Recommendations of the Task Force on Academic/Curricular Planning

Executive Summary

The 2005 Task Force on Academic/Curricular Planning was organized at the request of Provost Lucas and the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate to draft an academic plan for the University that includes new majors and credentials through 2015. The Task Force was charged with creating a plan that would build on the curriculum plan developed during 2003-2004 and which would facilitate the University meeting its projected enrollment growth of between 400 and 450 additional Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES) per year.

The Task Force has spent months researching our faculty’s program interests, costs of and enrollment in state support programs throughout the CSU, numbers of degrees granted in various programs, fastest growing programs across the U.S., fastest growing occupations nationally, the major interest areas of community college graduates, and potential job markets in the county. The Task Force also discussed Academic Plan goals with President Rush, met with all faculty and administrators interested in presenting or supporting program proposals, and met with representatives from the Ventura County Community Colleges.

The Task Force developed a series of reports (Appendix I) which include our major findings and recommendations for the future. In addition, we have prepared a planning grid for new programs which appears immediately following this summary. Based on our analysis, we have developed a plan we believe meets the mission and goals of CSUCI, supports our aggressive enrollment growth, proposes innovative programs, and prepares students for the 21 st century workforce.

General Findings:

The Task Force recognizes the hard work that was done to develop the Curriculum Plan draft that was presented to President Rush in June 2004 (Appendix II). This Curriculum Plan was developed through an open and democratic process that reflected faculty input from throughout academic affairs. However, the Task Force finds that the draft plan was overly ambitious in terms of the number of degrees to be offered, and would not adequately prepare the university for the rapid enrollment growth that is currently forecast as it does not include a sufficient number of large enrollment majors in the early years of the plan.

The Task Force concluded that the best, and perhaps only, way to accommodate anticipated enrollment growth of between 400 and 450 FTES per year is to create an Academic Plan that mixes large enrollment programs with a limited number of medium and/or smaller programs that are strongly supported by CSUCI faculty. In addition, because new programs do not begin at capacity enrollment, but must grow over time, and since the realistic time frame for design, approval and implementation of a new degree program is three years, the Task Force recommends that some existing programs be expanded in order to meet enrollment targets. The Task Force recommends that this be done through the creation of new “emphases” within existing academic programs.

The Task Force is concerned about the rapid pace of implementation of new Masters degree programs that was called for in the June 2004 plan and recommends instead that CSUCI follow the CSU Chancellor’s Office protocol for approving new Masters degrees. Masters degree programs are costly as they typically have much lower student faculty ratios (SFRs) than undergraduate programs, and the implementation of labor intensive Masters degree programs limits the resources available for the development of new undergraduate majors. The Task Force recommends that new Masters degree programs not be created until after the offering programs have undergone their five-year reviews, and then, as with all programs, they would be put on the Academic Plan according to the overall goals of curricular balance, enrollment targets, and community need.

In addition, the Task Force is concerned about the lack of cost and enrollment data that have been generated in the past by the academic planning process at CSUCI. We recommend that future planning include detailed cost analysis of the implementation and operating costs associated with new programs including new faculty salaries and benefits, equipment, supplies, facilities, and support staff as well as any costs resulting from accreditation or licensing. In addition, realistic forecasting of enrollment potential of new programs needs to be included in the planning process.

Finally, the Task Force recommends the adoption of a new three year planning process for new majors that allows time for curriculum planning, internal and external approvals and recruitment and hiring of faculty as well as marketing of the program prior to implementation. The Task Force also recommends the establishment of an academic planning group (composed of members of the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee and appropriate administrators) to ensure that the master plan in revisited on an annual basis and that data collection and analysis are institutionalized in the planning process.

Rationale for Inclusion of Programs on the Plan Grid:

The Academic Plan grid recommended by the Task Force follows this narrative. This plan differs from the June 2004 Curriculum Plan both in the earlier implementation of new large programs proposed to achieve balance and meet our ambitious enrollment goals, and in the postponement – or gradual inclusion - of smaller programs over the 2006-2013 period. The new large programs are a mix of previously proposed programs and programs the Task Force proposes based on our research and discussions with faculty, administration, and community college representatives. Undergraduate degrees with considerable doubt about the enrollment viability have not been placed on the plan at this time. However, we find that many of these programs can be initiated as emphases in existing or planned majors, and may warrant eventual placement on the plan as independent majors if demand appears to be sufficient to maintain a high quality academic program.

Proposed for 2006

  • B.A. in Performing Arts, is offered at area community colleges, and will help meet the community need for a cultural center while also bringing CSUCI visible distinction. In addition, the development of Performing Arts will allow CSUCI to provide a stronger general education curriculum, as offerings in this area are currently lacking.
  • B.A. in Political Science is a program necessary for academic balance and is a foundation major in the CSU system. It has the potential to be a medium to large enrollment major, and is not a high cost program. Ideally, an additional large enrollment major should be offered in 2006 to help meet enrollment targets, however, due to the lead time needed to develop a program and secure the necessary approvals, implementing a new program in fall 2006 that is not currently well along the path toward approval is not feasible.
  • Marketing emphasis for the BS in Business degree as a way to help meet enrollment demands.

