CPP Academic Senate approves two policies, addresses concern for faculty workload

By Alondra Tamayo and Christian Park- Gastelum, March 19, 2024

Cal Poly Pomona’s Academic Senate met for its second congregation March 13, passing two bills to be sent to University President Soraya M. Coley for final approval and addressing the need for faculty support in departments.

A majority of the senate agreed to remove pre-requisites and change the course name of IGE 2150 “Ways of Doing: Culture, Society, Science, and Sustainability” to “A Sustainable Tomorrow: From Industrialization to Environmentalism.” The removal of pre-requisites and name change aims to facilitate enrollment and timely completion for the GE requirement, according to the General Education Committee. The revisions will not affect its ability to meet GE Sub Areas C2 and D1 requirements.

Additionally, the senate approved necessary modifications for the wording in Policy 1419, as it contradicted with Policy 1121, which was passed in 2019.

Policy 1419 restricts students from enrolling in both a bachelor’s and master’s program or two graduate programs simultaneously. The only exceptions are for students pursuing their teaching credentials along with their master’s.

Policy 1121 enables students to achieve their bachelor’s and master’s degree at once through a single study, referred to as a “blended study.” Although CPP does not offer a program referred to by Policy 1121, departments have expressed enthusiasm in administering the five-year program.

Display of Senators name tags on a desk. | Alondra Tamayo

Upon approval of senate majority, bills are passed to Coley’s desk, in which she has 45 instructional weekdays to approve the report. This will be the ultimate approval and execution of the senate majority passed bills.

“The policy is not implemented until the President approves it,” said College of Business Administration Academic Senate Chair Rita Kumar. “If it’s not approved, it goes back to the executive committee, but that is very rare. Sometimes it could be returned from the president’s office with some minor modifications or suggesting a few changes upon approval.”

With the potential approval of the program, students will be able to enroll in both a bachelor’s and master’s, thereby double counting their units, according to Kumar.

As the senate moved forward from changes regarding student affairs, bills addressing faculty support were introduced by Alex Small, Physics and Astronomy department chair, because of the heavy workload staff are enduring.

“The sheer amount of tedious work that we have to do because we don’t have enough administrative support coordinators; every faculty member has had to take on a much larger burden,” said Small. “Meanwhile the morale of our administrative support coordinators has also gone downhill because the dean’s office and the central administration expect them to do more, while they have even fewer coworkers in comparable positions to support them.”

Non-tenured lecturers are to be released from their instructional duties if there is no work to be allocated to them.

Enrollment fluctuation from fall to spring affect lecture class sizes from being evenly distributed among non-tenured lecturers when the second half of the academic school year begins. For example, freshmen are highly encouraged to take math in the fall, leaving more vacated math courses in the spring and affecting the amount of work that could have been assigned to lecturers.

According to Small, implications may arise for future recruitment if there is a pattern of lecturer dismals; it becomes repellent to prospective lecturers at CPP.

“It’s about the enrollment changing a lot from one semester to the next, and this makes it very hard to recruit and retain good people because essentially, if there’s not enough work to go around, there are certain default processes that lease senior people are usually the first to go,” said Small. “It’s going to be really hard to retain if we get a reputation as a place where the lease senior people are likely to be gone in spring.”

In an effort to increase financial support, S. Terri Gomez, interim and vice president of Academic Affairs, plans to utilize this summer semester to take advantage of two funding opportunities.: CSU’s reallocation of permanent based funding to institutions that are meeting targets, such as CPP, and CSU Compact with the governor.

For the upcoming summer session, upper and lower division courses will be moved to stateside (state supported), leaving non-GE classes as self-support. Moving GE courses in the summer to stateside means students pay less than usual along with more financial aid options.

As for faculty, there is an enrollment-based compensation for all courses. The state summer courses do not replace academic year workload. Salary funding for summer will be distinct from academic year budgets, so they don’t interfere with regular year academic budgets, according to Gomez.

Feature image courtesy of Alondra Tamayo.

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