Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CofC Faculty Senate unanimously opposes merger

'It's a forced merger'

Posted by Corey Hutchins on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 12:23 PM

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  • College of Charleston's Porter's Lodge on George Street

The College of Charleston's Faculty Senate opposes legislation to merge the school with the Medical University of South Carolina. The statement came last night in a resolution passed quickly and unanimously during a special meeting.

“Drafting of the 'Charleston University' bill (H.4632) for the merger of College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina appears not to have carefully considered and involved study of the following critical issues,” the resolution states.

Those issues include:

The type of university being proposed, its mission, and its structure

The cost to expand existing programs and create new research capacities and
administrative structures, and the source of funds

Impacts of the change in mission and identity on student recruitment, alumni
engagement, and faculty retention

Impacts of the change in mission on student learning and educational
opportunities

Impacts on resource reallocation and student enrollment for existing research
universities in the state

Impacts on funding and productivity from losing designation as a PUI (primarily
undergraduate institution) among granting sources

Constraints on space for further expansion on the Charleston peninsula

Implications of an altered mission for faculty whose training and expertise are in
undergraduate and targeted graduate instruction

“It's a forced merger of the two institutions that doesn't take into account many of the nuances of both institutions,” says Faculty Speaker Lynn Cherry. She adds that faculty members might not be opposed to working with MUSC or to considering collaborative efforts and adding graduate programs, but if that's going to happen, faculty members want to be involved in those conversations. So far that hasn't been the case, she says.

Charleston Reps. Leon Stavrinakas (D) and Jim Merrill (R) introduced the bill in House. Charleston Sen. Larry Grooms filed a Senate version of the bill.

Board members of MUSC have passed a resolution opposing the merger.

Yesterday, the Post & Courier quoted Grooms saying, “We need to hear from the two schools over how to make this work instead of why it shouldn’t occur.”

Cherry says such statements reflect an assumption that the legislation is in the best interests of both institutions. “Concerns that the faculty at both MUSC and the College of Charleston have is that there are some very serious flaws in the legislation that as is currently written,” she says. 

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