Story and Photos by Brian N. Willhite, CSUB Public Affairs Intern
As the campus community gathered, some were encouraged, others confused, but all were curious and eager for a better understanding of the upcoming quarter to semester conversion at CSUB.
The Quarter to Semester open Forum was held Jan. 10 in the Doré Theatre to allow faculty, staff, and students to get familiar about proposed changes, and participate in a question and answer discussion. Overall, 28 programs are in the process of undergoing curriculum transformations for the semester conversion in Fall 2016, according to Carl Kemnitz, Associate Vice President for Academic Programs.
Those programs will include nine courses in Arts and Humanities; two in Business and Public Administration; seven in Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering; and 10 in Social Sciences and Education. During the event, department chairs for History, Nursing, Teacher Education, and Public Policy and Administration, outlined examples of transitional activities for each program’s curriculum and they will affect faculty and students.
Jeanne Harrie, chair of the history department discussed how the department has been involved in a program revision since 2012, but that the conversion project has provided an incentive for further progress. She added, the conversion could be an opportunity to expand and bring in new faculty with diverse areas of expertise, benefitting the university and the students.
“As a result of our ongoing discussions it has led to a dramatic restructuring of our major, one that I think is making some people a little uncomfortable. But nonetheless, I think it has been embraced by the department rather enthusiastically,” said Harrie.
Deborah Boschini, Chair of the Nursing Program at CSUB, expressed uncertainty about whether the department will be able to continue offering the same curriculum and how it could negatively affect students going through the program. “If we were to lose the ability to count even one GE course under the same arrangement we have now – three less units in our nursing major – we would be 17th out of 18,” said Boschini.
Of similar nursing programs, CSUB ranks 12th out of 18. “If we lose any more of our major we are going to be at the bottom of the barrel for what we can offer our students,” she added.
During the question and answer session, former student and current CSUB staff member Jenea Benton voiced her concerns about students who are often unable to get the courses they need due to a lack of availability, and asked whether this new conversion will allow students to graduate on time.
“I just want to make sure that they are addressing this issue within each department and that Dr. Kemnitz, who’s in charge of all academic programs, is holding each department accountable so that students can graduate within four years,” Benton said.
A comprehensive resource website for faculty, students, and the community is in development to provide information about the conversion project. It is scheduled to launch within a week (an update and link will be provided at that time). A student specific frequently asked questions section is also provided on the site and will be updated as new questions are proposed via social media, Fireside chats or through the contact link on the site.
The site’s calendar will include dates and information for the Fall 2016 semester through 2017 with extensive information regarding proposed changes to Arts and Humanities; Business & Public Administration; Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering; and Social Sciences and Education. More information will be added as it becomes available.