Majority Opinion: Support Recommendation #59
Building Bridges not Mergers. LCRS faculty and staff are pleased that the P&R recommendation highlighted the potential of its programs, and more broadly the potential of the environmental concerns/applications as an affinity of CPP. We agree that this area of emphasis holds great potential as a campus-wide identity. However as stated in our response to recommendation#4, we do not believe the proposed re-organization that dissolves ENV and distributes Architecture, LA, URP and LCRS into other colleges will be effective in infusing this campus-wide identity. 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 minor 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. Several changes in the program have been made since the review period. The number of units required has been reduced to facilitate completion of the minor. In addition, the majority of courses also serve as GE courses, meaning that demand is strong and program costs are lower when GE contributions are taken into account. There is a lack of data that prevents us from reliably tracking in-progress students, which complicates the demand, quality and efficiency analysis of this rapidly growing program.
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 and the MSRS program, 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, specialized 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.