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Academic Senate approves EWS movement to CLASS

By Samantha Padilla and Sherrie Williams, Mar. 22, 2022

During its March 9 meeting, Cal Poly Pomona’s Academic Senate voted and approved the movement of the Department of Ethnic Women Studies from the College of Education and Integrative Studies to the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences during the referral’s second reading.

Approved with a 73% majority, 21% no and 6% abstaining vote, the reading is now sent to University President Soraya Coley to approve, reject or send back to the senate with modifications to be made.

There were several questions and concerns over what this change would mean to the Ethnic Women Studies’ curriculum and how its disciplines align with CLASS disciplines.

“(I was) talking to a member of the original department, and they merely said there was not an agreement on the part of CEIS and the EWS faculty being told they had no choice,” said Sen. Lee-Anne Milburn from the College of Environmental Design during the meeting.

The report states EWS faculty expressed they had close to no information from the administration about transitional plans in the fall of 2021.

“This was left in the hands of the department to decide with no sense of pressure from the provost’s office, CLASS or CEIS,” said Interim Provost Iris Levine in response. “This has been a topic for a number of years here on campus…it’s a difficult decision, and I appreciate the depth of conversation that went into this.”

Sen. Alex Small from the College of Science reassured the senate about the conflicting views of EWS’ complicated move.

“We have heard a lot of different perspectives,” said Small. “We engaged in repeated in-depth consultations with the EWS department and had small working groups from within the committee engage in conversations with smaller EWS cohorts.”

These conversations led to a general report of the EWS department faculty.

Small continued, “The report that we wrote does cast some significant criticism on the initial process and we can say at this time the move is supported.”

This move compares with the Interdisciplinary General Education department merger into the Liberal Studies department when the AP Committee concluded that it was time to think about the program’s future at Cal Poly Pomona last summer.

The transition of IGE to Liberal Studies starts this summer in hopes of completion in the fall semester.

Sen. Dennis Quinn from College of Education and Integrative Studies and chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary General Education, gave his perspective on curriculums moving departments.

“We talked about having an interdisciplinary major and have not gone too far with that,” said Quinn. “As a program, we will continue to teach the same classes, curriculum and find the synergies of the liberal studies and IGE department.”

California State University Academic Senator David Speak reassured the senate that the IGE department’s change was one mutually agreed on by the department, in contrast to EWS’s move.

“If this move has any pragmatic implications, it certainly does not have any unnecessary, negative pragmatic implications,” said Speak. “I think the hope is that the department, the combined faculty, will be able to better support IGE going forward.”

In other business, Sen. Saeideh Fallah Fini of the College of Engineering spoke briefly about the election process.

Vice Chair Nicholas Von Glahn of CLASS nominated Sen. Rita Kumar of the College of Business as vice chair, and Quinn nominated Von Glahn as chair of the Academic Senate for the following year.

Other nominations are due March 23 by 5 p.m. via email at senate@cpp.edu. The next Academic Senate meeting is scheduled for April 13.

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