Friday, February 09, 2007

When colleges breed 

Reorganization of universities happen often. My dear alma mater, Claremont Graduate School (yes, they call themselves a University now, but I am stubborn) divided itself into schools a decade ago. The reasons then, as they are for many places, have more to do with budgets and turf than they do mission. A new department or college means a new dean or director, new stationery, a bigger office, etc. It has precious little to do with mission.

That doesn't mean, though, that some in the school will use the reorganization to make some vision statement or create key performance indicators for a strategic plan that is as vacuous as anything Dilbert could create. Thus David Downing finds the University of Minnesota's new College of Design's mission to be a little, well, unhinged from traditional architectural colleges. He notes from a story:
The College of Design educates students to be leaders in the field of social change via design and to be visionaries for a better future.

...Preparing students to enter the "design economy" and to address the need for a more sustainable and equitable designed environment will focus its attention in the coming years. It will work to connect design disciplines to each other and to other fields not normally thought of as design related.
In other words, it will cease to be a place where one actually does architecture and learns about creating buildings. I'm sure that will enhance the marketability of their students.