Phase I/Section 3

 

External Assessment Accreditations

Acronym

Name of Accrediting Organization

Program

AACSB American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business Business
ABET Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology Engineering
ACEJMC Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Communication
ASHA American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Communicative Disorders
CSAB Computing Sciences Accreditation Board Computer Science
NASAD National Association of Schools of Art and Design Art
NASM National Association of Schools of Music Music
NASD National Association of Schools of Dance Dance
NASPAA National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration MPA
NAST National Association of Schools of Theater Theater
NCATE National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Education
NLN National League of Nursing Nursing

 

External evaluators for PPRs

Alumni surveys

  1. National reports

The University has been nationally ranked by a number of organizations and publications, including Black Issues in Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, and U.S. News and World Reports for the high proportion of ethnic minority students that it graduates and its overall campus diversity. In 1998, CSUF received the following national rankings:

  • Ranked 2nd in granting communications degrees to Asian Americans
  • Ranked 3rd in granting business management bachelor’s degrees to Asian Americans
  • Ranked 4th in granting education degrees to Asian Americans
  • Ranked 6th in granting area and ethnic studies degrees to Latinos
  • Ranked 3rd in granting communication degrees to Latinos
  • Ranked 7th in visual and performing arts degrees to Latinos
  • Placed among the top 25 in awarding degrees to Latinos in business, public administration (masters degrees), and psychology
  • Ranked 10th among Western schools in cultural diversity according to U.S. News and World Reports
Those programs where faculty, students, or curricular materials received national recognition mention such recognitions prominently in their PPRs. This evidence has been reported earlier.

Special Cases
A few programs have merited special attention in the last two years. The Vice President for Academic Affairs hired external consultants to review the programs in nursing and Afro-Ethnic, Chicano and Women’s Studies. Additionally, she commissioned a special group to look at the engineering programs. Finally, although it is in the midst of reorganization, the graduate program in Educational Administration is on "suspension."

The causes of these programs’ problems vary. In Nursing and Educational Administration, a sudden attrition of tenured faculty (retirements and deaths) undermined what had been in the past successful programs. Enrollments dropped precipitously and courses could not be staffed. Problems in Engineering and the ethnic and women’s studies areas included declining enrollments and interpersonal tensions.

In all four cases, the results of the consultants’ evaluations included assessments that found basic strengths in the programs sufficient to merit continuing them. What is promising, for our assessment viewpoint, is that there are now benchmark studies that provide a base for future comparison.

 

IV. Case Studies

Data from the Program Performance Reviews and Annual Reports give us portions of the "big picture" about the University's efforts to define what it means to be a learning centered campus. In contrast, stories about individuals help us understand the impact of learning on the lives of those who work and study here. What follows are brief narratives about a few people and events that have helped shape Cal State Fullerton's recent history. Some of these case studies were selected because they illustrate a moment of major change on the campus. Some were selected because they tellingly represent the everyday live of the University. As will become clear, however, there is nothing ordinary about everyday life at CSU Fullerton.

 

A. Student learning.

 

Jeff Newell and the Men’s Forum 

Why does a rock 'n roll musician who becomes vice president of a $22 million a year company and head of his own graphic design studio decide to pursue his bachelor's degree in Human Services and inaugurate the Men's Resource Center and Men’s Forum at Cal State Fullerton? Jeff Newell is a revealing example of what it means to be a student learner.

Jeff's story is unusual, but then most of the stories about our "re-entry" students mix drama and determination and courage. (Re-entry students are adult learners returning to higher education after a substantial interval out of school to pursue a career, raise a family and so forth.) After he finished high school, Jeff toured with a rock group, playing bass and singing, for six years. (He still performs at cafes and coffee houses, but now he plays acoustic guitar.) Rock groups--even good rock groups--are up against long odds, and eventually, Jeff got a job in a factory that manufactured wooden kitchen utensils. The owners--in an innovative strategy far pre-dating Ben & Jerry's nationwide search for a "different" CEO--held a drawing contest (really!) and invited their employees to compete for the job of director of graphic design.

Jeff had never taken drawing lessons. . .but you won't be surprised to learn that he "won" the contest and became the company's graphic and artistic designer. His job was to design new products as well as to design marketing materials for the products. In a few short years, he became vice president of the company, which had grown from a small manufacturing plant to a successful $22 million a year enterprise. And then, as they say in the business world, "the bottom fell out." The company went bankrupt.

