Options for Reducing Time to Degree for
Students in the California State University:
Three-Year Degree Programs; State-Supported
Year-Round Instruction; Articulation of Major
Requirements Across Campuses and Systems

AS-2207-94/GA/AA - May 5-6, 1994

WHEREAS, AB 2895 (Archie-Hudson): Restructuring Postsecondary Education as introduced in February, 1994, would ask the California Postsecondary Education Commission to report by January 31, 1995, its analysis of three proposed mechanisms for shortening time to degree for students in the California State University: the possibility of three-year degree programs, state-supported year-round instruction, and greater articulation of major requirements across campuses and systems; and

WHEREAS, Three-year degree programs could mean that the unit requirement for the baccalaureate degree be reduced from the normal 124–130 to 90–100 semester hours of instruction spread across six full-time semesters, or the equivalents, and would, therefore, require a substantial reduction in general education and/or major courses; and

WHEREAS, Any substantial reduction in instruction required in university programs would lead to an unacceptable degradation in the depth and breadth of learning of university graduates; and

WHEREAS, Substantial previous work by California State University staff, and others, has apparently clearly demonstrated that year-round operation would give some students an opportunity to achieve a baccalaureate degree in a shorter time, but would evidently cost the state more, as state support for students would presumably be extended to the summer months where presently, at most campuses, summer school tuition pays most costs; and

WHEREAS, Articulation agreements are in principle good for students, faculty, and others interested in facilitating student progress toward degrees, and can in some instances help students to achieve baccalaureate degrees in reasonable time-frames; and

WHEREAS, The California State University, with faculty energy and assistance composing a substantial part of the effort, has forged articulation agreements especially between the CSU and the state's community colleges, has established the Course Articulation Numbering(CAN) system, and has established a pathbreaking general education transfer program; and

WHEREAS, Close articulation in major programs is much more difficult, due to varying requirements, and much less desirable, inasmuch as major requirements do and should reflect the special strengths and expertise of particular faculties; therefore be it

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University support reasonable reviews, including reviews by the California Postsecondary Education Commission, of ways and means to accommodate those students who desire shorter times to degree; and be it further

RESOLVED: The Academic Senate CSU urge that proposals for studying ways and means to accommodate students who desire shorter times to degree, such as to the California Postsecondary Education Commission or others, and including those that may be proposed or adopted through legislation such as AB2895 (Archie-Hudson): Restructuring Postsecondary Education, or others, be broadly framed, and sensitive to academic considerations such as the need for any high quality educational experience to forthrightly draw upon and capture the special expertise of particular campus faculties in the design of courses in the major field of study; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU oppose proposals to shorten the standard program leading to a baccalaureate degree from the equivalent of four years of full-time study to three years.


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