CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) —

Eastern Illinois University officials have announced major structural changes that will take place over the next two years.

The university is realigning programs and colleges based on work by the university's president's council and vitalization project workgroups, the Journal Gazette & Times Courier reported . The realignment will begin in July.

Changes include creating a new College of Health and Human Services, as well as combining the College of Arts and Humanities with the College of Sciences to create the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The changes are needed to create a framework for the university to grow, create new programs and better support students, said Jay Gatrell, vice president for academic affairs. The shifts will help programs better align with the mission of each college, he said.

"If we are going to create new programs and retain students, we need to have programs and identities that make sense," Gatrell said. "We need to have structures that support the development of new programs as well as our existing outstanding programs."

Several programs may be added once the new structure is implemented, such as occupational therapy and social work, he said.

Some have expressed concerns about combining the arts and sciences into one college. Having the two fields under one banner could help foster innovation, Gatrell said, noting that collaboration between the two groups is already taking place.

The shifts won't result in faculty losses and seeks to remain budget neutral by using existing resources, Gatrell said.

The university hasn't seen such restructuring in 25 years.