Statement from CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison on the recent Executive Orders handed down by the California State University system.
To the Campus Community:
As a campus in the California State University system, we must operate under state legislation, system policies and executive orders (EO) in respect to the administration of this campus.
In this regard, we recently received CSU EO 1100 and EO 1110 that affect our curriculum. While Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Yi Li has shared communications with CSUN faculty regarding these executive orders, several recent conversations with student leaders prompted me to provide an update to the entire campus community on the status of the executive orders.
These executive orders relate to general education (GE) requirements and academic preparedness of first-year students across the CSU. For the most part, they cover separate areas. EO 1100 aims to create a uniform GE design across the system. EO 1110 focuses on the academic preparation of first-time freshmen. For our campus, EO 1100 is particularly challenging because it eliminates a category of our GE requirements – Section F – where our comparative and cross-cultural studies are currently listed. The Chancellor’s Office confirmed that GEs must be composed of sections A through E.
I absolutely understand the concern related to our cross-cultural studies courses and share the frustration about requiring changes to these courses in these executive orders, particularly EO 1100. Since the 1960s, CSUN has been a leader in ethnic, gender, women’s and cultural studies. That will never change.
Provost Li and I have shared our concerns with the Chancellor’s Office – relating to both the aggressive implementation timeline and the potential adverse effect on our campus. We hope to work together with faculty to propose solutions that meet the spirit of EO 1100, while maintaining the commitment to maintain comparative studies as part of the CSUN curriculum. Academic Affairs has published an FAQ to help collect the many questions on this complicated and challenging issue.
I want to reiterate that CSUN is 100 percent committed to our ethnic, gender, women’s and cultural studies departments and programs, which are points of pride for the university, vital to our institutional character and contributors to student success. There will be no dismantling of these departments and programs. We will continue to educate students using the pedagogy and curriculum that prepares them to thrive in an increasingly multicultural and interconnected world. Any implementation proposal must retain the requirement that students complete 6 units of comparative cross cultural studies, ensuring that these courses remain a part of the 48 GE units.
There are also numerous questions about the implementation of EO 1110. Our writing program is already compliant with EO 1110, and the math department has developed and introduced a course that provides preparatory material in statistics and math ideas, to be offered starting in spring 2018, that allows for baccalaureate level credit. These efforts reinforce CSUN’s commitment to providing the academic support students need to be successful.
Faculty engagement on these issues is essential to our finding viable solutions for our campus that promote our values and ensure student success. Indeed, our shared governance requires faculty’s leadership. Only through creative and strategic thinking and dialogue across the campus community including all stakeholders can we forge a path forward.
We are a proud part of the CSU system, and we also have our own campus mission, vision, values and priorities. I remain confident that together we can face this challenge, delivering a solution that not only meets the best interests of our students and meets the requirements of these executive orders, but also maintains CSUN’s commitment to ethnic, gender, women’s and cultural studies.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.
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