Like many other institutions of higher education throughout Michigan, College for Creative Studies has experienced adverse economic impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes increased costs and reduced revenues related to the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, reductions in the endowment due to unstable financial markets, and uncertainty about fall enrollment and student housing capacity.
This reorganization is mission-driven and student-focused, and has been under discussion for some time. After careful consideration, CCS has undertaken a reorganization that involves a personnel reduction and redirects resources to more directly benefit students through technology, improving academic flexibility and responsiveness, and expanded career development opportunities. We deeply regret the loss of 20 of our valued colleagues, but this restructuring hews to our mission and strategic plan and will help to ensure that CCS can successfully overcome these challenging times.
“As we developed this restructuring plan, our decision making was mission-driven and laser-focused on student education and enrichment,” said Don Tuski, CCS president. “Making these changes now will allow us to adapt to the new circumstances facing higher education and deliver an exceptional and safe experience this fall. We are committed to providing the best value and an excellent experience for our students and families.”
Our primary goals in the reorganization were to provide additional support for students through improved and expanded technology, increased career counseling and greater access to practical experiences, and a streamlined administrative structure that will be more responsive to changing academic needs. Key elements of the restructuring include:
- Vince Carducci, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, has accepted the title, Dean Emeritus. Tim Flattery, Chair of Entertainment Arts and Don Kilpatrick, Chair of Illustration, will serve as interim co-leaders of Undergraduate Studies. In that role, they will provide leadership and day-to-day management of the College’s undergraduate departments and serve as the liaison between the faculty, department chairs and the President. Our intent is to provide faculty with more opportunity to adapt curriculum and classroom experiences in response to student needs.
- We are looking carefully at career development and counseling. We intend to bring new emphasis to structuring CCS’s community and corporate partnerships to better support applied learning opportunities for every student. Our goal is to use every available resource to prepare CCS students to full employment or engagement with an individual studio practice. This includes repositioning existing campus gallery spaces to exhibit student, faculty and alumni work and better support student learning and professional preparation.
- We are funding new technology investments to enhance online learning and support social distancing protocols. These include the implementation of new virtual desktop infrastructure; increasing the available equipment for students to check out and use off-campus; and expert support in implementing a best-in-class online learning experience. We will also support the development of the virtual reality lab. These investments are intended to complement and enhance our on-campus educational offerings. Some of these investments are being supported through donor gifts.
- Title IX compliance will be transferred to Deidre Young, Assistant Dean for Institutional Equity and Inclusion.
- Finally, the academic restructuring will be supported by an administrative change that will align community-facing programs and offices — Marketing, Design Core, and Corporate Relations — to increase their impact and better support the student experience. Olga Stella, executive director of Design Core, has agreed to accept additional responsibilities and manage Marketing and Corporate Relations in the interim. CCS’s Institutional Advancement team will tighten its focus on fund development opportunities to strengthen college finances against the on-going effects of COVID-19.
“CCS’s mission is more important than ever in these uncertain times because we develop a creative and talented workforce that helps individuals, organizations and society process and adapt to change now and into the future,” said Jim Nicholson, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Employees and volunteer leadership are confident that these changes will enhance CCS’s resiliency and ensure our future success.”