Phase I

The Phase I document is divided into four sections:

  1. Section I
  2. Section II
  3. Section III
  4. Section IV

Phase I / Section 1

WASC Self Study


Introduction: Relationship to Missions, Goals and Strategies

California State University Fullerton's process to reaffirm its accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges began with the adoption of a new mission statement for the University in Fall, 1994. For 18 months, the University Planning Committee (UPC) worked on an analysis of the s trengths, w eakness, o pportunities and t hreats (a SWOT analysis) defining the University's current position. Periodic bulletins issued by the UPC invited campus response to succeeding drafts of the proposed new mission statement. The final mission statement (see Appendix 1-A) reaffirmed a widely shared campus commitment to student learning and established an organizational focus on eight specific goals designed to support the learning emphasis. Thus, the mantra, "learning is preeminent," entered the CSUF vocabulary.

For our WASC reaffirmation, the SWOT analysis is instructive because it identified, for the 1994-95 place in time, a community consensus on our learning and teaching strengths. The process was iterative. The UPC issued a "discussion document" in March, 1994, and invited campus feedback and response. The second "discussion document," released in May, 1994, contained major revisions reflecting the community’s concern with what many thought was a negative and overly simplistic assessment of strengths and weaknesses. The final analysis, issued in February, 1995, reordered some of the original items and presented a more clearly articulated set of findings. The University pointed with pride to a set of indicators that stressed its learning orientation:

  1. Small class sizes

  2. Direct student-professor contact, particularly in joint research projects

  3. Internships, student assistantships and other experiential learning programs

  4. Rich cultural diversity in and out of classrooms

  5. Varied class schedules to accommodate students' needs

  6. Strong community interaction, facilitating service-based learning

  7. A faculty that balances teaching and research

  8. Growing expertise in educational technology and communication

  9. A well-equipped, safe and secure campus

  10. Helpful staff


The SWOT analysis also highlighted what the campus considered to be its internal weaknesses. Among the more critical problem areas were:

  1. The lack of a "distinctive image"

  2. A complex, inefficient bureaucracy, perceived to be slow to make decisions

  3. Declining budget support

  4. Inadequate program assessment

  5. Some marginal classroom facilities

  6. A library collection lacking in sufficient books and periodicals

  7. Support services for students

  8. Under-appreciation of faculty and staff


The SWOT analysis examined opportunities and threats external to the immediate campus, highlighting the rich resources available in our major metropolitan area, our state, our alumni and our cost effectiveness, but balancing these assets with the uncertainty of the California economy, the political nature of the budget process, and a perception that there is a lack of vision and trust of higher education among the public and our elected representatives.

The SWOT analysis coincided with the development of the new mission statement for the University. Again, the process was iterative. The first draft was issued by the UPC in May, 1994, and it contained the mission statement and an unranked set of 18 goals. The second draft, in October, 1994, revised the mission statement slightly and expanded the goals to 23. This draft also contained a concept map, reproduced below, that positioned "learning" as the center of the mission.

A third draft, issued November 4, 1994, kept much of the original mission statement and organized the goals under eight themes. After minor modifications, President Gordon approved the goals on December 19, 1994, and initiated implementation to begin with the 1995-96 budget.


The mission statement reads as follows:

Learning is preeminent at California State University, Fullerton. We aspire to combine the best qualities of teaching and research universities where actively engaged students, faculty, and staff work in close collaboration to expand knowledge.

Our affordable undergraduate and graduate programs provide students the best of current practice, theory, and research and integrate professional studies with preparation in the arts and sciences. Through experiences in and out of the classroom, students develop the habit of intellectual inquiry, prepare for challenging professions, strengthen relationships to their communities and contribute productively to society.

We are a comprehensive, regional university with a global outlook, located in Orange County, a technologically rich and culturally vibrant area of metropolitan Los Angeles. Our expertise and diversity serve as a distinctive resource and catalyst for partnerships with public and private organizations. We strive to be a center of activity essential to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of our region.


The eight goals consist of the following:

I. Ensure the preeminence of learning;
II. Provide high quality programs that meet the evolving needs of our students, community, and region;
III. Enhance scholarly and creative activity;
IV. Make collaboration integral to our activities;
V. Create an environment where all students have the opportunity to succeed;
VI. Increase external support for university programs and priorities;
VII. Expand connections and partnerships with our region;
VIII. Strengthen institutional effectiveness, collegial governance and our sense of community.

Each goal is followed by a set of strategies (see Appendix 1-A for the complete statement) designed to bring more specificity and definition to the goal. Since the adoption of the goals, the University has funded "Planning Initiatives," projects proposed by members of the university community as ways of implementing the goals and strategies. Part of our Self Study will be reviewing those initiatives as they relate to our Self-Study themes.


WASC and University Planning

Integration of planning into the assessment of university performance is a major goal for the University. The University is heavily committed to assessment of its programs. Each academic unit undertakes a seven year Program Performance Review (PPR) involving a systematic analysis of each program component and usually including a review by one or more consultants from outside the institution. (In some cases, the PPR is combined with a national accreditation. For instance, many programs in the Schools of Arts, Business Administration and Economics, Engineering and Computer Science, and Communications receive national accreditation).

In addition to PPRs and specialty accreditation self studies, all divisions in the university submit annual reports. Annual Reports are conceived as a short-term planning tool; PPRs are considered long-term. Annual reports implement goals outlined in PPRs while updating and modifying PPRs as circumstances change and new evidence emerges. Furthermore, individual centers conduct specific, more focused studies through campus surveys and other instruments as the need arises.

However, in a report prepared for the Vice President of Academic Affairs in March, 1998, the Office of Analytical Studies and the Associate Vice President for Academic Programs stated that the PPRs and Annual Reports process has been beset with several problems.

One specific criticism of annual Reports and Program Performance Reviews in the past has been that feedback following their submission has been less than hoped for by those who have labored in their preparation. Like the personnel files submitted by faculty members. . . .ARs and PPRs have often swelled to proportions that make careful reading by deans and vice presidents a daunting task.

New guidelines for Program Performance Reviews have been adopted and are currently being implemented. The changes include a requirement to do a SWOT analysis, similar to the analysis that resulted in the new University mission statement. PPRs now focus on the "Missions, Goals and Strategies" for the University and incorporate "quality indicators" and "productivity benchmarks" as part of an overall focus on assessment of programs. They are intended to be analytical and not just descriptive, with measurable outcomes and concrete results. Because the new format for PPRs is designed to cover both support and academic units, programs were invited to connect campus practices to key issues in the national higher education conversation. They are also shorter, and definitely more readable.

Several "exemplary practices" examples are documented later in this study. The Student Affairs Division conducted a self study review in 1997-98 that applied external standards established by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), and linked Division practices to the University’s Mission, Goals and Strategies. This evidence constitutes the "first entry" in Phase II of the Self Study. Prior to the introduction of the new guidelines, several academic programs conducted PPR studies that were especially useful for their incorporation of assessment and outcomes measurements, and these are also noted.

Phase I of the present Self Study relies heavily on PPRs that have been compiled in the past five years. Because PPRs were not written with the Self Study as a model, we at first feared that the questions addressed by the Self Study might not be reflected in individual program self analyses. However, though some recasting of information is occasionally required, individual programs and departments have, in fact, been consistently concerned with the issues around which the Self Study is designed.


The Self Study Proposal

The Self-Study Proposal was written by a planning team and approved by WASC during the Fall, 1997 semester. The following recapitulates that proposal.

As described in the proposal, the institutional self study, as well as the process for drafting the self-study report, makes it a unique project for the campus. Stressing assessment based on the reflective analysis of existing and newly gathered information, the self study is intended to appraise progress in accomplishing the University’s Mission, Goals and Strategies, and documents the strengths of the University in key areas related to its Mission. The study’s three themes are drawn directly from the campus’s Mission, Goals and Strategies: Student Learning, Faculty and Staff Learning and the campus Environment for Learning, aiming through thoughtful self-assessment to develop a clearer sense of the University’s future directions and a campus-wide understanding of the implications of those directions. Tied directly to the University’s mission and intended above all to be of value for campus planning, the self study aims as well to satisfy with distinction the requirements for reaffirmation of the University’s WASC accreditation.

What makes it possible for the University to undertake the theme-based, mission-directed self study, rather than a self study like all previous such studies, focused on and organized according to the nine accreditation standards of WASC’s Handbook of Accreditation (1988) and its predecessors? A full answer is complex, yet it can be summarized simply: WASC has invited and encouraged us to conduct such an experimental self study. Ralph Wolff, Executive Director of WASC’s Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, has discussed on several occasions over the past two years the multiple factors leading to WASC’s invitation. Among the reasons for WASC’s change in emphasis are the following:

  1. WASC is in the midst of tremendous change. It has restructured internally, and it is struggling with the implications of telecommunications and distance learning, responding to stringent new U.S. Department of Education regulations, and working on new accreditation standards and a new Handbook to be published in the year 2000.

  2. WASC is attempting to respond to the same conditions of rapid change that its member institutions are facing. An important part of its strategy is to shift from being an organization that is primarily regulatory to one that is primarily service oriented. It has set up task forces and work groups to explore and implement its new orientation. It has striven to support the planning efforts of institutions, develop a user-friendly visit process, and become a vehicle for sharing good practices within the region. And, with institutions like Fullerton, whose reaccreditation is not in question, it has encouraged experimental self studies and visits.

  3. WASC recognizes that it, too, must be accountable. WASC’s interactions with campuses are very expensive. A typical UC visit and preparation for it cost the campus $250,000 to $300,000. CSU self studies and visits typically cost the institutions $150,000 or more. Campuses should derive clear value from such expensive undertakings.

  4. The current model of accreditation dates from the 1950s. Although over the years it has become more comprehensive and linked to strategic planning, it needs to become even more responsive to the needs of each campus. Therefore, WASC is moving from a "one-size-fits-all" model to a "tool kit" model for the self study process and report. With WASC support, recent experimental self studies and visits have occurred at CSU Sacramento, Chico, Fresno, and Humboldt and at Westmont College, Santa Clara University, Dominican College, and others. New models are also evolving for research universities like the UC, USC and Stanford.

