What’s in a name? Not much

Published by adviser, Author: The Rocket, Date: March 19, 2015

 “O, be some other name!

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet.”

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” Act 2, scene 2, lines  42-44 perfectly summarize how the staff of The Rocket feels about the recent name changes throughout Slippery Rock University.

From the colleges to degree programs, to Living Learning Communities, an abundance of slightly modified titles have been established by university administration.

The former College of Business, Information, and Social Sciences has become the College of Business following a shift of the former Computer Science Department (now the Department of Computing) to the College of Health Environment and Science.

Similarly, the former College of Humanities Fine and Performing Arts has become the College of Liberal Arts with the integration of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department and the former Professional Studies Department (now the Interdisciplinary Studies Department).

Some name changes were as minute as the Theraputic Recreation Department now being called the Recreational Therapy Department.  

We feel that the massive amount of name changes that have occurred during the past year, while significant in number, are overall trivial in terms of their impact on students.

In most cases, these changes seem to reflect a more accurate depiction of what the group is providing the students. It may be that recreational therapy makes a clearer statement as to how the degree is set up and better establishes the emphasis on therapy to the outside world. 

We’re sure that there are well-considered reasons like this behind all of the name changes which some people may disagree with. 

For instance, we think that the College of Liberal Arts may be too broad of a description for an individual college when Slippery Rock University is a liberal arts university. There also can be a negative connotation on the academic vigor associated with “liberal arts” by the general public which may carry over into the college. 

Semantics aside, we strongly believe that the name is not what is important, but the quality of the education being provided to students. 

We are not concerned with what the university administration decides to call something so much as what is put into the curricula, the funding and the opportunities for students to succeed.

The changes within the Department of Computing, for example, are good examples of necessary alterations to stay current with the dynamic field, and the program likely belonged under the College of Health Environment and Science to begin with. 

Tailoring the degree to remain current and offering specialized tracks allows students to make the most of their degree, and moving it to the College of Health Environment and Science helps establish and strengthen collaborations between departments in the college, such as bioinformatics or computational physics work. 

We think that evaluating the structure of the university and how academic programs are grouped is an important process and one that we commend the staff and faculty of Slippery Rock University for keeping a keen eye on. We just don’t particularly care what those groups decide to call a specific program or college. 


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