 Jeff started his own design studio and was soon successful. He was recruited by the former owner of his old business and this time, the business flourished beyond all expectations. But now the cost to Jeff became personal. Married for 14 years, the father of three children, Jeff and his wife decided to divorce in what became a bitter, protracted and debilitating struggle.

As Jeff tells it, he lost direction. "I went through the 'typical' mid-life crisis, questioning everything about myself. When a friend said, 'Come to Florida,' I said, 'Sure.'" And, in Florida, Jeff found a new direction. He began as a volunteer with a social service agency, working with a men's group on issues of identity related to concepts of masculinity, and discovered the possibility of a meaningful career in human services. However, he learned that in order to enter the human services profession he would need a "credential." A wise friend told him, when he questioned going back to school (at his age) and working through the academic system, that "the years were going to go by anyway" and in five years, without schooling, he could be exactly where he was now. But, without that "credential."

Jeff decided to enroll in a local community college. Two weeks before he was to begin classes, his mother, who lived in California, called him. His father was dying from cancer; she needed help; would he come home? "I'll come home," he said, "if we can make a deal. I'll help you, if you help me go to school." "What a deal!" said his mom. Jeff came home.

Jeff enrolled in Golden West College and finished his AA degree in two years. He enrolled at CSUF in 1996 and will complete his B.A. in Human Services in June, 1999. As a human services major, Jeff was required to do an internship. He chose to do it with the Women's Center. But the day he walked in, he knew something was "wrong." As he says now, " I want to help turn the Women's Center into a place where men know they are also welcome. Many men use the center--the Adult Reentry Center is there, and men use that--and some men participate in the programs on gender equity and other issues. But I want the Center to be more available to men who are now reluctant to use it."

Barbara McDowell, the Director of the Women's Center, welcomed Jeff's efforts to broaden the support services the Center provides to the university. When Jeff suggested that the Center establish a "Men's Resource Center" and a men's support group (the Men’s Forum), Barbara enthusiastically agreed. (Barbara had already established the Women of Color Resource Centers.)

In a combination of independent studies and internships, Jeff has established not only the Men's Resource Center, consisting of library materials, resources for community support groups, and therapy/discussion materials, but he has also established the "Men's Forum," a discussion group that focuses on issues confronting men who wish to work to experience a more "enlightened" (that's Jeff's phrase) way of interacting. His work at Cal State Fullerton has attracted a greater audience. He was recently invited to participate in an Orange County men's group that has been meeting for over eight years, twice a month, in its search for a better way to express emotions that leave many men feeling rootless and isolated. "Imagine," he said. "A group that's been meeting for eight years! I've never known a men’s group that could last that long. The support they must feel. . ."

Jeff sees the "Men's Forum" as an "island of hope" for the men of the CSUF campus who wish to understand better the relationships in their lives and their motives for their own behaviors. When he graduates next June, he hopes to enter USC for his master's in Social Work (that credential he knows he needs) and to use his counseling skills to effect change, which ever way his career takes him.

There could be many paths. He is a skilled graphic designer, using computer programs still in their infancy (in 1976) and advancing to the most modern technology. He is a business entrepreneur who knows marketing, packaging and selling. He is a sensitive and caring therapist who will soon have the credentials to become a human services professional.

And he still plays a mean acoustic guitar.

Jeff’s story illustrates a few of the opportunities that enhance learning for students. He was able to take advantage of an internship and to utilize an office within Student Affairs (the Women’s Center) to support his efforts. He has found a major on campus that provides him with the training he needs to enter graduate school and focus his career. Jeff is an active student—he is employed on campus and is also a member of our WASC Self Study Task Force—who has brought a creative energy to campus and enriched our offerings for other students.