  5. In an emerging model for campus self studies, WASC’s existing standards serve as a continually present background. However, institutions that are in "good standing" with WASC, that is, have neither been placed on probation nor given only preliminary accreditation, have been encouraged to design self studies that explore themes and topics tied to the campus’s mission and that contribute to its planning efforts.

  6. A key goal of such thematic, mission-based, planning-directed self studies is to foster within institutions a "culture of evidence," that is, an expectation among all campus constituencies that decisions will be based on data, that systematic assessment will be part of every program, and that claims about quality will be supported by documentation. The challenge for campuses and for WASC has always been how to validate self studies. The solution proposed is to base the self study on the assessment of evidence.

  7. Traditional self studies placed heavy emphasis on documenting the material resources available to the campus, but gave little attention to the outcomes achieved with those resources, frequently ignoring student learning outcomes, perhaps hardest to assess, yet central to the purposes for which colleges and universities exist. Placing student learning at the center of a campus self study raises important questions: what are the right learning outcomes? What are the best forms of assessment? Out of the answers to questions such as these, WASC hopes to develop its new standards for 2000 and beyond.


This is the context in which WASC has offered CSUF an invaluable opportunity to use this self-study process to learn more about itself, to document its strengths, and, through the results of the self study and the responses of a WASC visiting team, gain perspectives that will be invaluable in planning its direction for the future.


Goals of CSUF’s Self Study

Two documents set the context for our self study and shape the questions that it seeks to answer: The University’s Mission, Goals and Strategies and the CSU’s Cornerstones. Of these two, the first is the most important. The campus’s articulation of its mission has now been in place for almost four years. It has shaped our discussions and guided our priorities. The timing of our self study is opportune: we need to assess how well we are doing in implementing the goals and strategies we have agreed upon. For the CSU as a whole, Cornerstones establishes goals for the coming decade that have an immediate impact on individual campus priorities. Cornerstones promises to be important to the future of the CSU and therefore to CSUF.


Themes of CSUF’s Self Study

Taking the Mission, Goals and Strategies as centrally important to CSUF’s self study, the themes of the self study are tied directly to the University’s overriding goal of being and becoming a place where learning is preeminent. What does it mean to us "to make learning preeminent," to what extent have we succeeded, and what further steps can we take to achieve this aspiration? What are the key indicators of learning that can offer us guidance into the future?

For many years, CSUF has striven to combine the best qualities of a teaching university and a research university. By tradition, as well as by emphasis in CSUF’s Mission, the University stresses not just student learning, but faculty and staff learning as well, believing that the three are integrally linked. We propose, therefore, that in focusing on learning, the self study explore three closely related themes:

Focus on Student Learning                          

  WASC Self Study    

Professor David DeVries (Communications) and a GE class on visual communication.

Using information derived from surveys, tests, focus groups, and other sources, the self study will document the University’s contributions to

    1. student academic development, performance and achievement;

    2. student career development;

    3. student personal development; and

    4. student satisfaction with their learning.


In short, we are attempting to answer the questions, "What are the ‘marks’ of the Fullerton student?" and "What are the ‘marks’ of the Fullerton graduate?" Current student and alumni voices, as well as their performance and achievement, will be sources of evidence in connection with this theme. Furthermore, this theme directs our attention not just to what students know and can do, but to how we go about determining that, thereby leading us to reconsider the methods we employ in assessing student learning and in determining program effectiveness.

Focus on Faculty and Staff Learning

 WASC with Hall and Puri

Professors Anil Puri and Jane Hall (Economics) useWEB CT to put their course,  Economics 335,  on line.


Using information derived from surveys, focus groups, and other sources, the self study will explore the University’s contributions to

    1. the professional accomplishments and achievements of faculty and staff;

    2. the professional development of faculty and staff and institutional support for it; and

    3. faculty and staff satisfaction with support for learning on the campus.


The assumptions underlying this second focus are that student learning is linked inextricably with faculty and staff learning and that campus conditions fostering faculty and staff learning are an important part of what is required for the creation and support of powerful student learning communities.


Focus on the Environment for Learning

WASC Chemistry

Students explore the X-ray Crystallography Facility in the Department of Chemistry

Using data from all available sources, including surveys and focus groups, the self study will explore the quality of the University’s environment for learning, both internal to the campus and in the external community, for students, faculty and staff. We will assess the quality and effectiveness of multicultural communication and interaction on campus; our evolving sense of community; and our facilities, technology, and other infrastructure for the support of learning.

By focusing on these three areas, the self study will enable us to assess our campus climate, the adaptation of the campus to and for the diversity of its students and employees, the contribution of campus governance, and the interrelations of the social and physical contexts that provide the setting for learning at the University.

For each focus, we need to

  1. identify relevant data, indicators, and studies that we already have available from the past five years;

  2. identify relevant assessment tools that we can employ during the next 12 months; and

  3. identify events, activities, and projects planned for the next year that can contribute to the self study.


The Self Study proposal concludes by suggesting some of the available data and resources that are incorporated in the ongoing analysis of the three themes.

II. Progress thus far: The three subcommittees

Subcommittee on Student Learning

WASC Engineering

Mechanical Engineering students built a robotic device for spray-painting small parts in their senior design class.


Pat Szeszulski, Department of Child and Adolescent Studies, Chair
Members: Joe Arnold, Associate Dean, School of the Arts, Professor of Theater and Dance
Marilyn Powell Berns, Community Member
Kristine Buse, Student
David Fromson, Associate Dean, Natural Science and Mathematics, and Professor of Biology
Richard Pollard, University Librarian
Judy Ramirez, Chair, Child, Family and Community Services Division; Professor of Child and Adolescent Studies
Ephraim Smith, Vice President of Academic Affairs
Darlene Stevenson, Director, Housing and Residential Life
Dolores Vura, Director of Analytical Studies

As has been the case with all the subcommittees, the Subcommittee on Student Learning has engaged in a variety of activities in order to define the scope of its work. Members of the subcommittee have read a number of philosophical papers on student learning, gathered and considered a great deal of evidence on issues related to student learning at CSUF, and met regularly to discuss all the evidence. During this process, the subcommittee made the decision to focus on a limited number of key issues related to how to educate a diverse student body for the 21st century. Furthermore, the members decided to study each issue in great detail rather than covering all possible issues superficially. To facilitate consensus regarding which issues would be pursued, members of the subcommittee participated in a three-hour brainstorming session using Ventana GroupSystems, a software program that allows participants to contribute their ideas anonymously and simultaneously while working at separate workstations. The subcommittee’s session in the Library Studio Classroom on April 28 comprised three phases. First, 82 ideas were generated in response to the prompt, "What questions about student learning should this subcommittee examine in order to be able to address whether or not University practice is consistent with the goals of its mission?" Second, the responses were reviewed and redundant ideas were combined. Third, participants used a 5-point scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree) to vote whether each of the remaining 76 ideas should be considered by the committee. Independent reviews of the resultant data yielded a "philosophical/definitional" category (e.g., What is learning? What is assessment?) as well as the following four broad categories of "evidence" (particular foci) related to educating a diverse student body:

  1. Who Are Our Student Learners? (Demographics; Student concerns and preparation)

  2. Factors That Influence Learning (Academic &Technological resources; Student/faculty collaboration, Community-based and co-curricular experiences )

  3. Learning Goals (Marks of a CSUF graduate/education; GE and selected other programs that have developed learning goals)

  4. Assessment of Learning (Graduates/seniors opinions; Selected programs/departments and initiatives (e.g., Fullerton First Year) working on assessment)


The subcommittee is analyzing the four perspectives in order to address the following:

  1. How students experience the University

  2. How students come to understand their relation to other learners

  3. The relationship between (a) and (b) and what we do in the curriculum and the classroom.

  4. How assessment of (c) informs our planning for the future.

The subcommittee continues to summarize existing evidence for each of the issues and to determine which area will require further exploration.


Subcommittee on Faculty and Staff Learning

WASC Asian Business

Delegation of Chinese banking executives met with faculty and students from BAE

Dave DeVries, Department of Communications, Chair
Members: Rhonda Allen, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Criminal Justice
Friedhild Brainard, Office Manager, Financial Aid
Don Castro, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences
David Falconer, Associate Dean, Engineering and Computer Science; Associate Professor of Computer Science
Harry Gianneschi, Vice President of University Advancement
Willie Hagan, Vice President of Administrative Affairs
Jessica Medina, Student
Sandra Sutphen, Professor of Political Science
Larry Zucker, Associate Vice President of University Advancement

The Subcommittee on Faculty and Staff Learning decided quickly that many of the traditional indicators of faculty learning were good measures that stood the test of objective assessment. An enumeration of peer-reviewed publications, exhibitions, performances and conference presentations is part of the "culture of evidence" that demonstrates continued professional involvement, and presumptively, continued learning. Sources for these data are easily gathered from departmental year-end reports, Compendium announcements, and acknowledgement at the Vice President for Academic Affairs’ annual recognition day. In addition, there are numerous indicators, some easier to collect and organize than others. Among these are

  1. workshop attendance

  2. grants received

  3. school/departmental retreats

  4. new courses developed

  5. active membership in professional associations

  6. use of new technology

  7. classes taken

The subcommittee anticipated that the Faculty Development Center will work closely with the subcommittee, both in providing data from past efforts sponsored by the Institute for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (the Center’s predecessor) as well as informing us of new directions for faculty learning. For example, the members agreed that it would be useful to have comparative data from other institutions, especially those with a long history of formalized faculty development.

