Engineering Revamp Proposed
Plans for a major departmental reorganization at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences will be presented to the central administration this week, according to Engineering Dean Peter Likins, author of the proposal.
The plan calls for the establishment of a new Department of Applied Physics and Nuclear Engineering. Also in the proposal is the merger of the Industrial Management and Engineering Department with the Operations Research Program into a new department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.
The new structure will result in seven departments at engineering instead of the current six. Mechanical Engineering, currently aligned with Nuclear Engineering, will remain a separate department under the proposed change.
The proposal is the result of six months of planning and discussions with the faculty from the Engineering School, Likins said. Changes in the field of engineering have made the current department system illogical, he added.
Operations Research is now part of the Civil Engineering Department, but Likins, who will present the new plan to Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Wm. Theodore deBary, said "Civil Engineering was always viewed as a temporary resting place for operations research."
The proposal passed a vote of Engineering faculty last month by a three to one ratio, according to Likins.
The section of the proposal calling for the inclusion of Operations Research in the Industrial Engineering Department was "most controversial," Likins said.
Though he declined to say which professors opposed the plan, the dean explained "there is a lot of history surrounding Operations Research and it is that history that influenced people who have been here for a long time to oppose it, as opposed to people like myself who haven't been here that long."
Likin's plan also calls for the inclusion of the Physics Department's graduate and college faculty in the Applied Physics and Nuclear Engineering Department.
There are currently no Engineering School courses offered in applied physics at the Engineering School take their physics courses in the college or at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).
Since GSAS and college professors teach many engineering students, Likin's plan would give them a voice in Engineering School faculty and curriculum matters by officially including them in an Engineering School department's faculty.
The Department of Applied Physics and Nuclear Engineering is expected to help restructure the nuclear engineering program. Likins said, "It is the case that Columbia's nuclear engineering program has not developed along the practical lines that had originally been hoped. The program is more theoretical than practical."
After his proposal is submitted to deßary, Likins said it must be approved by the central administration and then by the Board of Trustees. He said he hoped the new organizational system would become operative by July.
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