California Studies Saved After Proposal for Discontinuance
Last minute Agreement Made to Save the Minor
February 24, 2005 11:49 PM
The California studies minor may be saved from discontinuance after all, following an agreement between the program’s director and the dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences last week.
“A deal was made and we accepted it,” said Lee Davis, program director of California Studies.
“I met with the director of California studies and her supporters in an effort to achieve the needed saving without discontinuing the program,” said Kassiola. “We adjourned with a plan that I hope can be implemented and agreed to in time to withdraw the discontinuation.”
Kassiola and Davis declined to disclose the details until the plan is finalized. Davis was confident enough of the plan to announce the continuation of the program to her Thursday night class,
Anthropology 352: Peoples and Cultures of California, according to Tiffan Chilcott-Knauss, president of the California Studies Student Association (CaSSA) at SF State.
“She said that we saved California studies,” said Chilcott-Knauss, 23, senior and geography major.
CaSSA was started in January to address the possibility of discontinuance of the program. Members of CaSSA attended the Academic Senate meetings in T-shirts that read: “I’m a California studies minor.”
This was to address the proposal’s claim that there were no California studies minor students. The program now has 14 students, said Davis.
“We’re fighting for something we believe in,” said Davis, who has a Ph.D. in anthropology and took a job organizing the California studies program in 1997.
First developed in 1995, the California studies minor is a program that combines an in-depth study of the state of California with other disciplines. For examples, some of the courses in the minor include English 531: Selected California Literature, Biology 305: Marine Plants and Animals of the California Coast and Geology 272: Earthquakes and the San Andreas Fault.
The proposal for discontinuance is just one of many problems that California studies has faced since its inception. Though published in the Bulletin since academic year 1997-1998, according to Davis, the minor wasn’t viable until it was listed in the Bulletin in Fall 2004.
The minor had too many units and three of the classes that were required were never offered prior to that, said Davis. She also said that she wouldn’t sign off on anyone who wanted to take the minor.
“You couldn’t finish it,” said Davis. “Courses weren’t offered so I told them to just take the classes.”
“It’s bureaucracy,” said Davis.
Even after the senate approved the changes and all of the minor classes were offered, the new 21-unit program missed the publication deadline for the next bulletin. The program was fully listed for the first time in the Fall 2004 bulletin. Unfortunately, SF State officials had decided in Spring 2004 to discontinue the minor.
Davis said that this was one of the reasons why no students were registered as California studies minors as stated in the proposal.
“It doesn’t allow any new students to get in,” said Davis.
The California studies program is only offered at nine of the 23 California State University campuses. Sonoma State University’s California studies program was the only other CSU whose program was proposed for discontinuance, according to Davis. The program was ultimately saved.
One other benefit of discontinuance stated in the proposal was that once the California studies minor was cut, Davis would be able to teach more classes.
“The college has a huge teaching need, (and) there is a really desperate need for teachers,” said Kassiola.
According to Kassiola, BSS has dealt with budget reductions of $1 million this year. Discontinuation of the California studies program will not only save around $12,000 and allow Davis to teach more classes, but will also free up the space which the program currently uses as an office.
The savings would go to Central Administration to give back to the CSU system, according to Kassiola. The free space would go to new faculty to use as offices. Though the details of the proposal have yet to be released, Davis said she is confident that it will pass.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Davis.
Some, though, don’t want to start celebrating until the matter is completely settled.
“I’m waiting on the Senate meeting to get excited,” said Chilcott-Knauss. “We fought as hard as possible.”
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