CCAS departments find new homes in Academic Center

Media Credit: Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

At least three departments in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences are moving to a more unified locations this year, like switching floors in Rome and Phillips halls to be closer together.

Updated: Jan. 28, 2016 at 10:25 a.m.

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences departments are moving under one roof.

At least three departments in the school are all in the process of moving to more unified locations this year, changing floors in Rome and Phillips halls to be closer together or moving out of other buildings on campus to work in Rome and Philips halls. Officials said the moves are part of a long-term University construction plan and will help members in those departments collaborate more often.

The women’s studies program, statistics, English, classical and Near Eastern languages and civilizations departments have already moved or will be moving later this semester.

Some faculty said they were informed of the move in December, which took place only days before the start of the spring semester – leaving little time for faculty to make the adjustment.

University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said in an email that department members were able to move because science departments moved into the Science and Engineering Hall, freeing up space in Rome and Phillips halls.

Hiatt said GW constructed “general purpose classrooms” in Tompkins and Bell halls last summer, a project they will continue this upcoming summer to add classroom capacity. Last year, then-Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman said those buildings would undergo renovations to move classes formerly held off campus to on-campus locations.

CCAS Dean Ben Vinson said in an email that the women’s studies program will move out of their townhouse located at 22 and I streets to Phillips Hall some time this year. Women’s studies faculty have said in the past their department will move this semester. Hiatt declined to comment on what the townhouse would be used for in the future.

Robert McRuer, the chair of the English department, said the move helped his staff work together more.

“We’re quite happy with the move, actually, which has us all on one floor together for the first time,” McRuer said in an email.

Last year when CCAS biologists and physicists were left out of the Science and Engineering Hall move, faculty members of those departments said it was a challenge to hold together departments that are physically spread out across campus and that physical proximity is helpful in research and teaching.

Wayne Millan, an adjunct classics professor, said administrative staff members were key in making the move possible by planning and physically helping faculty members in the short amount of time they had.

“Our department administrative staff went out of their way to make this move possible given that there was no room for error in the timing,” Millan said.

Faculty said that even with the short notice of the news, they were happier with the larger offices, renovated spaces and better accessibility to other faculty in their own departments.

“A significant part of doing research is spent on sharing your ideas with co-workers, helping out their problems,” Emre Barut, an assistant professor of statistics, said. “It’s much easier to do that if you only need to walk down the aisle.”

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly attributed a quote to University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt. CCAS Dean Ben Vinson provided the update on the women’s studies program. We regret this error. The post was also updated to clarify a statement from Hiatt.

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