Arriving at measurements for staff learning was less straightforward. The subcommittee found some obvious indicators:

  1. Classes taken at CSUF and elsewhere ("fee waiver")

  2. Degrees earned while working at CSUF

  3. Performance Salary Increase (PSI) awards and other recognitions

  4. Workshops/conferences attended

  5. Use of new technology

During its discussions about staff learning, the subcommittee felt the need for what the members called "anecdotal" material, or "data" based on responses about opportunities for learning from staff who had taken advantage of these moments. (At the same time, the subcommittee began to get a bit of feedback from some staff members about their own experiences). Because the University has recently redirected resources to provide a staff development program headed by Naomi Goodwin and Robin Innes, the subcommittee expect to find not only more courses and workshops but also more data to support the "culture of evidence" about staff learning.

The University has the results of a number of studies that have been done on campus—including some that have gathered longitudinal data—about faculty involvement in learning, but little material has been gathered in the past to document staff learning. The subcommittee anticipates that correcting this deficiency will be a high priority for its work in 1998-99.


Subcommittee on the Campus Environment for Learning

Ray Young, Department of Geography, Chair 
Members: Judith Anderson, Executive Vice President
Dorothy Edwards, Human Resources
Tom Klammer, Associate Vice President for Academic Programs
John Lawrence, Professor, Management Science and Information Systems
Jeff Newell, Student
Robert Palmer, Vice President for Student Affairs
Melinda White, Physical Plant
Colleen Wilkins, Environmental Health and Safety

The campus environment for learning is a deceptively straightforward construct. To many observers the first environments which come to mind are the meso-scale "bricks and mortar" of the campus such as particular buildings or their internal classrooms and offices, and the infrastructure necessary to make those function effectively. Yet, our learning environments reach far beyond that while also operating in more subtle, behavioral domains. A full assessment of the environment for learning must include macro-level components literally from "A" (the arboretum) to "Z" (Desert Studies Center at Zzyzx).

The subcommittee also noted the importance of service and business environments that can facilitate or distract from learning. These include such components as the Admissions and Records department, Disabled Student Services office, campus food services, computer facilities and services, Library, parking, Public Safety, and the Titan Student Union. Moreover, the essence of Cal State Fullerton is expressed by its connections with the larger regional community, through which the public learns about our breadth and strengths. Those connectivity environments range from athletic events and fine arts programs to special recruitment or fundraising efforts and CLE, the Continuing Learning Experience, an organization targeted at persons desiring to pursue learning after retirement.

The subcommittee has identified more than 50 distinct components to the campus learning environment which may provide indicators of how well the university is implementing the campus Mission and Goals. After generating an extensive list of environmental components, the subcommittee arrived at a consensus about a subset that deserves closer attention for the WASC accreditation process. The subcommittee agreed upon the following rank-ordered components of the learning environment. The list combines general elements (e.g., "classrooms") with specific campus service departments and offices (e.g., Admissions and Records, Physical Plant).

    1. Classrooms

    2. General campus aura

    3. Landscaping and pathways

    4. Parking

    5. Faculty offices

    6. Building appearance

    7. Safety elements, including campus lighting

    8. Admissions and Records

    9. Mission Viejo campus

    10. Physical Plant and support services

    11. Service areas / work rooms

    12. Staff and administrative offices

    13. Student services units

    14. Outdoor gathering places

    15. Student interactive spaces

    16. Residence Halls

    17. Student organizations

    18. Titan Student Union


Presenting such a list quickly begs at least two interpretive questions: Do these components represent areas of concern (that is, areas of weakness) or are they components simply believed to be very important attributes of a strong university . . . or both? Could some components of the campus environment for learning have been omitted from this list because they are now perceived of as functioning quite well (such as the Library)?

While there are various sources of evidence to paint a clear picture of some of these components, the subcommittee foresees considerable research to determine how users (various groups of learners) rate the importance of, and their satisfaction with, other elements. The subcommittee plans to conduct further research, including focused surveys, during the coming months to expand knowledge about many of these themes. A reexamination of existing evidence, coupled with new perspectives, will provide a more thorough assessment to the campus and to the WASC reviewers but, just as importantly, provide planning guidance to on-campus decision-makers long after the formal WASC process has concluded.

 Phase I / Section 2


The Culture of Evidence Internal Assessment

The University’s policy on program assessment (UPS 410.200, effective December 12, 1992) makes the faculty responsible for evaluation of academic programs. The vitality of the institution is dependent on the commitment of its faculty. One form of commitment is a willingness to evaluate candidly the programs and activities the faculty directs. Program Performance Review is a central component of the evaluation. It is based on a thorough self-study which involves the participation of the faculty. . .

The policy statement lays out the procedure for PPRs, specifying the responsibility of school deans, the option of an outside reviewer, the requirement for a seven-year plan, and the disposition of the report when it is completed. For programs that are accredited by external organizations, that accreditation report may be substituted for a PPR.

Annual reports are required from each academic unit as well. In the past, annual reports were fairly comprehensive, requiring an abbreviated vitae from each faculty member covering the year’s activities, summary statements about curriculum changes, sponsored events, student organizations and other activities including faculty publications, research, and grants. More recently, the Vice President for Academic Affairs has asked school deans to focus annual reports on specific topics, such as programs for cultural diversity and, in 1998, efforts in assessment.

To prepare evidence for the Phase I report, we read each of the PPRs prepared in the last five years (or accreditation reports where they substituted for PPRs) and the annual reviews from each school for 1998 when assessment was one of the "required" topics. We were searching for evidence of learning in our three theme areas and documentation of outcomes assessment for individual programs. What we found was a wide variety in approach to PPRs and such dissimilarity among the documents as to make comparison difficult. Some PPRs had been constructed prior to or right at the adoption of the university’s new Mission statement so a focus on mission was not present in all the PPRs we read. We created speadsheets to facilitate comparison, and included in them the categories we thought constituted the best documentation of program quality. We looked for internal and external indicators, that is, at internal self-assessment and assessment by important constituencies, such as alumni, employers, national agencies (where appropriate), faculty peers, and students. Our spreadsheets attempt to summarize our findings in the areas of overall program assessment and student learning outcomes.

We were guided in our search for evidence by a number of references, some helpful, some skeptical. Our search helped us find gaps in our evidence (to be addressed in Phase II) and areas where data exist but documentation as evidence for our three themes is less clear. Publications from WASC and the American Council on Education, as well as materials from sister campuses were especially useful.

Alexander W. Astin’s Assessment for Excellence: The Philosophy and Practice of Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, links assessment to measurement and evaluation for the purpose of what he terms "talent development." He maintains the traditional definition of excellence in higher education—what he calls the "resources" and "reputational" conceptions of excellence—are flawed because they do not "directly address the institution’s basic purposes: the education of students and the cultivation of knowledge." Resources he defines as money, high-quality faculty and high-quality students. He defines reputational as the folklore that sustains the "pecking order" of excellence where those institutions like Harvard, Yale and Berkeley are at the top and the rest of higher education somewhere below.

Astin compartmentalizes traditional assessment into the four areas of admissions, guidance and placement, classroom learning, and credentialing or certification, and then evaluates each area to uncover its contribution to "talent development" of students (we would probably call this "learning"). Only guidance and placement procedures meet his criteria for "talent development" because effective guidance and placement allow students to be assigned to classes appropriate for their level and interests. Admissions procedures, credentialing and (an added entry) faculty evaluations are not designed to help students but rather to further the reputation and resources of the institution. Admitting students with outstanding high school records and high test scores, evaluating faculty (primarily) on the basis of research publications, and seeking prestigious credentials all enhance reputation (and garner resources). Classroom teachers will be stunned to learn that Astin regards tests that measure classroom learning as a form of credentialing that does nothing to help students develop their talents. Because examinations are used primarily by instructors to assign grades, and because critical examinations are frequently given at the end of a learning period when appropriate feedback to the student is impossible, Astin finds this most common form of assessment an ineffective tool to promote student learning.

Astin’s observations interested us because most of the PPRs we read did focus strongly on the program’s reputation and resources. Typically, the PPRs stress faculty achievements in terms of research publications, external grants, or community service. Translating these into tools for developing students’ talents, or learning, is emphasized less.

An overview of assessment at the University of California, Santa Cruz written by Randy Nelson, helped define more narrowly what kinds of data are available for measurement and evaluation.

In the current jargon of education, assessment is a broad term related to the evaluation of educational effectiveness. In higher education, assessment includes activities such as studies of potential students and non-matriculants; placement and basic skills testing; surveying the educational goals and needs of new and continuing students; learning why students drop-out or transfer; evaluating the need for and effectiveness of student services; teaching and curriculum evaluation; surveys of the community; and surveys of the alumni. Although the primary focus of assessment has been the undergraduate student, evaluation activities now examine graduate students, faculty, and staff.

Nelson says that assessment may be used to improve a process (formative evaluation) or describe final outcomes (summative evaluation). Like Astin, he finds many university practices (including classroom grading) to be summative rather than formative, doing little to improve or enhance the learning experience. Nelson’s report also covers the political environment in California and the nation with respect to legislative mandates to incorporate assessment into accountability systems. He mentions specifically the report on student outcomes assessment produced by the CSU in 1989.

Student Outcomes Assessment in the California State University is a report to the Chancellor by a special advisory committee on a year-long project to solicit campus views and establish recommendations for assessment in the CSU. The report recommended the establishment of a system-wide assessment policy that should be "campus-based, faculty-centered, and student responsive." The report reflects the concern of the advisory committee that introducing new assessment techniques not add significantly to faculty workload, that they be well funded, and that student outcomes assessment "is just one of several institutional practices that must exist in order to achieve educational excellence" (page 13). The 10 member group included faculty and administrators from five CSU campuses and its suspicion about the uses of outcomes assessment is evident throughout the report. Citing political sources (the National Governor’s Association, our own State Legislature, and particularly then Assemblyman, now Senator Tom Hayden), the report acknowledged that accountability was an issue that was not going to go away.

"Higher education is a black box. You go in, and come out the other side. You don’t know what happened in it."

