By Artur Agaronyan
Dr. Sanjay Rai and the Montgomery College Board of Trustees presented a revised plan for the long-running academic restructuring of the college Tuesday evening, a change with the potential to affect how students interact with their professors, among other changes. The plan will redraw the lines between faculty, department chairs and deans. The plan leads Montgomery College into a ‘one college’ structure, in which all three campuses of MC are united under the principles of consistency and academia.
The plan will change the assignments of deans and chairs and group them into more cohesive groups, borrowing elements from “Harvard, University of Maryland and Carnegie Mellon” said Rai, Interim Senior V.P. of Academic Affairs at the college. This is the first MC restructuring that Rai has worked with in a leadership role. Faculty can also move between these positions as chairs will be allowed to return to faculty, said Rai. New chair appointments will be made in March and April. MC’s budget will accommodate the plan. “[MC’s] finances are in good hands” said Reginald Felton, Board of Trustees member.
The college needs to have continuity, said Rose Sachs, Department Chair of Disability Support Services. For example, classes at different campuses should not have different books required, and those inconsistencies will be going away soon, said Professor Ed Riggs, Department Chair of Communications Arts Technologies.
The college needs to have a consistent experience across all three campuses, this will provide students with greater opportunity to expand academically as they can take classes that educate similarly, regardless of where those classes are taken, Sachs said. “Nobody is being forced to commute [between campuses]” she said, a factor that was a concern about the plan from faculty several months ago.
“I think it’s a positive change” said Riggs. The restructuring is an evolutionary response, he said. He explained that even though the previous academic structure was not fundamentally broken, the “train has left the station” and the restructuring has the potential to do much good for the college as a whole. The plan is much more inclusive now than it used to be, said Riggs. The plan is “more than restructuring”, said Rai. “The focus is on the student most of all” he said. “I think it’s possible.”
The meeting also touched on the upcoming rollout of STEAM, which is a branch of STEM with an additional focus on art. Rai mentioned that education is changing rapidly in this modern age. Members of the audience were also concerned with the lack of students participating in MC Governance. There’s a “general apathy” about the program said Lori Kelman, Professor of Biotechnology at the Germantown campus. “Get involved” says Kelman.