Proposed for 2007

  • BA in Communication is a popular major throughout the CSU system and provides students with skills that are desired by 21 st century employers.
  • BA in Early Childhood Studies appears to be popular among area community college students and similar majors draw large enrollments across the CSU system.
  • BS in Nursing, a medium size program, and meets an urgent need for nurses in the county. President Rush is currently building partnerships with area medical establishments in an effort to offset the costs of implementing a nursing program, which is a very high cost major.
  • B A. in Multicultural Studies was conceived as an umbrella program that would house emphases in Chicano Studies and subsequently Gender Studies and eventually may support emphases in one of more of the following areas of study: Asian-Pacific, African-American, and Native American studies. The Task Force believes this is the best way to initiate what would otherwise be several very small programs that are nonetheless vital to the CSUCI mission and our academic balance. When the program is firmly established, the possibility of creating more specialized degree programs should be explored. We recommend that this program focus on applied applications to improve the career potential of future majors, and that an interdisciplinary committee be formed to design this program as soon as possible.
  • MA in Education (Principals Leadership) be moved from a special sessions degree program to a state supported program and that a second emphasis (Special Education) be added to the MA in Education degree. This will begin the process of offering state supported Masters degrees in education to assist in the education of current and future teachers and school administrators, and will allow the education program to compete on a more level playing field with its competitors who also offer Masters degrees in addition to post baccalaureate credentials.

Proposed for 2008

  • B.S. Kinesiology, Wellness, Nutrition and Health. The wellness field is an area of rapid job growth in Ventura County and would likely generate high student demand as well. This program could become a signature program of CSUCI.
  • B.S. Criminal Justice is a program that is in high demand among community college students and meets job needs in the area and state. In addition, Criminal Justice is a very low cost program. As with the other newly conceived programs, the Task Force recommends that planning begin immediately with the selection of necessary consultants to design curriculum.
  • Liberal Studies emphasis in Multiple Subject Education which will allow students to pursue both a B.A. degree in Liberal Studies, and a teaching credential within four academic years (known as a blended program).
  • Masters of Arts in English which will provide graduate education in English and assist the English program through the employment of students by the Writing Center.
  • MFA in Art is recommended as a special sessions degree program offered through Extended Education.

Proposed for 2009

  • BS in Computer Engineering, a program that will prepare students to meet the needs of area employers in this rapidly growing field.
  • BA in Philosophy will help broaden our offerings as a comprehensive university and provide much needed support to our general education offerings, particularly in the area of critical thinking.
  • MS in Biology will help us meet the needs of our students by providing technically trained graduates who will be popular with area employers.
  • Education specialist moderate/severe is a credential that is in high demand among students and area schools.
  • Three emphases are also recommended for 2009 which will help meet enrollment targets and broaden the scope of our offerings: Accounting (Business); Theater (Performing Arts) and an emphasis in Liberal Studies that will allow students to obtain a B.A. degree as well as a Special Education teaching credential in four years (another blended program).

Proposed for 2010

  • B.A. in Anthropology. The Task Force supports Anthropology as an important major; however, it is typically a small enrollment major and we believe that overall enrollment at CSUCI will not be able to sustain the program until 2010.
  • Bachelors in Social Work is proposed as new degree program which will prepare students in the helping professions and meet the area demand for increased numbers of social workers that are forecast.
  • The B.S. in Information Technology degree is currently offered as a special sessions program; we recommend that this degree which should prove very popular with area Community College students as well as area employers, be transferred to state support.
  • M.A. in History is also recommended for 2010 as are emphases in Finance (Business) and Music (Performing Arts).

Proposed for 2011

  • B.A. Geography and Urban Studies is a program that will take advantage of developments in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to prepare students for a variety of emerging careers in the private and public sectors.
  • Educational Technology Credential to be offered by the Education program.

Proposed for 2012

  • B.A./B.S. in Applied Physics which is currently scheduled for implementation in 2007 should be deferred until 2012, when enrollment at CSUCI should be able to support degrees.
  • Masters in Public Administration. This program will provide professional education to members of the government and non-profit sectors, including employees of the university.

Proposed for 2013

  • M.S. in Nursing. This program will assist in the advanced preparation of nurses and potentially provide instructors for the undergraduate nursing program.
  • Early Childhood Special Education credential which fills a need in the area schools and supports our existing faculty expertise.

The Task Force does not offer any recommendations regarding new programs for 2014 and 2015.

Recommended Programs to be Studied:

In addition to the degrees, credentials and emphases that are included on our recommended plan, the Task Force identified a number of additional programs that should be studied for possible inclusion on the CSUCI academic master plan. These programs include several Masters degree programs: MA Speech and Language Pathology, MFA Creative Writing, MA History, MA Psychology, MA Clinical and Counseling Psychology, MA Marriage and Family Therapy, Masters of Social Work. These Masters programs should be evaluated not only for their potential to attract sufficient student interest, their relationship to our mission and the career potential of graduates, they need also be analyzed regarding whether the program should be initiated as a special sessions degree through extended education, or as a state supported degree program.

In addition, at the undergraduate level we recommend that CSUCI explore offering another foreign language or foreign languages. We are uncertain whether an additional foreign language will be sustainable as a separate academic major, and recommend exploration of creative ways to offer additional language instruction, perhaps in cooperation with the Center for International Affairs. In addition to the emphases included in our recommendations, faculty members are encouraged to explore additional emphases for inclusion on future iterations of the academic plan. We recognize that many potentially viable emphases are not included in our recommendations; we typically included emphases that would assist in meeting enrollment targets and emphases that at other universities might be separate degree programs.

Action Items:

  • For programs recommended for implementation in 2006, long forms must be the first order of business of the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee when the Committee convenes for fall semester.
  • The New program grid which follows this report should be considered by the Academic Senate for adoption early in Fall Semester.
  • For programs that are recommended for implementation in 2007 and 2008, curricular planning must begin immediately. This should include the formation of interdisciplinary teams from among the CSUCI faculty, as well as the hiring of curricular consultants.
  • The recommended Academic Planning Process outlines a new policy and as such must be considered and enacted by the Academic Senate.
  • Studies should begin immediately on those programs where the Task Force recommended further analysis.