College of General Studies gets makeover with new name
The School of Arts and Sciences announced this week that the College of General Studies will be renamed the College of Liberal and Professional Studies next Tuesday with the hopes of better reflecting the school's mission.
According to executive director of CGS Kristine Billmyer, the project has been in the works for approximately 18 months.
"We wanted to make sure that the name reflects who we are now: a place that engages people and provides them with an Ivy League education that inspires them to make an impact on society," she said.
Billmyer explained that CGS sought student input throughout the process by working with a higher-education consulting firm and surveying alumni as well as all current and even some prospective students.
This isn't the first name change for CGS - since its foundation 115 years ago, the school has been renamed several times.
Initially, it was known as College Courses for Teachers, and its purpose was "to provide a mechanism for local educators," she said.
However, as the school "broadened its mission," it became the College of Collateral Courses in 1933, and was finally christened the College of General Studies in 1958.
Now, LPS is a more appropriate manifestation of the school's evolving mission and purpose, said College Dean Dennis Deturck.
"We want something that prospective students will understand," he said.
Billmyer explained that in recent years more and more professionals have been "hitting the pause button" on their careers to go back to school. The mission of LPS is to reach out to these professionals.
She added that throughout most of its history, CGS focused on educating local people who were "engaged in a life beyond Penn."
Now the newly revised and re-named institution plans to reach beyond the regional border to bring in new students. In particular, LPS will focus on developing its international program.
And while the name change may be difficult for some to swallow, SAS Dean Rebecca Bushnell said she expects students will be excited about the change.
Officials and students agree that the switch should not have any significant effect on how applicants consider the school.
Nevertheless, current CGS student Ari Tolwin said he thinks the new name is a better fit, "particularly because it includes the word 'professional.'"
"Certainly LPS will be doing a lot of marketing to get the new name out there," said Bushnell, but "what is most important is that people identify [LPS] with Penn."