  1. Faculty and Staff Learning 

Craig Ihara, Professor and Student

Craig Ihara is a professor of philosophy with an undergraduate degree from Stanford and graduate degrees from UCLA. He began working at the University in 1972, and like other active faculty, has participated in a variety of assignments and roles on campus. He has chaired his home department of Philosophy and currently coordinates the relatively new Asian-American Studies program. He has served as president of the Asian Faculty and Staff Association and as a member of the Academic Senate. And of course he has done research and published in his field, a requirement for achieving tenure and being promoted in his department. Craig’s specialties are Asian Philosophy and ethics. By traditional measures of faculty learning, such as lists of publications and professional accomplishments, Craig is an excellent faculty member and an active learner. Yet other indicators point to something more exceptional.

In his 26 years at CSUF, Craig has taught a variety of philosophy courses and introduced new material into the curriculum. Again, as with publications and research, introducing new courses is a fairly obvious indicator of learning for faculty members. Craig doesn't just teach courses, however; he also takes them. Craig has audited courses in comparative religion, economics, philosophy, dance, martial arts, foreign languages, and speech communications. In the course of his studies at CSUF, Craig has studied medical ethics, the philosophy of feminism, Vedic religion, third world economics, and intercultural communication in Japan. He has learned to speak Japanese and to practice Karate and Aikido. He took a course in Asian American Creative Expression. Craig took a course in modern jazz dance, learned to fence, and made a brief foray into wrestling. (He reports the wrestling as one of his few "drop outs." "After getting dumped twice on my head. . .[I] learn[ed] how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning when you have whiplash.")

In all of this "extra curricular" learning, Craig took advantage of the university's fee waiver program only once, when he enrolled formally in a Japanese language course. "As I expected from my previous study of Chinese and German, auditing wouldn't do here. I had to do homework and take exams. My second year of Japanese was not as successful as the first, precisely because I didn't formally enroll." Mostly, what Craig does is approach a colleague, indicate his interest in the content of the course, and ask permission to audit. Colleagues are happy to accommodate him.

"Some might think that it is difficult to find the time to audit, but like a lot of things the hardest part is getting started," Craig says. "Once built into a routine, attending class is easy. Furthermore, once you have requested a colleague's permission to sit in, dropping out can be a bit awkward."

Craig finds that his auditing experiences serve to rejuvenate him and that becoming a student also helps improve his teaching. He notes that the University's Mission statement encourages learning (although Craig clearly didn't need the Mission statement to begin his own experience in taking classes). "Truth be known, I plan to continue to audit classes whenever possible. . .I can personally attest to the fact that we are offering an intellectual banquet of impressive quality to our students. Unfortunately, faculty are like chefs who are too busy to partake in the feast of delicacies served up by our colleagues."

Craig’s experience confirms that the "student centered learning environment" can extend to more than just our graduates and undergraduates. Unlike Jeff Newell, Craig no longer needs to earn a "credential," but, as he utilizes the resources of the learning environment, he brings in new experiences and perspectives that enrich himself and his classes.

Luis Vasquez, chef and learner

Craig Ihara’s "chef" metaphor has a real life equivalent on campus.

The Culinary Institute of America—Greystone--is the West Coast campus of the nation’s most famous cooking school. Located in the Napa Valley town of St. Helene, the C.I.A. offers continuing education classes to chefs of major hotels, country clubs, resorts, and Luis Vasquez from Cal State Fullerton.

Luis is the Executive Chef of our Food and Vending Division and is primarily responsible for catering on the campus. Luis joined the Food and Vending Division full-time in 1989 after serving 16 years as Peter O’Malley’s chef in his private box at Dodger Stadium. Baseball is a seasonal activity, but Luis also served as the banquet manager at the West Coast Stock Exchange Club. He worked on an occasional basis for both Service America and the Marriott Corporation and managed catering at the Town and Gown facility at the University of Southern California. So Luis came to CSUF with extensive catering and managerial experience.

Excellent food preparation and attractive presentation were not high priorities for the Food and Vending Division when Luis first joined the staff. When the CSUF Foundation, which manages the Food and Vending Division, terminated its contract with Service America and employed the Marriott Corporation (which brought in Luis), complaints about the quality of the service increased. The Foundation eventually brought the operation completely in house, and gradually, things began to change. Under new leadership (especially when Tony Lynch was brought back to oversee the division), Luis got the freedom and training he wanted.

