CSU Pushing for More Authority to Grant PHDs
Legislation is pushing to allow CSU's to offer doctoral degrees without partnering with UC system in select professional and clinical science degrees.
February 24, 2005 10:46 PM
The California State University system may begin conferring clinical and professional doctoral degrees - independent of the University of California - if the state legislature and the governor approve a new proposal from State Senator Jack Scott, D-Pasadena.
The state bill, SB724, was written to allow the CSU system to address a growing need to provide doctoral degrees in select health and professional fields whose needs, CSU administrators say, are not being met by the UC system.
If passed, the legislation is expected to have an immediate effect on SF State’s audiology department, which trains students to diagnose and treat people with hearing problems.
Dr. Marcia Raggio, a professor of audiology at SF State, said the university needs to expand its masters programs to offer an Au.D., the professional doctorate awarded in audiology that will soon be required to meet California licensing standards.
“There is a huge expansion in the field in terms of knowledge you must have,” said Raggio. “It’s the way the whole industry is headed. We need a doctoral program.”
Under California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, only the UC system has the power to award doctoral degrees. But UC officials have so far opposed the CSU’s attempts to develop its own programs.
Since 1965, the UC and CSU systems have jointly developed a dozen doctoral programs. A partnership between SF State and UC Berkeley offers three professional doctoral degrees in education for individuals who want to be school principals or pursue a career in school administration. Another program, with UC San Francisco, lets SF State students earn one of two physical therapy doctorates.
These programs are too few in number and not being developed throughout the CSU fast enough to meet California’s needs, according to university officials.
“The CSU says joint (doctoral) programs are not coming on board fast enough,” said Jason Murphy, a legislative aide to Scott.
Murphy, who helped work on the proposed legislation, said there seems to be no widespread desire within the UC system to create new programs.
UC spokesperson Brad Haywood said the UC system is committed to saving tax dollars and providing the best education possible.
To give the CSU system permission to develop its own doctoral programs would cost more than joint efforts between the two systems, and could ultimately leave little distinction between the missions of the two universities, Haywood added.
“There is evidence that a joint partnership works,” Haywood said.
The partnerships allow the state to leverage its resources and create less duplication between the two university systems, he added.
The Master Plan defines the UC mission as that of being California’s primary research university and the only university capable of awarding doctoral degrees. The CSU role is limited to teaching undergraduates and awarding master’s degrees and certificates.
UC Provost M.R.C. Greenwood urged the CSU Board of Trustees Committee on Educational Policy in a speech last January not to make piecemeal changes to the state’s Master Plan.
“We need to see if a particular change such as this makes sense given that there are large areas of unmet needs within our existing missions,” she said. “My goal as provost is to have UCs comprehensively look at the state’s need for graduate education across all disciplines, including new and emerging fields.”
But Murphy said the UC is not committing enough resources quick enough to meet California’s needs.
“There is an immediate state need and the UC is not meeting it,” said Murphy.
The legislation isn’t designed to encroach on the UC’s territory, he added. It won’t seek permission to award Ph.D.s that lead to university teaching and jobs. Nor will they push to set up medical and law schools.
“We’re not going after (the) UC’s bread and butter,” Murphy said.
But what they want to do first is set up Au.D. programs. New audiologists, who currently need a master’s degree to diagnose and treat hearing problems, will need a doctoral degree within two years under new requirements.
In California, San Diego State University and UC San Diego have partnered to offer the only joint Au.D. degree in the state. Currently, there are six CSU campuses within California – including SF State – that offer master's degrees in audiology. Five of the six programs may close if they’re not allowed to offer doctoral degrees, CSU officials say.
Several universities have rebuffed the SF State audiology department’s attempts to partner with them to create a joint doctoral degree.
Stanford University, the University of San Francisco and UC San Francisco have all declined to partner with SF State, said Raggio, who added that she worries about a decline in the quality of care for those
Officials at health care provider Kaiser Permanente, a large employer of audiologists in the Bay Area, say they’ve had a hard time hiring enough audiologists to meet their needs, according to Raggio. To fill the gap, officials may turn toward hearing aid technicians to diagnose hearing loss. These hearing aid technicians need only a high school diploma and a passing score on a state exam to diagnose hearing loss.
Often they are employed by the manufacturers of the hearing aids they sell. Unlike audiologists, hearing aid technicians are unable to treat hearing loss with much more than a hearing aid, Raggio said.
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