Well, the shoe dropped today. The department I work for at NMSU has officially been taken out of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics and added to University Communications.
On paper, it's just a reporting line change. In real life, it's hard to say what effect it's going to have. The people we're merging with tend to work the marketing/promotion and crisis management angles, whereas we tend to be education and outreach. There are going to have to be some culture changes on both sides to make this work, I suspect.
And as with all major change, people are reacting with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. Any major shift in bureaucracy dregdes up peoples' fear of instability. Hopefully, this move won't be one of those cases when that fear is justified (and we're not out of the woods yet - the Devil's in the details, and there are lots of details left to iron out).
But I'm setting aside my skepticism, hoping that in the end, this will be a good thing. With this move, we will have the opportunity to work on educational outreach materials from all the colleges, so maybe I'll have a chance to work on mathematics or media literacy education for the people of New Mexico. And I'll finally be able to officially develop services and systems that serve the entire university, instead of only our college, something I've been doing on an informal basis anyway.
One exciting tidbit is that the President is hoping to improve the offerings of our local public television station and NPR station. There's some excitement around the office about perhaps being able to develop and produce some excellent southwest-area children's programming, which I think would be a blast. Maybe this move will put us in a position where we can do that. In discussions with my coworkers, we've had many good ideas that would make excellent children's programming, and I don't think it would be that hard to produce if we do it right - certainly, it would be worth the effort.
This is a really stressful time, and I'm as scared as the next guy about the ways this could go wrong for us, as a group or for particular individuals. But now that it's official, the best approach is to hit it full-bore and do the best job we can. If we do that, we might be given the leeway to work on dream projects that weren't possible when we were limited to the scope of the Ag College. I guess we'll see what the future brings.