MU continues plan to disband NSEI

The Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute was established in 2002.

Cait Campbell / Graphic Designer

In the wake of heated debates between administrators and faculty at the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute, MU still plans to disband the program.

Students in the program will be redistributed to different academic departments. These changes will not go into effect until all of the program’s current students, and students entering the program in Fall Semester 2012, have graduated.

“The official plan hasn't changed,” Graduate Dean George Justice said. “The university's programs in Nuclear Engineering and Science will be expanding with the collaboration of faculty across the university, including faculty in the College of Engineering. The faculty members in NSEI with tenure homes in the Graduate School will find new tenure homes by July 1, 2014.”

Tenured professors are challenging this decision to restructure the program, claiming administrators are in violation of the Collected Rules and Regulations by requiring tenured faculty to find new departmental homes without consent.

“On March 12, 2012, without warning to faculty or students, the administration announced that NSEI would no longer exist by March 15, 2012,” Eddie Adelstein, American Association of University Professors member, wrote in a letter dated May 18 to the UM System Board of Curators. “At the same time, the website was dismantled and a sense of institutional panic developed.”

The main goal of restructuring NSEI is to further develop the program. Energy companies Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric Company are working to secure a contract with MU to build a small nuclear reactor, which would have federal funding of about $452 million.

MU is working to respond to new economic opportunities in the areas of nuclear science and engineering as well as achieve national accreditation for MU’s nuclear engineering degree, MU spokesman Christian Basi said.

“The college is currently preparing the curriculum, energizing the faculty, obtaining industrial input and obtaining necessary university approvals to offer M.S. and Ph.D.s in emphasis areas in nuclear engineering,” Basi said.

Requirements for students currently pursuing nuclear science and engineering degrees will not be greatly altered with the changes to the general nuclear science program.

“The restructuring will not affect current students,” Justice said. “Students coming into the university after Fall 2012 to pursue nuclear engineering and science degrees will have a range of options to pursue this work at a very high level. We are working on the most effective way to increase offerings to serve those students.”

Though there are disagreements about the handling of the situation, both sides are interested in the welfare of the nuclear engineering and science degrees at MU and the welfare of its students and faculty.

“The University of Missouri remains fully committed to excellence in nuclear science and engineering in service to our students, our state and our nation,” Basi said. “MU is reconfiguring its resources to maximize their potential in the face of new demands and opportunities. The university greatly values the many contributions NSEI faculty continue to make to the university and to the nuclear engineering industry.”

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