Luis’ first class at C.I.A.—Greystone found him working 80 to 100 hours for his week-long class which stressed the basics of safe food preparation. His second class, a three-day seminar on Italian cooking, was equally intense. His first preparation—the classic dish of ossobucca—earned him a grade of B+. But his second dish, rock cornish hen with gnocci in a marinara sauce, also included an elaborate garnish (which Luis had taught himself to make). That earned him an A and the admiration of his instructors for his sophisticated presentation.

Luis is not done with his learning. The Food and Vending Division of the CSUF Foundation plans to sponsor his next session at CIA, on French cuisine, over winter (1998-99) break. Tony Lynch reports that Luis has been "taken under the wing" of the renowned chef, Robert Gerometta, one of four chefs in the world to have the title of World Master Certified Executive Chef. "Chef Roberto has spent a lot of time coaching and assisting our Luis in fine tuning his techniques in the kitchen,"says Tony.

Tony says that by the end of the year, Luis will be sworn in as a member of the American Culinary Federation. The organization carries a lot of prestige in the culinary world, and in order to become a member, one must be nominated by a Committee of Certified Executive Chefs. "Working with Luis for the past ten years has truly been a pleasure for me," says Tony. "You can always count on Luis to be a team player." The Foundation’s support for Luis’ continued learning serves to enrich his life but, as importantly, Luis’s enhanced skills provide a benefit for the campus as a whole.

Spencer Colman, electrician and political scientist

Craig Ihara may not have used the fee waiver program to increase his learning, but Spencer Colman is taking full advantage of the University’s policy (and his union contract) that allows its employees to waive fees for up to two classes of academic credit each semester. That’s exactly what Spence has been doing since 1995, and he’ll receive his bachelor’s degree at the end of Fall, 1998 semester. Then he plans to enroll for his Masters in Public Administration once his bachelor’s is complete. There shouldn’t be any problem in being accepted: for his last 46 units, Spence has earned A’s in all but one class and his cumulative GPA is 3.9.

Spence is one of the University’s electricians and he is also the shop steward for his union, State Employees Trades Council (Local 1268) which represents the trades on campus. He is also an executive board member of the state-wide union. Spence attended Golden West College where he completed his general education requirements after a six-year stint in the Navy. His major is political science, and he has a particular interest in the Model United Nations (MUN) program sponsored by the political science program. Our MUN is part of the national MUN, and once a year, students from CSUF attend the national session held at United Nations headquarters in New York. During the Spring, 1996 session, Spence was voted the "outstanding delegate" for his role in representing Guinea-Bissau (on the West coast of Africa, for those of you who weren’t sure!). And, he was invited to join the national staff of MUN as the assistant director of the International Labor Organization committee in 1997, and in 1998, he was the assistant director of the United Nations Environment Program committee. (He would have been director of United Nations Development Program committee this year, but a family illness has forced him to decline.)

For the past year, Spence has served as a volunteer intern in the local Congressional office of Representative Loretta Sanchez. He first met Rep. Sanchez when she was a student at Chapman University, and Spence was Chapman’s electrician, nearly 20 years ago. Rep. Sanchez has offered Spence a "paid" job on several occasions, but Spence has had to turn her down. After 18 years at Cal State Fullerton, he couldn’t afford that cut in pay!

What does Spence plan to do with his college degrees? His faculty mentors want him to go on for his Ph.D. In the meantime, Spence is going to continue to take advantage of the fee waiver program to expand his own learning. Spence says that there are changes because of technology and energy programs, but that basically the field of electricity is pretty static. (Sorry.) What challenges him is politics and he’s a terrific role model for other students and staff members. He epitomizes what we mean when we talk about staff learning and CSUF’s commitment to providing opportunities for its employees.

 

The Campus Environment for Learning

 

Reorganization in Student Services

Consolidation of Student Services

In its 1990 report, our WASC site visit team criticized the university for its handling of student services. Offices were located around the campus in no meaningful configuration and students seeking assistance were shuttled from building to building as they sought information about financial aid, or career counseling, or academic advisement. The WASC team recommended that the services be better integrated and that some kind of "one stop" referral center be established.