Tom Hayden’s analysis reflects the Legislature’s frustration with both the CSU and the UC protection of turf. In turn, the Chancellor’s office responds with mandates to do something about assessment (and accountability). Faculty respond that "we have always done assessment" and become suspicious about what the new "educational jargon" really means. The most persuasive portion of the "Final Report" presented to the CSUF Academic Senate by its Ad Hoc Committee on Assessment stresses the financial costs, increased faculty workload and unrealistic expectations that incorporating assessment will bring.


Evidence of Student Learning: Data From 1998 Annual Reports on Assessment

 Suspicions aside, each school was required to submit a report on assessment of student learning outcomes as part of its annual report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs this year. What did the deans say about their schools? We can summarize quickly: Programs that rely on external accreditation use the accreditation process as a major assessment tool. Schools that house those programs are those most able to define assessment in terms of student outcomes. Specifically:

Arts: Since all four programs in Arts are nationally accredited, all have defined assessment to meet national standards. In all four programs (art, music, theater and dance), students must audition and perform in some kind of juried setting or otherwise submit their work for public critique. In several programs, external reviewers—including the local press—provide feedback to students (and faculty). "Most" art students are required to develop a portfolio for faculty review.

Business Administration and Economics: Like Arts, BAE is nationally accredited. National guidelines require the school to establish measurable assessment goals. As the school’s next accreditation does not take place until 2002, BAE intends to start developing its goals at its upcoming academic year.

Communications: Several programs in the school are nationally accredited. The Dean reported that assessment would be on the agenda for the school retreat in August, 1998. Both departments in the school indicated that a goal is to do more with assessment. The Dean listed a number of assessment tools currently in use, including student portfolios in several courses (assessed by external professionals), films (also assessed for film festivals), work on the Daily Titan, which provides public exposure and opportunities to be critiqued, internships, awards, and student competitions. The Department of Communication was re-accredited in 1998 for five years. During the process it used focus groups with students and alumni to discuss student learning outcomes and reports that it received positive feedback.

Engineering and Computer Science: Programs were reaccredited recently by their respective national associations but no assessment report was submitted this year.

Human Development and Community Service: The Dean submitted a five page report outlining assessment activities in each of the school’s divisions. Programs in education are accredited by state and national agencies. Individual programs use combinations of portfolios, capstone courses, and surveys of alumni and employers. Two programs, Counseling and Human Services, participated in the Student Learning Initiative this year to develop student learning outcomes for portions of their programs. The nursing program is preparing for its accreditation next year. Kinesiology and Health Promotion reported that assessment for its students are measured by employment rates, scores on national tests, admittance to teacher education credential programs, and high evaluations by internship supervisors (community professionals in the field).

Humanities and Social Sciences: One program in the school (the Masters of Public Administration) is nationally accredited, and was last reviewed in 1996. The Dean cited alumni surveys in five departments and a SWOT analysis in Liberal Studies. He also indicated that defining the "marks" of a Fullerton graduate had assisted in some development of measurable student outcomes. However, the dean reported no specific school or department efforts to assess student learning.


Natural Science and Mathematics: The Dean stated that "informal assessment is built into several" of the school’s programs. He cited public colloquia where students present research results, manuscripts jointly authored by faculty and students accepted for publication in peer reviewed journals, portfolio-like laboratory journals, and some exit interviews.

In summary, in 1998, schools reported some standardization in the methods used to measure student learning outcomes, including, in many places, portfolios (or portfolio-like products), public performances or presentations, alumni and employer surveys, evaluation by external reviews (either through the accreditation process, or more individually, student internships), and focus groups. However, with the exception of HDCS, no dean reported a systematic effort to identify program goals and objectives and to tie learning outcomes to those programmatic concerns. However, several deans did report that effort is on their agenda.

PPRs and evidence of learning in theme areas
We looked at PPRs to find evidence of student learning, faculty and staff learning and measures of the environment for learning. Our spreadsheets summarize our findings, but the evidence offered by individual programs is singled out to demonstrate the different approaches we found.

Student learning

WASC students

It may be easier to say what we did not find. We rarely found a focus on assessment, particularly "student outcomes assessment," even as recently as this year, with some exceptions.

The usual tools to measure student learning outcomes include standardized testing, portfolios that are faculty reviewed, comprehensive examinations, theses, capstone courses, performances—again reviewed by faculty and in some cases external reviewers—and of course classroom-based testing and grading. We found no use of standardized testing as an exit requirement, except of course for the Writing Proficiency Test required of all. We found limited use of capstone courses, theses and comprehensive examinations except at the graduate level. Portfolios, critiques and performances are common in the School of the Arts, but infrequent elsewhere. We found wide spread use of internships and other field work where students are assessed by "real world" practitioners, and wide spread evidence of student excellence through competition for awards, entrance into graduate programs, scholarships awarded, and successful employment after graduation. Representative examples, all drawn from PPRs submitted between 1993 and 1998, follow.

School of the Arts: Music

  • Students receive individualized attention regarding applied music lessons, jury process of assessment, advisement and their course of study

  • Intensive observation and internship experience in both the Music Education and Piano-Pedagogy programs

  • Formal advisement required of all undergraduates every semester


School of Business Administration and Economics: Accounting

  • Student group won a regional meet to qualify for participating in the national round of the Arthur Andersen Tax Challenge – received a Honorable Mention at the national meet

  • Of the leading accounting firms in Orange County, three of the managing partners are graduates from the CSUF Accounting Department

  • The CFO at Transamerica is a CSUF accounting alumnus

School of Communications: Communications

  • 112 graduates involved in mentoring 165 seniors

  • One internship for credit is required during students’senior year


School of Human Development and Community Service: Human Services

  • 10% of majors graduated with honors, high honors or highest honors during the review period

  • Internships are an integral part of the curriculum:

  • 90% of majors indicate plans for graduate work



  • Graduates have gone on to become athletic directors, administrators of elder-exercise programs, coaches, etc. at well-known institutions across the nation

  • Several recent graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs


Education Division

  • Extensive commitment to multicultural education found by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

  • Advisement/monitoring processes in the initial credential program are fully integrated into the program


Elementary and Bilingual Education

  • Students are provided with a strong link between initial coursework and field work


Reading Program

  • Leadership skills of students are evidenced by examples of successful grant writing and consulting activities


Secondary Education

  • Students experience every aspect of teaching before actually beginning their student teaching experience


School of Engineering and Computer Science: Computer Science

  • Mandatory yearly advisement for all students


School of Humanities and Social Sciences: Afro-Ethnic Studies

  • A large number of majors are double majors


American Studies

The American Papers, a journal produced through the joint efforts of its student editorial board and the journal advisor, publishes high quality student work

  • Three students awarded Graduate Equity Fellowships
  • Two students awarded California Pre-Doctoral Fellowships
  • During the review period, a student received the Giles T. Brown Thesis of the Year Award
  • Over a dozen students have delivered papers at professional conferences


Examples of awards received by students:

      • The H&SS Life Time Achievement Award

      • The MacNeel-Pierce Oral History Scholarship

      • A University of Hawaii Historic Preservation Scholarship

      • Department recruits graduate students from a national constituency



  • 19 graduates entered doctoral programs during the seven year review period

  • Five students were recipients of the Chancellor’s Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Award

  • Students have organized symposia for the Southwestern Anthropological Association (SWAA) meetings

  • A student won the first prize for the "Best Student Paper" at the SWAA meetings in 1994

  • Student participation in national and regional meetings of the Anthropological Association

  • In 1990, one student received the $3,000 National First Prize Award from the Lambda Alpha Anthropology National Honor Society

  • Three students received the Jenkins Award of Excellence from the Lambda Alpha Society


Chicano Studies

  • One-third of survey respondents went on to graduate school

  • 30% of these respondents enrolled in a credential program


English and Comparative Literature

  • Enrollment in graduate program up 60%

  • Significant number of graduate students invited to present papers at regional, national and international conferences

  • The South Coast Poetry Journal in operation until 1995 rated by one reviewer as "among the best of the university-based literary magazines"

  • The Jacaranda Review is a journal produced by student editors in conjunction with English 408 which is a course that provides practical pre-professional experience

  • 21st in the nation in graduating Hispanic-Americans with B.A.s in English

  • 49th in the nation in conferring M.A. degrees on Asian-Americans



  • Graduate student ranks tripled over the previous five-year review period

  • M.A.s awarded at 60% over the previous review period

  • Five graduates delivered papers at national meetings

  • Three students continued on to Ph.D. programs

  • Four recent alumni teach geography at area community colleges


Latin American Studies

  • Dual language proficiency requirement (Spanish/Portuguese), the most rigorous of any university in California


Political Science and Public Administration

  • Several graduates chosen as Presidential Management Interns

  • Half of the surveyed alumni have completed or are enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program. Of those students who have completed, enrolled or considering graduate work, 51% have pursued the Master’s degree, 28% the pursuit of a J.D., 5% doctoral work, and 13% a teaching credential

  • In the public administration MPA program, students must demonstrate skills in at least two major computer applications upon entering the program – those lacking this knowledge must develop a plan for completion

  • An internship is required of those without administrative experience in a public sector agency in the MPA program



  • 794 students participated in independent study and directed research projects between 1987 and 1992

  • A large percentage of graduates from the master’s programs are currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program or have received a Ph.D.

