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Frequently Asked Questions

Note: These archived pages are no longer active and the information is not current. They detail the process W&M undertook to explore the idea of reorganizing data and computing units before final decisions were made. For current information, please visit New School in Computer Science, Data Science, Applied Science and Physics.
What are the goals of this initiative? 
  • To maintain and expand William & Mary’s excellence in teaching and research in the rapidly evolving fields of computer science, data science, and the applied sciences.
  • To provide world-class, well-funded graduate research programs, which in these fields is necessary to maintain cutting-edge undergraduate programs at a level commensurate with W&M’s standing.
  • To increase William & Mary's ability to attract and retain exceptional faculty, staff and students.
  • To expand the level of visibility, research, national attention and external funding in those fields.
Why are those goals important? 

The goals help William & Mary respond to the needs of the 21st century:

  • To meet expanding student interest.
  • To provide better preparation to students for career opportunities that build on competence in those fields.
  • To support related research and teaching in several areas of the arts and sciences, as well as connections to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the business, education and law schools.
  • To leverage research excellence in those fields to increase the university’s recognition, attract outstanding faculty and graduate students, enhance the quality of undergraduate teaching, and attract outstanding undergraduate students.
What is being proposed? 
  • The creation of a new, more autonomous academic entity (“new school”) comprising  applied science, computer science, and data science as the initial core units.
  • A framework comprising core membership and flexible affiliations by individuals or program clusters to maintain and expand collaborations between the new school and other university units.
How does this proposal relate to Vision 2026?

The proposal is well aligned with all four cornerstone initiatives of Vision 2026. Careers and Data are directly addressed through this proposal; Democracy and Water indirectly.

  • The disciplines involved in this proposal support professions and industries that are experiencing substantial growth and evolution, and the new school will improve the Career prospects of William & Mary students as they are set to become future leaders.
  • With Data Science being an integral part of it, the proposed new school will play a critical role in W&M's pursuit of this initiative.
  • The new school can support activities under the Democracy and Water initiatives through collaborations with colleagues in arts & sciences, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and the law school.
Why is a more autonomous entity needed to achieve the goals?
  • There is a clear trend at other universities with which W&M competes for students, faculty and funding to establish separate schools in these disciplines. The separate units offer those schools greater recognition, increased flexibility in adjusting programs to meet rapid changes in these disciplines, and improved access to external resources.
  • The schools also provide the scale needed for depth in a variety of application areas. Policies and procedures that may be best for all disciplines taken together understandably limit the flexibility to deal with the special needs of individual disciplines. That is not unique to these fields, but it is an impediment in meeting the demands of rapidly evolving disciplines.
Where are we in this process? 
  • The provost, in consultation with the acting dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences and with feedback from the Faculty Assembly, Faculty Affairs Committee, and other constituents has established a steering committee with broad representation to guide the process of refining the proposal as appropriate.
  • The institutional change guidelines of the university offer the formal process by which new units are founded at William & Mary. It includes coordination with a number of administrative organizations, including human resources, finance, etc. Any new unit that might emerge from this process would have to be approved by the Board of Visitors and ultimately by SCHEV.