The duration of Ball State's College of Applied Sciences and Technology is in jeopardy.
As early as the Fall 2017 semester, CAST may find itself getting dissolved, with the college's faculty, staff and degree programs being moved to other academic colleges and departments on the campus.
The decision about whether CAST should continue to exist as its own college has been a question in limbo for over a year. When the College of Health opened in Fall 2016, the nutrition and dietetics departments moved from CAST to the new college. At the time, College of Heath dean Mitchell Whaley said the new college would have a couple hundred faculty and anywhere from 3,500 to 4,000 students once fully populated.
Since then, there have been conversations about adding programs to make CAST stronger. However, some faculty and administrators are still in favor of closing the college altogether, including Interim President Terry King, who led a discussion about the future of CAST in a meeting on Tuesday.
“I don’t see any advantages for keeping [CAST] as it is,” he said. "We've been talking about this for a while, and now we're having discussions about what plans we've identified."
Regarding CAST programs and faculty members, King said he's looking to move them to new colleges where they can "grow and become more successful at what they do," although he would not say definitely that the college's dissolution was official at this time.
Individual program’s faculty members are supposed to work together, King added, and talking to other academic department leaders to decide what college they would like to move should be "part of the process."
If and when the plan becomes official, King said, the colleges absorbing the transferring programs will vote on whether or not they will be accepted.
“If there is no best fit, then we will find a way to accommodate it," King said. "[CAST] is a very small college, but there are good programs and faculty in the college — I want them to move and grow."
Faculty and staff members "shouldn't be worried" about their positions disappearing, King said. If academic programs move to different colleges, faculty will still be needed as they are now.
Academic course requirements for students enrolled in academic programs currently in CAST would also not be affected.
"The administrative structure will change, but everything physically will stay the same," King said.
Although some present at the discussion expressed positivity about the changes, others were not so adamant.
"The department of Family and Consumer Sciences would be stronger together than broken apart," one CAST faculty member said during the discussion. "Together, we are able to accomplish so much. I just have a hard time seeing us being as successful if we are smaller."
King said faculty at the university's seven other colleges are currently having discussions about what departments and programs they're open to absorbing. So far, King said, there have only been "positive reactions and conversations" from leaders in those colleges.
The Daily News will continue to report on this story.