  • In the academic year 1992-93 a psychology student received the President’s Associates Award and another student garnered the H&SS Life Achievement Award

  • Nearly all graduate students intend to continue in Ph.D. programs


School of Natural Science and Mathematics: Biology

  • 275 graduate students involved in research during the five year review period including 25 papers with students as co-authors, 25 published abstracts, 79 papers presented

  • An average of 32 undergraduates per year participated in faculty-guided research

  • 33 extramural proposals funded which specifically incorporated student research

  • 92% of biology students recommended for admission to health professional schools are accepted

  • 85 graduating students have been the recipients of 14 different awards during the review period

  • 3 students have won a total of five research competitions

  • Biology student won the Giles T. Brown, CSUF Outstanding Thesis Award

  • Graduate program increased by about 25% during the review period



  • Approximately 45% of bachelor’s degree recipients enter graduate and professional programs

  • Mandatory advising program

  • 24 undergraduates and 21 graduates co-authored publications with the faculty during the five year review period

  • As noted by the external reviewer, a key strength of the program is the involvement of undergraduate majors in research

  • 154 undergraduates participated with faculty in research projects during 1994-95

  • 53 students as co-authors at professional meetings during 1992-93

  • 79 students as co-authors at professional meetings during 1993-94



  • Two teams of students have entered the Mathematical Competition in Modeling

  • In 1992, a mathematics student listed as a "top participant" in the Putnam Competition

  • In 1992-93, a student was awarded 2nd place in the Statewide Undergraduate Research Competition

  • In 1993-94, students won 1st and 2nd prize at the Statewide Undergraduate Research Competition

  • Student presentations at regional meetings and in statewide research competitions

  • Several Paul Douglas Scholarships ($5,000) obtained for prospective teachers from the department


Faculty and staff learning:

WASC Richard Rocke

Acting Dean of ECS Richard Rocke and Professor David Cheng (Electrical Engineering) confer with students and representatives from Lockheed Martin about one of the 10 grants awarded for the CSU Partnership Program

Evidence from the PPRs of faculty learning invariably took the form of a compilation of the research publications, conference papers, and internal and external funding of grants by the program’s faculty members. Some programs reported that faculty had upgraded their technology skills, utilizing courses offered on campus. Others reported that faculty attended programs sponsored by the Institute for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. Many programs reported that their faculty engaged in outside consulting, professionally related service in the community and service on campus in academic governance or as mentors. Programs could cite such evidence as development and revision of course materials and innovative pedogogical applications. But, mostly, it was publications that mattered. Those programs that received outstanding teaching awards did mention them, of course.

Learning by staff in academic departments was almost never mentioned, although many programs did acknowledge that excellent staff support contributed to the success of their programs.

The following examples are all drawn from PPRs submitted between 1993 and 1998.


Environment for Learning:

WASC Anthropology

The new Anthropology offices in McCarthy Hall, refurbished by a $1,000,000 grant from NSF


Evidence relating to the campus environment for learning is the most diverse of the findings we have to report. Programs that used technology all needed upgraded equipment (these were all written before the rollout, of course). That was about the only universally shared opinion. Those programs that encouraged community -based programs and strong student support did mention those features. We don’t know if those programs that omitted such mention did so because they provide a less hospitable environment. Many programs mentioned faculty participating in mentoring. A few programs talked about outreach to community colleges and high schools. Very few mentioned strong relationships with Student Affairs programs or other resources around the campus. Several reported efforts to improve student access by soliciting money for scholarships, or obtaining research grants to support student work. This latter was especially true in the sciences.

Accreditation reports indicated that faculty are generally pleased with their physical surroundings, but PPRs rarely mentioned office space. (Kinesiology is an exception: it complained about the poor quality of its housing and surroundings.) No one talked about other amenities—or the lack of them—around the campus. Only a few even mentioned library resources.

Some sample comments:


School of the Arts: Music


  • Strong collaborative relationship with Theatre & Dance Department

  • Establishment of The Michalsky Center lab to update electronic music and associated computer equipment

  • Bands and choirs from other schools perform on campus as a way of sharing their achievements and approaches to music with CSUF students


School of Business Administration and Economics


The Business Resource Center is designed to help students successfully complete required coursework by providing tutoring in statistics, writing, accounting, finance, and economics – students also receive advisement, assistance with study skills, assessment services, and campus information. The project was funded by outside donors


The Accounting Group, organized primarily for improvement of the curriculum and the opportunity for students and employers to interact

  • The Pacioli Club, composed of CSUF accounting alumni well-established in their professional careers, contributes substantially to the Department through referrals and mentoring



The Economics Help Center offers group tutoring, an opportunity to form study groups, and a place to seek more extensive help than might be available during office hours

  • In the High School Bridge Program, the department collaborates with three local high schools to offer Economics 100 to their advanced honors students

  • The Institute for Economic and Environmental Studies provides reports and economic forecasts to the Southern California community

  • The Center for Economic Education is a state-wide activity based at CSUF to improve economic education in California’s high schools and community colleges


School of Communications: Communications

Significant recent infusion of equipment for the television/film sequence

  • The department has sponsored and organized several programs, workshops and seminars for special audiences such as high school and community college students


Speech Communications

The program collaborates successfully with a large number of hospitals, rehabilitative centers, clinics, and schools

  • The program sponsors the Communicative Disorders clinic which offers therapeutic programs to the community


School of Human Development and Community Service: Education Programs

Outreach to local high schools and community groups including much positive interaction with area school districts

  • The Anaheim Union High School Professional Center which brings together division faculty, academic department faculty, CSUF’s Center for Collaboration for Children and others an integrated services model and is referred to as an "exemplary practice" by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) review committee


Secondary Education

  • The START Program (Support and Training to Achieve the Retention of Teachers) exemplifies collaboration between the university and area school districts

  • The Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education has been rated as an "outstanding" example of collaboration and support for teachers and future teachers

  • The Intern/Community Advisory Board, acting to improve teacher preparation, is an example of collaboration with the professional community


Human Services

  • Department faculty collaborate with community agencies by providing program development and evaluation, in-service training, technical assistance, and direct services

  • Periodic meetings with faculty from 5 community colleges as well as presentations about the CSUF program are conducted by the department

  • Every year, approximately seven graduate school representatives have come to speak to the majors about graduate education

  • Annual Internship Day where 120 human service agencies from the community are assembled



  • The Human Performance Laboratory is a dynamic environment that functions as a student resource center

  • The Physical Performance Laboratory sponsors the Physical Performance Program providing service and public relations for both the department and the community


School of Humanities and Social Sciences: Afro-Ethnic Studies

  • Black History Month is co-sponsored by the department with a number of other campus groups. Programs are open to the community.

  • Establishment of a departmental peer-tutoring program made possible by an external grant



  • Department sponsors the Museum of Anthropology with changing exhibitions, open to the community

  • Respondents to student surveys report a strong "sense of family" and the bond of a close-knit community within the department

  • In conjunction with the School of Development and Human Services established a community training program called the Certificate Award in Managing Multicultural Work Environments


Chicano Studies

  • Establishment of the first Chicano/Latino Graduation recognition Banquet/Dance to honor and recognize CSUF graduates from the Chicano/Latino community

  • The Distinguished Chicano Lecture series brings outstanding Latino/Chicano celebrities and scholars to the campus


Comparative Religion

  • Good working relationships with the religion departments at the Claremont Graduate School and Chapman University

  • Department involved in presenting spring semester tours of various religious sites in the region for K-12 teachers

  • In Spring 1996, a student major visited five area high schools to speak about the relevance of the study of religion as a means towards a better understanding of other nations and cultures as well as multiculturalism in the U.S.



Students have the feeling that the Geography Department provides a "home" because of the social meeting space (Geography Lounge) which also houses the department’s maps, library and reading materials

  • Students express a "sense of community" because of the friendly supportive help of the staff and graduate assistants

  • A grant received by William Lloyd allowed for the complete makeover of the computer lab – a large increase in number of computers, up-to-date hardware and software


Political Science and Public Administration

  • The North Orange County Leadership Institute in partnership with local governments and business provides leadership training to citizens of Orange County

  • The Education Policy Fellowship Program allowed on and off-campus participants the opportunity to hear distinguished experts in the area of educational policy



Nationally recognized Developmental Research Center

  • Nationally recognized Twins Research Center


School of Natural Science and Mathematics: Chemistry

Cultivation of partnerships with corporations such as Beckman where it has established a student internship program

  • The recent opening of the Science Laboratory Center provides much improved facilities for conducting research and teaching
  • Active research collaborations with several institutions including UCLA, UCI, Cal Tech, and UCR



Students report a real sense of community because of the rapport with faculty and staff

  • A department instituted math education program aimed at minority youth in the Santa Ana Unified School District won a Golden Bell Award
  • The Language and Mathematics Project (LAMP) developed to support ethnic minority school children and to give their parents the skills to help their children
  • Funding received from the National Science Foundation for a Simulation Laboratory
  • The Applied Statistics Laboratory and the Mathematics Education Laboratory create opportunities for collaboration between students and faculty as well as interdisciplinary interaction with students from outside the department


A note about some "exemplary practices":

As we noted earlier, most of the PPRs we examined were written before new guidelines were in place for the 1997-98 period. However, we read the PPRs of two departments, Human Services and Chemistry, that anticipated the direction of the new guidelines. We called them "exemplary practices" because they serve as models for what we hope the new reports will be.


Human Services – 1993

The PPR prepared by the Human Services Department set out in black and white what the department views as learning objectives and what measures will be used to assess achievement of those objectives. Nine broad learning objectives such as developing an understanding of the diversity within client populations and acquiring knowledge and practice skills for intervention are spelled out with specific strategies included on how to achieve these goals. Assessment measures include research and theory-based position papers, group projects which entail community/field activities, journal writing in which students gauge the impact of the course’s content on their attitudes and values, and student discussion of specific cases and field work experiences. It is worth noting that this PPR was written in 1993 before the University’s Mission and Goal statement was in effect.


Chemistry – 1995

The format of the Chemistry Department’s PPR is patterned after the University’s Mission and Goals statement. Detailed and specific narratives of how the Chemistry Department achieves each of these goals are provided. Intertwined with the narratives are the Department’s philosophies and definitions of these goals.

One means of assessing student learning is to follow the paths of students after graduation, and this department does a remarkable job of tracking graduates and alumni after leaving CSUF. As stated in the introduction, the data truly have been compiled in such a way as to be useful to the Department, School, and University in preparing proposals; involving and tracking alumni; summarizing grant, contract, and publication activity; and providing a perspective on past and future activities.  


