This is a developing story. This post may be updated as we receive more information.
Prolonged discussions between the Women’s and Gender Studies Department and the Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies program are coming to fruition this fall, when the two academic programs merge into a larger department, to be called the Cultural Analysis and Theory Department.
“This is the result of a discussion that was initiated in the summer of 2010,” said CLCS Chair Robert Harvey. “Those discussions also involved other departments in the humanities.”
During those discussions, the faculty and staff of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department and CLCS clicked, according to Harvey. Over the last year, details over the merger were decided upon and written out in a memorandum of understanding, which all 15 faculty members of the two departments have signed.
“All of the academic programs, both graduate and undergraduate, are preserved,” said Harvey. “And no faculty were lost.”
The creation of the Cultural Analysis and Theory Department will have little noticeable impact on undergraduate students, says Harvey. Faculty offices will now be located in the Humanities building, and professors may teach additional classes, but beyond that, students won’t notice much change.
The new program could in fact pave the way to increased offerings for students pursuing Women’s Studies on campus, most notably the potential for the creation of a Ph.D program, says Harvey.
The timing of the merger coincides nicely with similar discussions being held across campus at the behest of the Bain Group, an outside firm hired by Stony Brook University administration to identify areas where the university can trim excess spending. According to Harvey, the merger between CLCS and Women’s Studies was not the result of pressure from the Bain Group or the Provost’s office, though he did acknowledge that the Provost’s office was happy about the merger and that it would likely fit nicely with Bain’s vision for Stony Brook.
The new department will likely be ratified by President Stanley in October, after the proposal is voted on and approved by the University Senate. The merger is on the agenda for the Senate’s first meeting, to take place in late September.
“We’ll have this new department by the beginning of next semester, if the next couple of steps come through right on schedule,” said Harvey.