People who worked in the Division of Student Affairs didn’t really need to be told about the problem. They were as frustrated as the WASC team and the students by the lack of coherence in student support services. Some of the problems were "just" physical. There was no apparent available space for reorganization and consolidation on campus. Others of the problems were organizational. Student Academic Services and the federally funded "TRIO" programs (Upward Bound, Talent Search and Educational Opportunity Programs—EOP) that serve "disadvantaged" students were housed in Academic Affairs. Other centers for financial aid, disabled students, women, and international students were housed in Student Affairs, together with Career Development, the Health Center, and Residence Halls. An office of "student life" worked with the independent organization of the Associated Students (which is, actually, a corporation legally separate from the University).

Kandy Mink, assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, says one of the keys to meeting the WASC criticism was the building of University Hall. For the first time, space became available to move the various offices and programs into one central location. The first two floors of University Hall and the second floor of adjacent Langsdorf Hall now house most of Student Affairs programs (and the cashier’s office—a critical place for students—is located in between). That helped students by keeping referrals to a centralized location. The only student support functions not located in this central location are placed elsewhere for good reasons. The Health Center has its own building on the north edge of campus. The Director of Housing and Residence life is located, appropriately, in the residence halls. And, the Dean of Students and her support programs are located in the Student Union so that they may interact more readily with Associated Students.

But Kandy attributes the most fundamental change to the re-organization of student support programs. The mission of the Division of Student Affairs has never changed: programs are designed to support learning opportunities for students. However, did it make sense that programs targeted to first-generation college students from lower income, frequently immigrant families were under the direction of the Vice President for Academic Programs, while programs designed to target other special populations—the disabled, the returning student, women and international students—were in the Division of Student Affairs? "New" Vice President Robert Palmer (he has been at CSUF just over a year) didn’t think so, and he began a discussion with Silas Abrego, director of the TRIO programs and coordinator of Student Academic Services, and others on campus. It didn’t take long to determine that it made organizational sense to consolidate the student-service oriented programs into Palmer’s division.

As the re-organization discussions progressed, significant gaps in student support services began to emerge. "Enrollment management" is a relatively new concept that combines (on some campuses) the office of the registrar with programs that "yield" new students, such as outreach and other recruiting programs. (On our campus, the two major recruitment events are "Fall Preview Day," held in the Fall, obviously, to recruit new students and "Welcome to Fullerton Day," held in the Spring, to entice newly admitted students actually to enroll.) "Enrollment management" can be critical should resources decline and when campuses are competing for qualified students, but even more important, active outreach to potential students carries out the mission of the California State University and supports student learning. A new position for Director of Enrollment Management was created.

Providing effective support for a learning environment implies a close relationship between academic programs and student services, a function that is being carried out by Assistant Deans, located in each academic school (but funded by Student Affairs). Until Palmer’s arrival, most of these positions had been part-time (with one Assistant Dean assigned to two schools). As of Fall, 1998, all Assistant Dean positions were made full time which required hiring several more people. These Assistant Deans provide Student Affairs related services and programs within each academic school. These services and programs include academic advisement, personal counseling, program and event coordination, club advisement, and new student orientation. Each Assistant Dean’s job description is somewhat unique and depends on the needs of her/his school.

Support for students in academic trouble was a significant gap. Previously, the Learning Assistance Resource Center (LARC) provided tutoring and sessions on developing study skills for the general student population, but the office was terminated in the early 1990’s. Academic counseling was available for targeted students in EOP and in individual programs around the campus, such as the Writing Center run by the English Department or the tutorial program in the Chemistry Department or the Teaching Ombudsmen Action Program that was originally a program for academic assistance to athletes but has expanded to assist other students in academic difficulty. A "Learning Center" for the general student population is to be inaugurated in Fall, 1998, to replace the badly missed LARC.

In other changes, a "Student Research Center" has been established to complement the institutional research that takes place in the Office of Analytical Studies. With the start of Fall, 1998 semester, a focal point for all student services will be inaugurated in a central, "high traffic" location on campus. The Student Information and Referral Center, combining the Academic Advisement Center and a Student Affairs Information Center will be open 56 hours a week to help students solve problems, provide them with academic and co-curricular information and advice, and refer them to other student services offices.

How do those affected by all these changes feel about the reorganization? Kandy Mink believes she’s speaking for most when she says that the changes feel good. It helps, she admits, that there is more money coming from the state budget. But she believes that the changes will help students in their learning endeavors, and that is what student support services are all about, helping to create an environment where learning is facilitated.