Section 3

External Assessment Accreditations

The following national accrediting agencies review programs at CSUF:

Accrediting agencies

Name of Accrediting Organization


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


Timing of accreditations occurred so that only four programs—Communications, Dance, Music, and Theater—were not reviewed during the five years we examined PPRs. For the rest, accreditation reports were substituted for PPRs, as is common, and all programs received national re-affirmation with two exceptions. The Nursing Program is treated as a "special case," below. In addition to its national accreditation, the Division of Education is also certified by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The Educational Administration Program received "probation" from the CTC and was temporarily suspended by President Gordon to undergo restructuring which has now been completed.

Like PPRs, accrediting reports are dissimilar and generalization for all reports is difficult, though not impossible. Accrediting reports tend to be much longer and more greatly detailed than PPRs. Like PPRs, they are written for the benefit of external review teams who, when they come on campus, customarily interview faculty, administrators, students and alumni as well as undertake an examination of written reports and records. Each report is written to reflect conformity to standards established by the agency. No report was theme based. None reflected implementation of the University’s Mission and Goals except as a particular goal might have intersected with an accrediting agency’s standard.

The standards employed by most accrediting agencies focus first on program content. Does the program offer the array of courses that the agency believes necessary for certification of the program? Courses are evaluated by a comparison of syllabi and sometimes course materials such as examinations and assignments. Accrediting agencies also examine the credentials of faculty, usually confined to an examination of vita, supplemented by on-site interviews. Aside from those two indicators, the similarity among standards is less precise. While all external reviewers seek some measure of student learning and performance, criteria are not uniform. However, we did find more evidence of measurable student outcomes in programs that undergo accreditation than in those not so encumbered. Portfolios, comprehensive examinations, capstone courses, and external evaluation (for example, by internship supervisors and and by means of graded field work) were some of the tools used to assess student learning. Surveys of alumni are usually required, but surveys of employers are usually not. Active community involvement and support, and attention to fundraising are usually lower priorities. Nearly every accreditation evaluation concludes by saying that—no matter what the program—more tenure track faculty need to be hired to improve program quality. Since programs get reaccredited without these faculty (except in rare cases), we suspect the recommendation is a routine response to appease programs under evaluation.

In some cases, accreditation reports did not meet the needs of the University satisfactorily. We mention two. Because some parts of the Department of Economics offerings are accredited by AACSB, the PPR submitted by the Department in 1995, the same year as School’s accreditation, omitted an external reviewer, alumni surveys, and faculty vita. Similarly, when the Communicative Disorders program was accredited in 1997, the Department of Speech Communications submitted the report as a substitute PPR. AVP of Academic Programs Klammer noted that Communicative Disorders was only one part of Speech Communications offerings, and that "the rest" of its offerings were, therefore, not assessed.

External evaluators for PPRs

External evaluators are required in PPRs (though note the Economics exception above), and these may include off campus site teams, members from another on-campus department, or a combination of both. Most of the programs we reviewed utilized just one person, but a few—Chemistry, Mathematics, Kinesiology and Health Promotion—used a team. While on campus, the reviewer usually talks with groups of faculty, staff and students, and sometimes alumni, perhaps the dean, and reviews the written self-study materials. Our review of PPRs found external reviewers always praising the quality of instruction at CSUF, always praising the quality of the faculty, almost always commenting on the heavy teaching load, and always remarking that students give strong support to the respective programs. Constructive criticism almost always suggested seeking more external support—financial and community-based—particularly in terms of alumni relations, employing technology more creatively and more extensively, and, as mentioned, hiring more tenure track faculty. Some representative comments follow.

Foreign Languages external reviewer recommended a "re-rationalizing" of the curriculum to put greater emphasis on upper-division literature and culture/civilization courses (although that would appear to be counter to the preferences expressed by students in focus groups conducted by FLL).

Chicano Studies’ external reviewer recommended that curriculum development and faculty development should be tied tightly together, urging that faculty attend conferences to stimulate creative thinking.

External evaluation of the Geography Department noted its high level of collegiality and strong commitment to teaching. The evaluator urged greater use of GIS technology and quantitative methods, and the Department responded by adding a new course specifically in quantitative applications and increasing its technical support in laboratories.

Reviewing the Latin American Studies program, the external evaluator found the major generally rigorous but suggested that a capstone seminar and an introductory course would provide depth. While the interdisciplinary nature of the program provided a strong core faculty support, the reviewer recommended finding some way to house faculty together to permit greater interaction.

Alumni surveys

The level and quality of alumni surveys varied from recording informal conversations with a representative sample of alumni to the sophisticated analysis mentioned earlier by the MPA program. However, the findings are uniform if the methods are not. Almost invariably, alumni give their programs the highest possible marks in terms of excellent teaching, dedicated faculty, and a quality program. Criticisms, when they occur, suggest greater attention needs to be paid to career development at the undergraduate level. Several programs (American Studies, Political Science) seem to develop "better" rapport with their graduate than undergraduate students and that rapport carries over to graduate alumni support. We suspect that findings from alumni surveys are so uniformly positive because most surveys are done with mailed questionnaires. The alumni who return them are probably those who feel good about the program. Those who were disappointed are less likely to respond.

Some of the material from the sample of responses reported below also appears in our earlier summary of evidence gleaned from the PPRs.

Chicano Studies conducted a survey of alumni who graduated between June, 1988 and June, 1992 for its PPR (submitted in 1994). The largest percentage of respondents are teaching in Orange and Los Angeles County, many hired as bilingual instructors. Other positions included social services and court interpreter. One third of the graduates were in a graduate program and another 30 percent were in a credential program.

Political Science’s (1996) survey of its alumni reported that 91 percent of its graduates rated the quality of the major as excellent or good, and that half of those alumni have completed or are enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program. Of those, 50 percent pursued a masters degree, 28 percent a J.D., 5 percent doctoral work, and 13 percent a teaching credential. Alumni assessed the skills acquired in the major, citing better writing, more effective communications, and analytical tools useful in their present work situations.

National reports

WASC Student Life 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. 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  

WASC Music

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.

WASC Craig IHara

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.

WASC Luis Vasquez

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.

WASC Spencer Colman

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 WASC Students

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.


Section 4

The "Rollout" 

compute (72288 bytes) At his very first convocation in 1990 as CSUF's new president, Milton Gordon described his vision of the electronic network that would link the campus community. First, a high bandwidth infrastructure had to be put in place. A fiber optic network would be needed to handle the volume and speed that would link each office on campus to every other and the campus would need its own digital private branch exchange (PBX). Next, the campus would need to agree on a standard platform to replace the medley of incompatible PCs, Wangs, Apples and esoterica that were housed in our offices. Finally, the campus would need to find the money to install new computers for everyone. It seemed an impossible dream.

President Gordon utilized a bold strategy to set his dream in motion. We were scheduled for a new phone switch--long overdue--and President Gordon was able to persuade state finance officers to fund the installation of a campus-wide fiber optic network as a capital outlay. The change from an analog to a digital phone system would enable a fully integrated communication system, linking electronic and voice communication.

Initial plans were formulated by Gene Dippel, who headed the computer center. Dr. Michael Parker became the university's Acting Technology Officer when Mr. Dippel retired, and Dr. Parker, President Gordon and Chief Financial Officer Sherri Newcomb developed a strategic plan to install new computers throughout the campus. Together, they created "The Committee to Implement a Standard Computer Work Environment" and charged it with the following:

  • determining the most feasible networked workstation standard for all full-time staff and faculty;

  • announcing an RFP for the equipment and installation;

  • selecting vendors

  • determining an employee workstation/e-mail training program for all employees;

  • removing previous workstations and redeploying fairly up-to-date computers to part-time staff, faculty and to student labs;

  • providing guidance to Newcomb and Parker.

The committee was also charged with keeping the campus community informed. To date, seven newsletters have been circulated to the campus.

By Spring, 1997, with the infrastructure complete, plans were in place. The RFP was awarded to Titan Shops to work with subcontractors Dell and Apple. Wareforce (to install the machines), and JCM Facilities Planning and Management to manage the project. Using Computer Center and Library staff, a pilot project "rolled out" computers to the Library and Computer Center in December. The rollout of new computers to the rest of the campus began in January, 1998 and the first rollout was completed in mid-June with more planned for new and returning employees in the fall. At the height of the rollout, 110 machines were installed each week, confounding early estimates that the roll out would take about two years. In all, 1,394 computers and 1,111 printers were installed with 200 more planned.

Obtaining new standardized equipment was the first step, but as President Gordon made clear to the campus, new machines would be pointless without training. The committee had selected Microsoft NT 4.0 as its network platform, and Microsoft’s Office ’97 productivity suite as the standard software. Now it became concerned with training the campus community. The carrot was the new machine; the stick was that people would not receive their new machines until they were trained in Outlook, the communications software that supported e-mail and scheduling functions. Training was coordinated by Robin Innes and Naomi Goodwin in the new staff development office. Courses in Outlook, Windows NT, Excel, Word and PowerPoint were offered, and by May, 1998, 1,186 staff and faculty had received Outlook training. (Some were exempt because they were already expert with Outlook.) A grand total of 2,890 attended various software training sessions from December to May.

New computers in student labs also meant new opportunities for students to learn. All students were provided with free email accounts, and as faculty began integrating the technology into their classes, students received more training. In Fall, 9,623 students, and in Spring, 10,082 students completed computer-based courses.

What remains to be done? As Dr. Parker says, this is a process that will never end. Shortly, the full integration of phones and computers will be complete. Voice mail messages (from the phones) will be accessible as e-mail on the computers and the phone directory, updated daily, will be online, capable of dialing telephone numbers at the click of a mouse. Future resources have been allocated to provide ongoing replacement as machines and software become outdated. President Gordon’s technology vision, outlined in 1990 before the recession, has been realized. And the campus environment for learning, as faculty and staff utilize more and more of the network’s capabilities, as been upgraded to a technological state of the art.

We haven’t conducted a survey yet, but our sense is that most users on campus think the rollout was not only a success but also that the increased opportunities for easy communication, and increased expertise in computer usage as a result of training has met a real need. Not all of the support of learning functions on campus operate so smoothly.


