Cal State L.A.


University Transformation

This page describes one possible approach to University Transformation.

Step 1. Draft a statement of principles

Write a draft statement of principles as guidance for where Transformation is expected to lead. The fundamental principle is to favor flexibility at the University level and support of instruction, scholarship, and innovation at the Faculty, Department, and College levels.

Step 2. Generate an initial pool of ideas

Circulate the draft statement of principles and invite the University community to submit ideas for Transformation. The objective of Step 2 is to generate as large and diverse a pool of ideas as possible.

Following are examples of ideas that might be suggested. Some of these ideas may seem far out of the box. That is intended. The goal for this step is to generate as many ideas as possible, no matter how unusual. These are only example ideas. They will not necessarily be included in the final transformation package.

  1. Have Continuing Education outsource the hiring of instructors to Departments and allow Departments to use the funds either to pay instructors or to buy release time. At the rate of 1/45 of a faculty salary for each unit of instruction, one unit of Continuing Education buys two units of release time.
  2. Give Departments the flexibility to assign teaching responsibilities as they wish as long as the Department as a whole meets its teaching obligations. Among the considerations departments may use when apportioning workload are: number of students taught (i.e., large classes are worth more), number of students supervised (e.g., Masters and honors students), research productivity, service work, release time funds raised, etc. Departments would be free to use these or other considerations when assigning teaching responsibilities.
  3. Create a College of General Education. Doing so would eliminate General Education as an FTE battleground and would create a faculty constituency with a commitment to a high quality General Education program.
  4. Adopt semester denominated credit hours, but offer courses in 10 week terms. For example, a 3-unit semester course (450 hours) would be offered during a 10 week term at the rate of 4 1/2 hours per week. Full time students could take three semesters during a standard academic year allowing them to graduate in 2 2/3 years. Instructors who taught a full load - which would consist of 18 teaching hours each week - could fulfill their teaching responsibilities for the year in two 10 week terms.
  5. Make it as easy as possible for Departments and groups of Departments to create new courses and programs, both intra- and inter-disciplinary. This could be done by making acceptance the default response to every course or program proposal. Arbitration and adjudication would be required only if a request for a hearing is filed.
  6. Allow departments to specify the General Education requirements for their majors as long as they meet basic state mandates.
  7. Give Departments the flexibility to schedule courses over whatever time periods they wish, e.g., 1 week, 3 weeks, 5 weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, 30 weeks.
  8. Reorganize the college structure to group affiliated disciplines more closely. For example, one might create a College of Applied and Basic Sciences that includes Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Nutritional Science, Physics, and related disciplines and a College of Human and Social Sciences that includes Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Economics, Social Work, Sociology, and related disciplines. Of course these groupings would depend on the agreement of the individual disciplines.

Step 3. Create a draft transformational package

During this step the ideas gathered in step 2 would be vetted, refined, and consolidated and an integrated transformation package would be developed.

Step 4. Circulate the package to the University

Circulate the package to the University for comments and suggestions.

Step 5. Revise the package

Revise the package in light of the comments received.

Step 6. Poll the University about the revised package

Poll the University up or down on the revised package.

Step 7. If the package is approved, pass it on to the Senate.

If the package is not approved, either give up or start again with Step 1.

Steps 8. The Senate and the President take it from there.

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2008 Trustees of the California State University

Last Update: 5/25/2010