Quality of Education Topic of Town Hall
March 1, 2007 4:38 PM
A wide range of SF State faculty discussed broad strategic planning, including an end to JEPET testing and CSU students' ability to compete in a globalized society, at an Academic Senate town hall meeting Tuesday on campus.
In what was billed as "Access to Excellence," President Robert Corrigan joined other academic executives, CSU Trustees and members of the public to discuss the future of academic programs at SF State and the CSU system around eight different themes.
“It was all very positive,” Corrigan said after the event. “We all came together to look at what our campus stands for and what we’d like the entire CSU to stand for."
The themes were social justice, student enrollment, the role of the arts on campus, graduate education, international education, academic literacy and campus autonomy within the CSU system. Attendees were divided into eight small groups to cover the topics, then presented their discussions to the senate, highlighting what they found to be the most important aspects of each.
While students were encourged to participate, few were in sight. About 50 people attended.
Presenters had a chance to voice their hopes for the future of planning at SF State during the public comment section.
Midori McKeon, director of foreign languages and literatures, stressed the importance of high-quality international education in a globalized society.
“International education is a vital component of baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and it must be an essential part of the strategic plan,” she said. “San Francisco State has a leading center of international education, so it should be a top priority.”
Audience members also appealed to the senate to consider the importance of literacy and writing skills in students. When the group charged with discussing literacy at the university presented their findings to the senate, they proposed doing away with the JEPET and replacing it with a system that places responsibility for writing proficiency on individual colleges and departments. Under this system, undergraduates would learn to write in their chosen disciplines and graduate students would receive more writing training and other resources.
Corrigan agreed with this approach.
“A focus on writing caught on 20 or 30 years ago, but there were no resources to support departments,” he said. “Everything comes around, and the idea of putting the responsibility on the colleges and departments is a good one. We’ve looked at writing for a long time, and would like to see more attention paid to it.”
Other issues presented included the future of general education requirements, collaboration among Bay Area CSU campuses, a focus on connecting SF State to the community and concerns over changes coming at the expense of faculty members.
McKeon expressed her anxiety about faculty being acknowledged for their role in the university.
“They deserve respect and appreciation,” she said. “I hope they receive it.”
David Meredith, chair of the Academic Senate, who moderated the meeting, summed up the event with his expectations for education.
“It’s important to get students out of the lecture rooms and away from their computers,” he said. “We need to get them out into experiences of off-campus education so they can really learn what they’re learning.”
To make comments on CSU strategic planning and for more information: www.calstate.edu/acadaff/system_strategic_planning/
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