New colleges: 7 becomes 4


Marina Coletta

A banner for the current Tom Ridge School is displayed in the connector bridge.

Melanie Todd, Staff writer

Major changes continue to accompany the arrival of President Michael Victor. Mercyhurst is condensing the current seven schools within the university into four colleges.
“We have an unusual number of colleges for a university our size,” David Dausey, Ph.D., academic provost and vice president of academic affairs said. In addition to the Tom Ridge School, Mercyhurst has had Hafenmaier School of Education & Behavioral Sciences, Health Professions & Public Health, School of Arts & Humanities, School of Social Sciences, Walker School of Business and Zurn School of Natural Sciences.
“It happened kind of organically and it grew out of control. We grew and now we need to step back. We want to align ourselves with best practices,” Dausey said.
The organization of the academic departments under the four colleges is currently being finalized.
“The administration that put together the new changes spent a lot of time discussing with deans and faculty the most conducive way to format the schools,” MSG President Caleb Ohmer said.
Zurn College of Natural Sciences and Health Sciences will have athletic training, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, exercise science, geology, health care science, nursing, physics, public health and sports medicine.
“Most universities our size group natural and health sciences together. Most biology students also major in health sciences,” Dausey said.
The Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Information Sciences will include communication, computer systems, criminal justice, data science, applied forensic science, intelligence studies, mathematics, political science and applied sociology/social work.
“Ridge College is our niche college that looks different from other places. Groupings of political science and criminal justice students with intel students have naturally occurred so we should encourage that collaboration,” Dausey said.
The Hafenmaier College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences will hold anthropology/archaeology, art and art therapy, Catholic studies, dance, education, English, history, liberal arts, music, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, sustainability, and world languages.
Walker College of Business and Management will include accounting, business economics, fashion merchandising, finance, hospitality management, interior design, international business, management, marketing and sports business management.
“These are likely to be the final changes to the schools but it is still a draft. I am trying to be as transparent as I can with all of you,” Dausey said.
Each school will have its own full time dean. “Deans will no longer teach classes. They will be here to help you in a different way. They can be your advocate and oversee all the degree programs from certificate programs to master’s degrees,” said Dausey.
“Most of you will not notice this change in your day to day life. Except at graduation it may be a different person announcing your name and handing you your degree from before,” Dausey said.
There is a lot of change in the air at Mercyhurst.
“While these changes might take some time to get used to, the consolidation was done by the administration with the best interest of the students at heart,” Ohmer said.