WMU News

Board approves changes in academic departments

Jan. 24, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- The division of one academic department and the move of another to a different college within the University were approved by the Board of Trustees at its Jan. 19 meeting.

Effective July 1, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics will become two separate departments. Such separation is typical at universities of similar size, said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Fred Dobney in recommending the move to the board.

"Separation will allow each unit to develop a distinct identity appropriate to its specific mission," he noted.

Diverging missions of the two units led to the decision to separate them, according to Dr. Daniel Mihalko, professor of mathematics and statistics, and one the of the faculty who will become part of the newly formed Department of Statistics.

"Mathematics is focused on education and pure mathematics," he said. "The statistics department has a much more applied emphasis. We've been given the charge of becoming a hub for statistical activity for the University to eliminate duplication and increase the interdisciplinary efforts on campus."

Eight faculty members will comprise the new Department of Statistics, which currently has about 20 undergraduate majors and 50 students in its graduate program. The remaining faculty and students in the current department will become the new Department of Mathematics. No changes to graduation requirement or course offerings will be triggered by the move.

Also approved by the board was a proposal to move the Department of Computer Science from the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The faculty in the department and the deans of the two colleges approved the change, agreeing that the department's majors, minors and graduate programs fall more appropriately under the auspices of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The Department of Computer Science will remain in its present location pending an eventual move to the University's new engineering campus being built south of the main campus near the intersection of Drake Road and Parkview Avenue.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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