Majority Opinion: Support Recommendation #58
Support Enhanced Funding but Maintain ENV Identity. LCRS faculty and staff are pleased that the P&R committee supports the MSRS program and recommends enhanced funding. We fully support this recommendation. However we do not believe the proposed re-organization that dissolves ENV and consolidates LCRS and other programs into various colleges will be effective in infusing campus-wide identity around environmental issues. Building bridges from the holistic, multi-disciplinary and action-oriented approach inherent in ENV to other colleges provides the best opportunity for developing true campus-wide identity in our opinion.
LCRS has been successful in building bridges across colleges in recent years, facilitating formal teaching, research and outreach programs with faculty and students in ENV, Science, CLASS, Engineering and Agriculture, as well as informal activities with every College on campus. However, ENV has been foundational in establishing the approach of LCRS. We believe this identity continues to be in the best interest of LCRS and the University, particularly in terms of distinguishing the MSRS as a program concerned with integrating social, ecological and technological issues of sustainability, as opposed to competing environmental science/studies programs which take less integrative approaches.
Additional Data Addresses Committee Concerns. The prioritization review was based on only one year of data, since this is a new program started in 2004. We believe that increased enrollment, combined with increased enrollment in the minor program and increased interest from students in other graduate programs has been ample to sustain upper division course work, and has improved the efficiency of the program. However the program is likely to remain small by CPP standards, due to its nature as a graduate program. Therefore bridges to other programs are justified and desirable.
LCRS as a Locus of Environmental Efforts. With enhanced funding, LCRS could serve as a locus for the establishment of a greatly expanded network of faculty, students and staff examining environmental issues across all disciplines. We believe this approach offers far more promise in advancing the interests of the University than proposed mergers.
Benefits to All Colleges. Enhanced funding would allow LCRS to expand substantial connections to all colleges, offering support for students and release time for more faculty to pursue interdisciplinary teaching, research and outreach programs. Facilitating such a network would not only enhance the Center, but would also offer substantial benefits to all colleges involved. The approach empowers faculty to develop specialized knowledge, often drawing from other disciplines, to enhance their teaching and scholarship within their own department. Community outreach opportunities for all colleges would be increased. LCRS would serve as a resource for all programs, facilitating connections across campus, offering expertise, and resources in the form of space, specialize equipment, and staff support. This approach addresses the committee’s idea of bolstering and sharing resources in this critical area of study
Build on What Works Well. The LCRS model has been effective in building truly interdisciplinary programs at the Center, thanks to the contributions of many colleges and the leadership of ENV. The alternative we are proposing would build on this approach, enhancing the flow of resources and expertise back to the Colleges involved in order to strengthen their own programs and enhance this environmental identity across campus. This approach is essential to the continued success of LCRS since the strength of our programs rests on the continued strength and enhancement of our faculty’s home departments.