T he WASC Self Study gets an office: a horror story

Initially, support for the Self Study Team was based in Associate Vice President Klammer’s office, but once we got rolling, we needed space for our clerical assistant, our graduate assistant, and the volumes of material we were gathering. Finding the space was not all that hard. The Vice President for Academic Affairs had a spare office in that complex, and since it was so centrally located, and visible, the team was happy to house our clerical assistant there. And Dean Castro loaned us two rooms that the Anthropology Department vacated when it moved to its new digs in McCarthy Hall.

But the rooms needed painting badly, and floor polishing and general cleaning up. First, though, we couldn’t get an appointment for the move. When the movers finally arrived, they didn’t have a screwdriver with them (and/or it wasn’t their job) so they couldn’t unbolt the bookshelves from the wall to move them. It took us seven weeks to get an estimate for the painting (we thought the cost was outrageous!) and we waited another month before the painting occurred. Finally, we were up and functional, thanks to a rather speedy installation of our computer (the rollout worked for us!) although it took us two weeks to get our phone hooked up (and that cost $180!).

Being of an inquiring mind, we had to find out why this all took so long. It seems everyone wants painting done during the summer, and everyone picks the summer to move. We understand. Painting and moving are disruptive and so it’s better to do them during the quieter moments. But, we couldn’t help wondering, if this happens every year, why can’t we anticipate and plan more effectively?

We asked Task Force member Melinda White of Physical Plant to explain. Is this the way to promote a campus environment that supports student-centered learning? What has happened? Melinda responded, "I wholly agree that services (or the lack thereof) that the WASC Task Force experienced definitely contribute to our campus environment. Lack of these services has a compounding effect in that, if not available, or not readily available, the efficiency, effectiveness and even morale of the requesting department can be affected."

Melinda explained that during the budget crunch that occurred from 1991 to 1993, the University established priorities so that support for academic programs superceded all other University needs. These cuts resulted in the loss of many support positions, including custodians, grounds keepers, trades, and our only welder. The "academic side of the house" stayed pretty much intact so that students could get the classes they needed and no tenure-track faculty were laid off. But on the "administrative side of the house," positions were lost and maintenance suffered.

Melinda reports that a "re-prioritization" is taking place. "The purse strings have finally loosened for the care and feeding of our campus physical plant," she says, with new funds being allocated for elevator maintenance, classroom refurbishment, and deferred maintenance such as the facing on McCarthy Hall that was recently completed. Melinda’s hope is that new positions will mean alleviating delays so that her ability to service the community, and thus improve the campus environment for learning, will increase substantially.


Getting reimbursed: another horror story

In April, four members of the WASC task force were asked to attend "best practices" presentations on assessment at schools located around the country. Since we were given pretty short notice, we were asked to make our own travel arrangements and then be reimbursed.

State law says that reasonable employee business expenses must be reimbursed within 30 days (but of course that applies only to the private sector; the public sector isn’t covered by the statute). And, you’ve guessed it, by mid-August, four months later, three of us had not yet been reimbursed.

We know why. Travel reimbursement is handled by one person. One person, who does reimbursement for all 2500 employees. (Linda Osburn reports that she gets occasional student assistant or temporary help). Linda tries to get reimbursements processed within a six week time frame, but if something goes wrong—and something always seems to go wrong—that time expands. Here was a problem for one of us. She flew on "ticketless" travel, ordering her ticket over the Internet and receiving a reservation, but no ticket. Chancellor Office and Finance Office guidelines say that an original ticket is required for reimbursement. But there was no ticket. She’d been in the pile for the usual six weeks, but now she had to file an explanation as to why she couldn’t produce a ticket. And, of course, her reimbursement claim went back to the pile for another six weeks.


Conclusion: Both our "horror" stories exemplify a campus climate that is distinctly non-supportive of its employees. We are not trying to single out Terry Jarmon in Property, or Linda Osburn in travel, or Melinda White in Physical Plant. We know they are as frustrated in trying to deliver their services as we are when we request them. We point out that part of the SWOT analysis has some real poignancy for us, that part that talks about the slow and inefficient bureaucracy. But we also take heart, along with Melinda, that the priorities of the University were always clear: academic programs were "protected" even though that meant a temporary postponement of other necessities.


Preparation for Phase II A Campus-Wide Forum

Working with the University Planning Committee, the WASC Self Study Task Force will host a campus wide forum on November 13 to receive input about its Phase I draft and to plan both for Phase II and for greater integration and collaboration on various initiatives. Among the subjects for discussion will be the "marks" of a Fullerton student and graduate, the "Cornerstones" project of the CSU, and plans for increasing assessment about student learning. The whole campus will be invited to participate in the Forum; however, selected groups of students will be specifically invited, including students in courses that are concerned with organizational effectiveness and assessment practices.

WASC Self Study Steering Committee

The planning committee for the university-wide forum consists of the WASC Self Study Steering Committee, working with Judith Anderson and Milton Gordon of the University Planning Committee.  From left to right:  Pat Szeszulski (Child and Adolescent Studies), Ray Young (Geography), President Gordon, Judith Anderson (Executive Vice President), Dave DeVries (Communications), Sandra Sutphen (Political Science), Tom Klammer (Associate Vice President of Academic Programs) and Dolores Vura (Analytical Studies).


Proposed data collection
The Higher Education Research Institute (UCLA) has invited CSUF to participate in two surveys, one directed to incoming freshmen and one for all faculty. The costs to participate are reasonable, and the final sample will provide us a nation-wide comparative base. We have the option of adding questions to meet local interests to both surveys, and we have done that.

Each WASC Self Study Subcommittee is also planning to collect additional data. The faculty and staff subcommittee is looking for a survey tool to be distributed to staff members, and the Subcommittee on the Environment for Learning is planning a classroom needs survey. For our data portfolio, which will be a part of our campus self study for WASC, we have several initiatives underway. They include:

1. The first-ever university-wide Fact Book will be published (hard copy first) by the end of Fall, 1998. Funded as a University Planning Initiative, it is a collaboration among Analytical Studies, Public Affairs, and the President’s Office to bring together information about CSUF from all three offices, as well as from Business and Finance, Student Financial Aid, Sponsored Projects, and the like, all in one book. The Fact Book will serve as the official information guide for all campus members, and will also be sent to our various community/regional business, K-12, and other partners. The Fact Book will be structured as closely as possible to our Mission and Goals, with the main criteria of organization being "call it what they will understand, and put it where they will find it". This is the "umbrella project" for all others described below.

2. We will develop the Common Data Set, integrating our IPEDS data (which is completed by the system office) with our campus external survey completion, making clear choices on what constitutes "official data" and streamlining the process of completing external surveys (all of which are done by the campus, save IPEDS).

3. We will develop a standard package of data for SCOPE visits [Statewide Capital Outlay Program], which while intended originally for the purpose of monitoring capital outlay projects, have increasingly become annual comprehensive exams on trends in headcount majors, graduation rates, trends in ethnicity, applications/admits/yields, etc. For the last SCOPE visit in November 1997, a 74-page handout with accompanying presentation was so well received that it will now become the standard, but we can no longer develop such massive amounts of "evidence" in an ad hoc manner.

4. Analytical Studies’ Statistical Handbook and its trend data "Plus" section will be fully migrated from mainframe/SPSSX analyses to MS-Access start to finish. The new system provides the basis for data base warehousing and sharing across the campus.

5. A number of retention and graduation studies will be updated and expanded. Many departments are now clamoring for data about their own students, for use in Program Performance Review and professional accreditation. Analyses with broad interest will be published in the Fact Book, while the most detailed program information will be warehoused for department/program use.

6. Starting Spring, 1999, the design and implementation of web pages directly linked to the CSUF official home page will be launched. Essentially, the goal is to put the entire Fact Book online.

7. In combination with item #6, an intranet system accessible by those who need to use detailed data (Deans’ offices, department chairs) will also be designed and implemented. The best example of use of these types of data is the "Managing Resources and Faculty Recruitment Planning" project in Academic Affairs. The Deans need a decision support system, for their use in monitoring the effects both within and across their departments and programs of alternative, hypothetical reallocation and new resource allocation decisions at the school level. What we have in mind is a sophisticated, public website, which permits key campus offices to "drill down" to their own data and analysis tools.
While a completion date for the website and intranet cannot be known at this time, we do expect to have completed all other parts of this mega-project well in time for submission of our data portfolio to WASC, and whatever is available on the internet will be shared as well.


Phase II: The Culture of Evidence

Assessing the effectiveness of programs is a critical component for compiling the culture of evidence that we seek in our Self Study. What does it mean when we say that CSUF is a student-centered learning community? How do programs know when they are contributing to student learning? What evidence do they have?

In 1997-98, the Division of Student Affairs conducted an intensive self-study review. What follows is the "Executive Summary" of the findings of that self study. The full report will be included as an appendix in our final version of Phase II. Robert Palmer is the Vice-President for Student Affairs.


