Three BW Schools combine into College

Baldwin Wallace has undergone a substantial academic reorganization for the 2019-2020 school year as three Schools have been combined into one new College.

The new College of Education and Health Sciences is the result of combining the School of Education, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Health, Physical Education, and Sport Sciences (HPESS).

Provost Stephen Stahl said several factors were involved in creating the new entity, among them the low enrollment Stahl noticed from the School of Education over the past couple of years. That led to questions of whether the school could “justify being a standalone school with their own dean.”

“It’s been two years since I’ve gone to the School of Education and pointed out that their enrollment has been shrinking,” said Stahl.

Michael Smith, founding dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, understands that though the university’s education program’s enrollment numbers aren’t up to the standard, the numbers still represent most of the entire university.

“Education’s enrollment, like other universities, has decreased but we are still probably one of the largest Schools on campus,” said Smith.

Smith said the School of Education, with both undergraduate and graduate programs, brings in a combination of 500 students. Altogether, Smith said the College of Education and Sport Sciences would have approximately 1,000 students, account for about 30% of the entire university’s population.

Smith said Baldwin Wallace combining the Schools under one college follows the structures of programs at other colleges and universities.

“Around the state, there are very few Schools or Colleges of Education that are standalone,” said Smith. “It’s usually associated with similar programs. We are doing what everyone else does structurally.”

Though the enrollment levels of the education program dip slightly below the standard, Stahl said other factors play in the role for combining the programs proving “more logical.”

“There are some natural synergies between the programs,” said Stahl. “The education and speech pathology [programs], for example, have strong ties. Many of the graduates of the speech-language pathology programs end up working in the schools. It’s a pretty common grouping across the nation.”

Grouping the programs was not a new idea, according to Stahl. When first arriving at Baldwin Wallace seven years ago, he, along with other faculty members, tried determining what structures could improve the education program.

“We knew when we [first] established [the education program] that that was not the final structure,” said Stahl. “We needed to talk through things. Over time it’s become apparent [a combination] would be a more logical setting.”

Stahl said the conversations taking place were not meant strictly for what would improve the education program, but what else could be done to improve the other programs across the board.

“We’ve had conversations with Health, Physical Education and Sport Sciences about whether they really were at home with their range of disciplines in Arts and Sciences, or whether they would be able to develop more fully if they were in with the Health Sciences,” said Stahl.

Instead of HPESS joining the College of Arts and Sciences, it was decided HPESS “had much more in common with health sciences and education than with Arts and Sciences,” said Stahl.

Stahl said Smith “will not be a candidate for the permanent dean position.”

Instead, a “nationwide search” will take place in search of the right candidate for the position. When the new dean is brought in, Smith said he will return as the head administrator of the education program, Stahl said.