjunct voices.
“In truth, they are not very much involved in the discussions,” Weinman said. “Not that we think adjuncts don’t have good ideas, but we have leadership in the departments, individuals who have put in many years, who know the discipline. One of the things is that you want to hear from a variety of voices, but too many voices can be disruptive and keep you from coming to closure. So we want to hear from the people who are with us full time, quite honestly.”
Despite the unification of the College and Arts and Sciences, Weinman recognizes the benefit to having some variety between the two campuses.
“If there are particular areas of expertise on one campus and not on the other, we are going to continue that,” Weinman said. “So for example, here (on the metro campus) we have a concentration in cosmetic science. We don’t have that on the other campus, but we have some other things on the other campus that we don’t have here. So we are respecting that, some difference is appropriate and will help students decide where they want to be.”
As FDU enters the final year of the 2015-2020 strategic plan, time is running out for the goals they set up to accomplish. With the induction of Dean Weinman, FDU is one step closer to unifying both New Jersey campuses.
Photo courtesy of FDU