Agenda Item FA 12-10

Submitted by the Executive Committee

Childhood Education Department Name Change Request

03/01/12: Passed

03/08/12: Approved

Childhood Education Department Name Changed Request



January 18, 2012


TO: Patrick Plumlee, President, Faculty Association
FROM: Larry G. Daniel, Dean, COEHS
SUBJECT: Proposal for Departmental Name Change


The Department of Childhood Education has made a request that the name of their department be changed to "Department of Childhood Education, Literacy, and TESOL."


This name change was discussed by the departmental faculty during November and December of last year. In December, the departmental faculty, following departmental procedures, voted in favor of the proposed new name.


Following receipt of the departmental recommendation from Chair, Ronghua Ouyang, I placed the item on the agenda of our COEHS Leadership Team (which includes the college's chairs and directors). All Leadership Team members were provided opportunity for input and were invited to seek feedback from their constituencies if desired. Leadership Team members unanimously approved the name change.


Based on the affirmative vote of the departmental faculty following appropriate deliberation, the recommendation of the chair, and the support of the COEHS Leadership Team, I recommended the proposal to the Faculty Association with only one reservation, namely the use of the acronym "TESOL" (teaching English to speakers of other languages), in the proposed name. My review of department and other unit names across campus suggests that there are not other examples of this practice; hence, the use of an acronym within a unit name appears to be precedent setting. Faculty and many students in the COEHS would automatically identify the meaning of "TESOL" as it is an established professional acronym used extensively in the professional literature. I am not as sure that the general university or external community would automatically know its meaning.


Rationale supporting the name change follows:

  • The department's programs and coursework in Literacy and TESOL are not inherently communicated by the current name, "Childhood Education." Further, both Literacy and TESOL as reflected in the departmental curriculum include preparation of educational professionals to work with students of all ages (birth to adult); the term "childhood" in the department name usually refers only to students in the early to middle childhood range. The addition of "Literacy" and "TESOL" to the department name would provide visibility to these areas and distinguish that they are not related only to the education of younger children.

  • The proposed name is consistent with the general structure of names of departments within the College, namely that the names reflect the specific programs within the department and that anything reflected in the title is unique to the mission of that department.

In sum, notwithstanding my one expressed reservation, I support the proposal.


Cc:       Ronghua Ouyang, Chair, Department of Childhood Education