Mississippi university making changes in names, enhancing missions of two schools

Published 10:08 pm Saturday, July 8, 2023

The School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences will be renamed the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, while the School of Arts and Sciences will be changed to the College of Arts and Sciences, effective August 1, 2023.

“As Alcorn continues “Forging Ahead,” it is critical that we align the university with the strategic plan and best practices in higher education,” said Dr. Ontario Wooden, interim president. “The robust programming offered in the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences and the School of Arts and Sciences warrants the title elevation for the Schools. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the faculty and staff in the Schools to offer a quality educational experience to our students.”

The decision to rename these academic schools marks Alcorn’s commitment to providing a transformational education experience, which aligns with the university’s strategic plan.

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“The name change will allow the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences to continue to effectively enhance the mission of our university by providing an enriched learning environment for a diverse body of undergraduate and graduate students through careers in agriculture, advanced technologies, and human sciences,” said Dr. Dexter Wakefield, interim dean of the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. “With increasing enrollment, a broad selection of academic programs, nationally recognized faculty and staff, and high levels of student career success, the school is recognized for attracting top-level students pursuing an education in these pathways. This would represent an additional means to attract and recruit students due to the prestige associated with the name “college” over “school.”

Alcorn’s Agriculture and Applied Sciences includes several departments that produce workforce-ready graduates to enhance the agricultural workforce, which is the No. 1 industry in Mississippi.

They include the Department of Advanced Technologies, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Human Sciences, which hosts degree programs such as agricultural economics, agribusiness management, computer networking and information technology, and human development and family science.

The foundational pillars of the School of Agriculture and Applied Science are driving agricultural advancements, fostering technological innovation, and addressing critical issues in food security, sustainable practices, and workforce education leadership.

“This modification reflects the breadth of the academic disciplines available to students and faculty thereby distinguish the university from other institutions that may only offer a limited range of disciplines within the Arts and Sciences,” said Dr. Babu Patlolla, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Generally, Colleges often attract students from a variety of backgrounds and cultures thereby increasing the diversity of the student population at the university. Finally, it better reflects the School’s commitment to excellence in Arts and Sciences.”

Alcorn’s School of Arts and Sciences, has various disciplines to nurture creativity, critical thinking, and social understanding.

The School is home to the Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Department of English, Language, and Mass Communication, Department of Fine Arts, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Military Science, Department of Social Sciences, and Department of Social Work. With degree programs in English, history, mass communications, music, sociology, biology, and computer science, the School of Arts and Sciences.

The name change reflects Arts and Sciences dedication to producing well-rounded students equipped with the skills to tackle complex societal challenges and contribute to advancing scientific and artistic endeavors.

The changing of the Schools to College status highlights the academic growth and influence of these units and solidifies Alcorn State University’s position as a leading academic institution dedicated to innovation and shaping the minds of the next generation.