The new semester brings changes for the Miami University regional campuses. In order to become more independent and functional, the Miami regional campuses will now foster separate academic divisions as voted on by the Board of Trustees last spring.
According to Jim Oris, co-chair of the Regional Campus Implementation Committee, the regional campuses currently operate as satellite campuses and have limited abilities due to their dependence on the main Oxford campus. These separate divisions will allow the campuses to operate more autonomously and will tend to both student and faculty needs.
Oris said programs such as nursing, engineering technology, computer technology and business technology are taught at regional campuses but have their department homes located in the main Oxford campus. This current setup makes operations difficult for faculty and administration. As a result of separate academic divisions though, the colleges will adopt all responsibilities of their respective program, according to Oris.
In addition to independent programs, the separate academic divisions will have a direct impact on professors who teach at regional campuses. In the current state, professors are hired and supervised through department homes in Oxford. With this change, the divisions present at each campus will be able to more effectively manage the faculty. Additionally, promotional tenure, which is currently offered through the Oxford campus, will become available through both a professor’s “home” department in Oxford and the program on the regional campus, according to Oris.
Oris said he feels the changes are for the better.
“I generally believe it is a positive change [for the faculty],” Oris said.
Oris is in charge of the committee that has created and implemented the new divisions. According to Oris, the committee will be in charge of inspecting the hiring procedures that currently exist, suggesting a new name for the academic divisions (with the help of a marketing firm), and cooperating with the University Senate in transferring programs from their department homes in Oxford to their respective campuses.
Miami Hamilton student Stefan Samples said he’s gotten mixed messages about the regional campuses’ relationship to the Oxford campus.
“Are we supposed to feel like we belong or are we supposed to be a separate chapter?” Samples said.
Samples said the campuses often feel disjointed, despite sharing the Miami name, and separate divisions may be best in the long run.
“I definitely would be for separation,” Samples said. “[Aren’t] we a whole family? If not, let’s not be a family, let’s be separate.”
Junior James Clark attends the Oxford campus, and said he feels unbothered by the changes.
“To be honest, if it doesn’t affect the Oxford campus then it makes no difference to me,” Clark said.