I hope this message finds you well. Yesterday, the Simmons University Board of Trustees voted to approve a set of recommendations around a broad academic redesign, which is the result of more than a year of reviews, research, and community engagement. These recommendations form a comprehensive vision for the University’s future – one that enables us most effectively to meet the needs of today’s students, accelerate pathways to meaningful careers, and continue to navigate the financial and operational realities of a hyper-competitive higher education environment. It also advances our commitment to inclusion, equity, and social justice.
What does this mean for you as a Simmons student? Current students will experience no interruption in their path to graduation and Simmons will continue to teach all impacted majors referenced below. Simmons remains committed to providing a transformational experience, which has bonded students across generations.
As we move forward, Simmons will implement the following recommendations:
- Development of a new undergraduate Humanities major, which will bring together content from modern languages, literature, the arts, philosophy, history, and other key disciplines to strengthen students’ grounding and understanding of the world. Students who graduate with a Humanities major will engage in multiple perspectives, understand culture and communication, and be prepared for work across a variety of fields. We will be sunsetting the standalone majors in Art, Arts Administration, Asian Studies, French, Music, and Philosophy. Our Spanish major will be transitioned into a new Applied Spanish Language and Culture major to support language acquisition and professional practice in a multilingual world. We will continue to offer our minor in Studio Art as well as Arts Administration, and the Trustman Gallery will remain open. To support this integrated approach to the Humanities, we will close the Departments of Art & Music, Modern Language and Literatures, and Philosophy.
- Development of a new integrated major in Mathematical Sciences focused on applied, integrated learning. We will sunset majors in Biostatistics, Financial Math, Math, and Statistics as well as the combined Econ and Math major. We will continue to offer a standalone major in Economics. With a forward-looking approach to undergraduate education, our Mathematics faculty are developing this new, applied major with a focus on career readiness.
- Additionally focusing on the importance of integrated learning and offering students a broad experience in their field, we will integrate our Environmental Sciences content into Biology, creating a specialized track and giving students exposure to broader content. Our International Relations major will be redeveloped as a track within Political Science exposing students to a range of policy topics both locally and abroad. To support this approach, we are sunsetting the stand-alone Chemistry Management major, while maintaining independent majors in Chemistry and Business & Management.
- Development of three new graduate programs in Strategic Communications, Data Science, and Management that support professional development and career acceleration.
- Transition to a six schools structure highlighting our signature strengths and elevating our humanities, social sciences, and science disciplines: School of Nursing, School of Social Work, School of Library and Information Science, School of Management, Gwen Ifill School of Media, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and the School of Science and Health Professions.
Although the decision to close three departments was difficult, we are confident that these decisions will help ensure a vibrant future for our students of today and tomorrow. I am grateful for the collaboration and creative thinking of our faculty, which played a key role in enabling us to minimize further impacts to our community and to retain more than 90% of our faculty members.
At the same time, we are reaffirming our commitment to the liberal arts and humanities through the creation of the new Humanities major and graduate degree in Strategic Communications.
Perhaps most exciting, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Simmons Edge, a defining hallmark of the Simmons experience that will provide all undergraduate students with the opportunity to earn an affordable and accelerated graduate degree. This will complement the integrated career and advising support, and access to real-world learning, research, and internship opportunities already available in your chosen fields. More information will be shared in the coming days.
While higher education is experiencing a period of rapid change, we are excited about the new investments we are making, which will be phased-in through a multi-year process and ensure Simmons will continue to thrive for the next 125 years.
Please email [email protected] with any questions and visit the Building our Future page for the latest updates.
Lynn Perry Wooten