MSU-DCL may change

College name, setup could change under law school proposal


The State News


Provost Lou Ana Simon



MSU-DCL College of Law could be renamed and further combined with MSU if a proposal passed by Academic Governance on Tuesday is approved by both schools' boards.

The name would change from MSU-DCL College of Law to the Michigan State University College of Law. The name change, MSU President M. Peter McPherson said, "will eliminate any confusion over location.

"We were not prepared to have the name unless it was something we would be comfortable with in the foreseeable future," McPherson said.

The school would act as any other college in the university, except its governing board would retain financial responsibility. MSU-DCL currently receives no appropriations from MSU or the state of Michigan.

"(People) already, in effect, view them as our law school," said MSU Provost Lou Anna Simon, who introduced the MSU-DCL proposal to the Executive Committee of Academic Council on Tuesday. "It's time to solidify the progress we've made and further integrate the College of Law into Michigan State University."

The law school's partnership with the university originally was created in 1995. When it was first developed, McPherson said MSU pledged not to campaign for more integration between the two.

"We never have pushed for more," he said. "Now, a few months ago, they came back and said, 'We really want to be MSU College of Law.'"

The Executive Committee voted to move the proposal to the Board of Trustees, MSU's highest governing body. The MSU Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on the proposal April 14, and the MSU-DCL board will vote April 16.

"This is a recommendation of the continuing deep integration of the law college into the academic life of the university and is therefore an important step in confirming the relationship with MSU academically and physically," MSU-DCL Dean Terence Blackburn said.

Simon said the quick action on this proposal is necessary to be fair to incoming law students. Blackburn added that the change will bring more students to the school.

"It will give us a great ability to recruit students and faculty on a national level," Blackburn said. "We'll be better able to attract those students and faculty who want to be associated with a law school that is part of a world-renowned research university."

Aside from the integration of MSU and the law school, Simon also presented seven other memorandums to the Executive Committee. The memos included creating a core integrative studies department, developing more residential programs and enhancing quantitative literacy and students' writing abilities.

"This is worrying about having a degree that constantly appreciates over time," Simon said. "The whole point is to position students to be at the cutting edge."

Simon said none of the decisions will be made without input from students and faculty, especially ones dealing with any college changes.

"Some things in the reorganization will happen by the end of the year," she said. "And some things will happen potentially in the fall, but nothing's going to happen in the summer when everybody's gone."

The committee also approved a proposal to establish a School of Planning, Design and Construction. The planning process for the school began three years ago and was brought up again because of Simon's report.

In the report, released Feb. 18, the College of Human Ecology, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and the College of Arts & Letters will be dispersed into different areas of the university. No programs will be eliminated as a result of the proposal. The plan also recommends combining several departments into a new college called the College of Communication, Arts, Languages and Media.

Although Simon didn't write any restructuring memos, she said she expects the College of Human Ecology to dissolve by summer. She said there would be no issues in sending some parts of her blueprint - as she calls it- through Academic Governance before others.

"In the case of the parts of the house that relate to reorganization, we still haven't figured out exactly what the walls look like," she said. "That part's coming, but we don't have to wait to look at what that end of the house looks like in order to go ahead and move on these items."

Staff writer Tina Reed contributed to this report.