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September 25, 2003

School of Arts & Sciences: It’s Official

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) now officially are called the School of Arts and Sciences. But full implementation of the name change will take some time, according to Arts and Sciences Dean N. John Cooper.

Provost James V. Maher approved the name change following a recommendation by Arts and Sciences faculty, which voted 174-17 in favor of the move.

“While the provost has approved the name change, we’ve been working with the key people at the Office of the Registrar, the Office of Admissions and others on how to roll this out appropriately,” Cooper told the University Times this week.

Certain institutional records and newer on-line systems such as the student information system will need time to convert to the new terminology, he said. “The undergraduate recruitment cycle is also underway for next fall. We will continue to refer to the College of Arts and Sciences in our undergraduate recruiting materials, at least until the fall of 2005. Also, we’re especially conscious of the presentation of our web site, which more and more is the institutional face of the University, and we’re looking at that right now,” to decide when to make the switch, he added.

In supporting the name change, Cooper had argued that the distinction between FAS (the overall responsibility center) and CAS (the undergraduate academic programs and support services) was confusing and counterproductive and that the adoption of the term “School” was more in line with Pitt’s institutional nomenclature.

“We also believe there is symbolic value in the name change,” he said. “In a research university it is critical that we convey that the scholarly strength of our faculty is reflected in the strengths of our undergraduate programs. We are one community that happens to have graduate and undergraduate scholarly programs.”

Most of the internal changes prompted by the name modification are cosmetic, Cooper said. In addition to nominal changes in the Arts and Sciences bylaws, titles that previously contained either “Faculty of” or “College of” will be altered. “For example, the College of Arts and Sciences Council is now called the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Council,” Cooper said.

The name change does not alter the membership, jurisdiction or reporting structure of Pitt’s highest-enrolled unit, nor are any administrators’ responsibilities changed. Acceptable abbreviations of the school are Arts and Sciences and A&S.

“We’ve suggested to departments that changes in letterhead should be made at the next time letterhead is ordered, to minimize costs,” Cooper said. He urged the University community to begin adopting the name change colloquially and in internal written materials. According to Cooper, the roots of the School of Arts and Sciences date back to 1845, with the founding of the College of Liberal Arts. In the 1960s, academic disciplines were organized into the Divisions of the Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences, the School of Liberal Arts and the School of General Studies. In 1967, the faculty and graduate programs were designated as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, while the undergraduate programs were overseen by the College of Arts and Sciences.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 36 Issue 3

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