University Regents to consider name change for Institute of Technology to College of Science and Engineering

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents will receive a request from University administration on Dec. 10 to change the name of the Institute of Technology to the College of Science and Engineering, effective July 1, 2010. The Educational Planning and Policy Committee will vote on the issue Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, and the full Board of Regents will vote on Friday, Dec. 11, 2009.

The purpose of the name change to College of Science and Engineering (COSE) is to more clearly describe the unique combination of science and engineering disciplines within the college. Official say this will help raise the national and international profile of the college's science and engineering programs among prospective students and faculty, business partners, and research-granting agencies.

"The current college name of the Institute of Technology (with its acronym IT) has become increasingly problematic in terms of securing financial support and recognition for critical academic programs," said Institute of Technology Dean Steven L. Crouch. "Today, IT has come to mean Information Technology to virtually everyone. In addition, few people outside the University have an understanding of the difference between the Institute of Technology and various research institutes at the University that do not have academic degree programs."

Crouch also pointed out that while several highly regarded Institutes of Technology exist in the United States, these names represent entire institutions that also have separate colleges of engineering, sciences, etc.

Changing the name of the college has been thoroughly discussed for more than a year.

  • In fall 2008, the Institute of Technology Dean's Advisory Board recommended that the Dean pursue a possible name change for the college.
  • In January 2009, the college publicly announced the decision to move forward on exploring the change.
  • During spring semester 2009, the college worked with the University's Carlson School of Management's Brand Enterprise program to assist with research that involved a wide variety of stakeholders, including alumni, students, faculty, staff, business leaders, and other groups.
  • This past summer and fall, the Dean consulted with several student and faculty groups, including the Institute of Technology Student Board and the Minnesota Student Association. He also consulted with the deans and department heads in the College of Biological Sciences and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences.
  • In November 2009, the Dean announced his intention to recommend the name change to the provost in his "State of the Institute of Technology" address.

Members of the Institute of Technology Dean's Advisory Board have agreed to donate private funds to cover the costs of the name change to ensure that no funds are taken away from any other important financial matters this year due to this change.

Preparations for the name change will begin this month, with full implementation this summer including the launch of a new College of Science and Engineering Web site and revised materials for new student orientation and prospective student events.

The Institute of Technology was formed in 1935 when the University combined programs in engineering, chemistry, architecture and mining. Today, the college encompasses 10 engineering programs, computer science, mathematics, statistics and five physical sciences including physics, chemistry, astrophysics, geology and geophysics. The University of Minnesota is the only major research institution in the United States that combines the science and engineering disciplines within one academic unit of the university.

December 9, 2009