The School of Culture and Society was renamed the School of Humanities and Social Sciences on July 1, one of several initiatives put forth when the school revised its Strategic Plan last year.
The name change has no effect on the degrees of the school’s past graduates, nor will it affect the school’s current academic programs and degree requirements, explained Dean Benjamin Rifkin. Rather, the change is part of an effort to reclaim the school’s identity and more accurately convey the academic programs it houses.
“Changing the name of [the] school in a way that is consistent with the six other schools of the College…will make it clear to students, faculty, alumni, and colleagues and partners within higher education and beyond that our school is the academic home for disciplines in the humanities and social sciences,” read the Strategic Plan.
The school revised its Strategic Plan during the 2009–10 academic year with input from students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Rifkin said that during the planning process, “It emerged that the new name was a better fit and more transparent ‘label’ for our community. Our school does not have any programs in the arts, but the word ‘culture’ in the school’s old name was misleading in this regard.”
The School of Culture and Society was created in 2001 when the former School of Arts and Sciences was divided into three schools: the Arts (later renamed the Arts and Communication), Culture and Society, and Science. At the time, it was decided to divide the former School of Arts and Sciences because of its “size and complexity,” said Nancy Freudenthal, assistant provost. “The old school…included a wide range of disciplines, which had different characteristics and needs,” said Freudenthal.
According to the College’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, the School of Culture and Society housed 10 departments, 15 degree programs, and 1,662 students last year.