California State University, Fullerton


Student Affairs Self-Study Review

Executive Summary

I. Overview

From September 1997 through February 1998, the Division of Student Affairs at Cal State Fullerton conducted a Self-Study designed to identify strengths and weaknesses in the division and its units. The outline used to perform the self-study is contained in the Book of Professional Standards 1997, published by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS). The CAS standards consist of 24 sets of standards by which units in Student Affairs can measure their performance. Each set of standards utilizes the same 13 categories to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a particular program or service in Student Affairs. These 13 categories are:

1. Mission

2. Program

3. Leadership

4. Organization and Management

5. Human Resources

6. Financial Resources

7. Facilities, Technology, and Equipment

8. Legal Responsibilities

9. Equal Opportunity, Access and Affirmative Action

10. Campus and Community Relations

11. Diversity

12. Ethics

13. Assessment and Evaluation

The CSUF Division of Student Affairs created a committee, the Self-Study Committee, which decided to use 18 of the 24 standards by which to measure performance in the division. There were also 6 units in the Division for which CAS standards were not available. These 6 units wrote their own set of standards based on the CAS outline. The combined 24 sets of standards and the units which utilized them are as follows:

CAS Standard - Unit Investigating the Standard

Campus Activities - Office of Student Life

Career Planning and Placement - Career Development Center

College Union - Titan Student Union

Counseling Programs - Career Development Center

Disability Services - Disabled Student Services

Financial Aid Programs - Financial Aid

Fraternity and Sorority Programs - Office of Student Life

Housing Programs - Housing and Residential Life

International Student Programs - International Education and Exchange

Judicial Programs - Office of the Vice President, Housing and Residential Life, Office of Student Life

Leadership Programs - Office of Student Life

Minority Programs - Office of Student Life

Student Orientation - Office of Student Life

Outcomes Assessment and Program Evaluation - Testing and Research Center

Women Student Programs - Women’s Center

Additional Standards Created for the Self Study

Adult Re-entry Program

Assistant Deans

Associated Students

Health Center

MESA Engineering Program

Testing Center

Each unit responsible for investigating a set of standards performed the following actions:

  • Identified a principal investigator for that unit.

  • Reviewed the standards and developed a set of criteria by which to measure the success of the programs, services and functions addressed in the standards.

  • Developed an assessment plan to assess these criteria.

  • Conducted a series of evaluation steps including written surveys, interviews, focus groups, "subject matter expert" inquiries, document review, etc.

  • After reviewing all data collected, created a grid which lists each criteria, evaluates that criteria on a three point scale (does not meet standard, meets standard, exceeds standard), and explains data used to determine the evaluation.

  • Each principal investigator met with two professional colleagues and one student to review the findings and get peer review feedback.

  • Each principal investigator reported the final findings to the group as a whole.


III. Findings

Each unit/principal investigator came up with their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses relative to each set of standards (see sections to follow for details). When viewed in the aggregate, certain items seemed to emerge for Student Affairs as a whole. Following are the areas which need improvement across the entire Division:

  • Assessment and Evaluation -

Many units, if not all, felt a need for a more coherent, consistent evaluation and assessment plan for their unit and for the division as a whole. Most units are collecting some data but without much consistency. There is no consistency of data collected across units. In addition, very little assessment of learning outcomes is being performed.

  • Mission -

While most units felt they had a coherent mission, many did not feel that their "audiences" knew or understood the intent of their mission. Some units felt a need for more distinctive or purposeful mission statements and it seemed to be the consensus of the group that the division as a whole needs to broadly distribute the division mission statement.

  • Facilities, Technology and Equipment -

Some units found that a lack of physical space and technology (including hardware, software and support services) was contributing to a lower level of service than should be provided.

  • Human Resources -

Two or three units found that a lack of adequate clerical and support staff was hindering the service provided. Number of clerical staff is the problem in some units while inadequate training emerges in other areas.

  • Campus and Community Relations -

A number of departments found that the outreach to and relationships with other campus units (especially those not in the division of Student Affairs) could be improved. Some departments found that outreach to entities off-campus could also be improved.


  1. Create and implement a coherent, coordinated research agenda for Student Affairs.

  2. Coordinate research efforts across units.

  3. Increase the use of learning outcomes assessment methods.

  4. Each unit should have a mission statement and the division as a whole should have one as well. All of these statements should connect with the University mission statement.

  5. The Student Affairs mission statement and individual unit mission statements should be widely distributed, published as a part of ongoing publication efforts, and displayed in the units.

  6. Examine the use of physical space in the division and make decisions about effective and efficient use of this space.

  7. Examine the use of technology in the division and make decisions about effective and efficient uses of this technology.

  8. Examine the amount and level of secretarial and support staff in the division and make decisions about necessary changes.

  9. Create and implement a training program targeting clerical and support staff, focusing on efficiency and utilization of existing resources.

  10. Improve outreach efforts to other on-campus units; provide more education to the rest of the campus about what we do.

  11. Improve outreach efforts to off-campus entities; provide more education to the surrounding community about Student Affairs and Cal State Fullerton.


V. Future Directions for Self Study, Evaluation and Assessment

Ongoing assessment efforts are continuing in each of the Student Affairs units. The annual report process includes an assessment data collection and analysis component and is an assessment project in and of itself. Student Affairs is very involved in the WASC related campus self study happening in 1998-99. It is recommended that a Student Affairs division-wide self study be conducted each 3-5 years, with staff involved in each cycle reviewing the work from the prior cycle.


Appendix I-A: Mission, Goals and Strategies


Mission, Goals &Strategies*

California State University, Fullerton

California State University, Fullerton

... where learning is preeminent


Mission Statement

Learning is preeminent at California State University, Fullerton. We aspire to combine the best qualities of teaching and research universities where actively engaged students, faculty, and staff work in close collaboration to expand knowledge.

Our affordable undergraduate and graduate programs provide students the best of current practice, theory, and research and integrate professional studies with preparation in the arts and sciences. Through experiences in and out of the classroom, students develop the habit of intellectual inquiry, prepare for challenging professions, strengthen relationships to their communities and contribute productively to society.

We are a comprehensive, regional university with a global outlook, located in Orange County, a technologically rich and culturally vibrant area of metropolitan Los Angeles. Our expertise and diversity serve as a distinctive resource and catalyst for partnerships with public and private organizations. We strive to be a center of activity essential to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of our region.


Goals and Strategies

I. To ensure the preeminence of learning, we will

A. establish an environment where learning and the creation of knowledge are central to everything we do.

B. integrate reaching, scholarly and creative activities, and the exchange of ideas.

C. assess student learning collegially and continually use the evidence to improve programs.

D. affirm the university's commitment to freedom of thought, inquiry, and speech.

E. recruit and retain a highly-qualified and diverse staff and faculty.

F. develop and maintain attractive, accessible, and functional facilities that support learning.

G. integrate advances in information technologies into learning environments.

H. develop a strong library which provides rapid access to global information and serves as a nexus for learning.


II. -To provide high quality programs that meet the evolving needs of our students, community, and region, we will

A. support undergraduate and graduate programs in professional and preprofessional studies and-in the arts and sciences.

B. integrate knowledge with the development of values, professional ethics, and the teamwork, leadership, and citizenship skills necessary for students to make meaningful contributions to society.

C. develop a coherent and integrated general education program.

D. provide experiences in and out of the classroom that attend to issues of culture, ethnicity, and gender and promote a global perspective.

E. offer continuing education programs that provide retraining and meet professional certification and other community needs.

F. capitalize on the uniqueness of our region, with its economic and cultural strengths, its rich ethnic diversity, and its proximity to Latin America and the Pacific Rim.

G. provide opportunities to learn from external communities through internships, cooperative education, and other field activities.

H. provide opportunities for students to participate in a competitive intercollegiate athletics program.

I. provide opportunities for recreation and enhanced physical wellbeing.


III. To enhance scholarly and creative activity, we will

A . support faculty research and grant activity that leads to the generation, integration and dissemination of knowledge.

B. encourage departments to reconsider the nature and kinds of scholarship within the discipline and to create a culture conducive to scholarly and creative activity.

C. encourage departments to implement a plan and personnel document supportive of scholarly and creative activities consistent with collegial governance and the University's mission and goals.

D. cultivate student and staff involvement in faculty scholarly and creative activity.

E. provide students, faculty, and staff access to and training in the use of advanced technologies supportive of research, scholarly, and creative activity.


IV. To make collaboration integral to our activities, we will

A. create opportunities in and out of the classroom for collaborative activities for students, faculty, and staff.

B. leverage our membership within the largest university system in the United States to advance the University's mission.

C. encourage, recognize, and reward interdisciplinary and crossunit collaboration.

D. promote collaborative and innovative exchanges with other educational institutions at all levels to maximize the efficient useof resources and enhance opportunities for all learners.


V. To create an environment where all students have the opportunity to succeed, we wil

A. develop an innovative outreach and simplified admissions system that enhances recruitment of qualified students.

B. ensure that students of varying' age, ethnicity, culture, academic experience, and economic circumstances are well served.

C. facilitate a timely graduation through class availability and effective retention, advisement, career counseling, and mentoring

D. provide an affordable education without sacrificing quality.

E. provide an efficient and effective financial aid system.

F. maximize extramural funding and on-campus employment to defray students' educational costs.

G. provide an accessible, attractive and safe environment, aid a welcoming campus climate.


VI. To increase external support for university programs and priorities, we will

A. increase the proportion of campus resources generated by private giving.

B. strengthen links with our alumni that optimize an on-going commitment to the success of the University.

C. increase our effectiveness in obtaining grants and contracts, consistent with university mission and goals.

D. convey a clear message to the public that we are essential to the cultural, intellectual, and economic development of the region.


VII. To expand connections and partnerships with our region, wewill

A. develop mutually beneficial working partnerships with public and private sectors within our region.

B. serve as a regional center for intellectual, cultural, athletic and life-long learning activities.

C. develop community-centered programs and activities, consistent with our mission and goals, that serve the needs of our external communities.

D. involve alumni as valued participants in the on-going life of the university.


VIII. To strengthen institutional effectiveness, collegial governance and our sense of community, we will

A. assess university activities and programs to ensure that they fulfill our mission and to identify areas of needed improvement, change, or elimination.

B. create simplified and responsive decision-making structures that reduce fragmentation and increase efficiency.

C. strengthen shared collegial governance in order to build community and acknowledge our collective responsibility to achieve the University's goals.

D. provide a good work environment with effective development and training programs that assist employees in meeting their job requirements and in preparing for advancement.

E. ensure our reward systems are compatible with our mission and goals by reviewing the multiple roles of faculty and staff through the various stages of their careers.

F. integrate advances in information and communication technologies into work environments.

G. enhance a sense of community to ensure that faculty, students, and staff have as a common purpose the achievement of the overall goals of the University.

*The goals and strategies are not in any priority order. The Roman numerals and letters have been added as reference points.