The University of Tulsa has announced that the biology, chemistry, geosciences and physics departments will join nursing, kinesiology and rehabilitative services and communication sciences and disorders to form the Oxley College of Health and Natural Sciences in 2023-24. A structural change, this shift does not represent any changes in curriculum, faculty or physical space.
“With the reinstatement of the Ph.D. programs in chemistry and physics by President Carson earlier this semester, this realignment demonstrates TU’s commitment to the natural sciences and creates fertile ground for growth in human health sciences through collaboration between departments,” said Provost George Justice.
Recently approved by The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees, this reorganization has received overwhelming support from faculty and department chairs due to the potential for undergraduate, graduate and faculty research.
“Our department has evolved somewhat into a health science department,” said Chapman Professor Kenneth Roberts, Chemistry and Biochemistry chair. “Many of our students are pre-med, so we are optimistic about the environment for collaboration with Health Sciences. This move further opens the door for our faculty and students to participate in clinical research.”
“Our faculty look forward to enhancing existing ventures and forging new opportunities for streamlined pre-health advising and mutually beneficial curricular expansion,” said Professor Mark Buchheim, Biological Science chair. “We anticipate numerous partnerships within health sciences given our parallel expertise and interests in neurobiology and the study of disease.”
“TU is investing in the STEM disciplines, including critical support in Health Sciences, in ways that will make a real difference not only to our faculty and students but also to the greater Tulsa community,” said Professor Scott Holmstrom, Physics & Engineering Physics chair.
“Geosciences have the potential to provide solutions to a wide range of environmental and naturally induced health issues. As a multidisciplinary scientific field, our department is excited to expand our work and further explore collaborative areas such as energy transition, environment, and planetary sciences,” said Jingyi Chen, Decker Dawson Professor of Geophysics and chair of Geosciences.
With the upcoming retirement of Jim Sorem, dean of the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences, this realignment creates an opportunity for TU to identify a candidate who can focus on growth as the dean of the new College of Engineering and Computer Science.
“Engineering and Computer Science represent two of the most successful programs within The University of Tulsa with several programs ranking among the top 5 and 25 in the nation,” said Justice. “Creating the College of Engineering and Computer Science helps us attract the most visionary and ambitious dean to lead those programs.”
Effective fall 2023, university leadership anticipates no impact to students currently enrolled in or planning to enroll in these areas through this administrative change.
“We welcome our colleagues from the natural sciences and look forward to the many collaborative opportunities this realignment provides,” said Ron Walker, interim dean of Oxley College. “We are excited to become the Oxley College of Health and Natural Sciences.”