Simmons’ four colleges to be redesigned into two

“The pandemic has changed a lot in higher education and it really has caused us to reimagine who Simmons is [with] the restructuring,” says Wooten.


Adriana Arguijo Gutierrez

Simmons’ Main College Building, April 2022.

Abrielle Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Provost Russ Pinizzotto confirmed in a press conference on Dec. 6, 2022 with student journalists that the four colleges at Simmons University are being redesigned into two. This redesign will completely restructure the Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities, the College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice (CSSPP), the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences (CNBHS), and the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences (COPIS). 

President Lynn Perry Wooten says that Simmons has been “strategic” in its thought process behind the redesign, and that there are two areas of focus in mind that highlight the university’s strengths. The first focus takes the sciences, math, natural sciences, and health sciences and puts them under one college. The second focus will take the social sciences, humanities, library science, and business and put those under another college.

Departments affected by this change that were previously under the same college will be moved under one of the two new colleges, meaning several departments will be operating under a new dean

With the department shifts, Simmons is now tasked with renaming the two colleges that will be left. 

“The two new colleges will both probably end up with new names but we don’t know what those new names are. But we definitely will be keeping Ifill as part of the name of [a] college,” says Pinizzotto. 

Interim Dean of the Ifill College, Diane Grossman, explains that Simmons is not big enough to sustain four colleges. In an interview, she mentions that it can be difficult to coordinate with multiple colleges, and that reorganizing the colleges will be one way to combat that challenge. 

“The pandemic has changed a lot in higher education and it really has caused us to reimagine who Simmons is [with] the restructuring,” says Wooten.

Another reason Simmons is redesigning its colleges is due to finances. “Part of this [redesign] is to try to get our finances a little bit stronger, part of it is academic,” says Pinizzotto. Notably, Grossman and Chief Financial Officer, Meghan Kass, explain that there will be two deans instead of four, which also means there will be only two individuals making dean-level salaries. 

“We’re always looking for efficiency and how to operate optimally,” says Kass. “It’s not the reason for some of the changes we’re trying to make, it is a side effect.”

The redesign is for “efficiency and rightsizing,” Wooten adds. Rightsizing can be described as restructuring an organization by reducing or cutting costs, reorganizing employees, and/or changing job roles in order to make a profit or operate more efficiently. 

“[We are] asking ‘Where do we need faculty and staff? What programs do we need them in?,” Wooten said. “[These considerations are] given what the university looks like today, not what it looks like yesterday.” 

The implementation of the academic redesign is set to begin July 1, 2023.