A matter of time and money

By Rachel Winter

Key concerns regarding timing and money were discussed at
Wednesday’s Academic Senate meeting about calendar conversion.

Faculty and staff voiced concerns and opinions from their
respective departments, as well as whether their departments were
for or against semester calendar conversion.

While a number of the vocalized concerns were against a switch,
David Speak, vice chair of the Academic Senate and chair of the
Political Science Department, said it was not a clear-cut

“My best guess is that the faculty is more or less evenly
divided on this,” said Speak. “Significant proportions of the
faculty would be in favor if there was an adequate funding and an
adequate timetable. Nobody is willing to convert on a foolish
timetable. Given adequate resources and timetable, I think at least
a significant proportion of the faculty is going to favor

Gwen Urey, chapter president of the California Faculty
Association and urban and regional planning professor, expressed
concern over the money that is supposed to come to the university
when and if Cal Poly Pomona is to make the switch.

“At this point, Provost [Marten] denBoer’s assurances” I’m not
sure if I believe those promises and I would want those promises in
writing with a lot of detail about how the faculty would be
compensated for the work of conversion,” said Urey. “If we convert,
it would be so foolish to try and do it as efficiently [without

denBoer, vice president of Academic Affairs, said if the funding
for the switch is not there, then conversion would not happen and
most of the funding would go toward faculty for conversion.

Timing of the conversion was also a concern among faculty
members, as many said now is not a good time to be thinking about
converting to semesters due to the university’s lack of funds.

“There was a lot of talk about timing: Whether this was the
right time to do it given the budget pressure ” and that’s
certainly a valid point,” said denBoer. “But I would argue there is
probably no good time to do this if we want to do it. I think at
some point it’s something we will probably have to do.”

Cal Poly Pomona is one of the few California State Universities
that still remains on the quarter system, a fact denBoer said might
not be a good thing.

“If you look at the number of universities that were on the
quarter system even just 10 or 15 years ago, we are going to be a
tiny minority in the not-too-distant future,” said denBoer. “That’s
probably not a good place for us to be.”

Dale Turner, philosophy professor and senator of the College of
Letters, Arts and Sciences, said there is a general distrust in
whether or not what the chancellor’s office says about funding will
happen, with Urey reiterating that funding promises won’t be
trusted until they are in writing.

Results of a survey taken by students at Cal Poly Pomona showed
that of the 2,700 students who took the survey, 92 percent were
against conversion.

Associated Students, Inc. also voiced opposition to the switch
and said student voices shouldn’t be overlooked.

“With 2,700 students voting on such an item, this is a fact that
this is an important thing that we really need to follow and it’s
really annoying to hear some people mention 11 percent is not
credible,” said Ismael Souley, ASI president.

Hector Mireles, associate physics professor, said students’
needs and wants have to be looked at just as much as the needs and
wants of everyone else.

“We must take into account the real composition of our students
and the type of students that we have as constituents,” said
Mireles. “Our Cal Poly [Pomona] students are seeing the pains of
the budget cuts and the economic crises in Southern California. We
need to look at the kinds of students we are. They’re working much
more than any other students I’ve seen ” Quarters are a lot more
flexible for them than being in a class for six months, which is a
long, long time. Let’s think of the particular kind of student who
comes to Cal Poly [Pomona].”

While concerns against a switch were vocalized, University
President Michael Ortiz said graduation rates were a concern going
into conversion talks.

“If we were doing as we say we should be doing and we were
graduating students the way we should be graduating students based
on the quality of students that we admit, I don’t think we would be
having this discussion,” said Ortiz after the meeting.

In 2010, the overall six-year graduation rate in the CSU system
was approximately 46 percent and in January of that same year it
was announced that a graduation initiative was in place to raise
the percentage up to 54 percent by 2016.

Greg Toumassian contributed to this article

A matter of time and money

Lina Bhambhani / The Poly Post

A matter of time and money

A matter of time and money

Lina Bhambhani / The Poly Post

A matter of time and money

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