Concerns and Recommendations Regarding Cal State Online Reorganization


RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) express its dismay that recent changes to Cal State Online were announced to system constituencies without review or input from the Cal State Online Advisory Board; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU call for collegial development of foundational documents for a re-envisioned Cal State Online, specifically to include a) a mission statement, b) a vision statement, c) clearly stated objectives and goals, d) a business plan comprising financial and marketing plans, e) an organizational chart, both internal (within the Cal State Online office) and external (positioned within Academic Affairs); and f) a timeline for accomplishing its objectives; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU assert that, as Cal State Online takes on its new role as a centralized source of data collection, it must work closely with faculty on AB 386-related evaluation and assessment responsibilities that are within the purview of the campus-based faculty; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU contend that the dissolution of the Cal State Online Board should not occur until a plan for a new governance structure that includes faculty is established, and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU recommend the establishment of a newly configured Cal State Online system-wide advisory committee to include at least 5 faculty members, and the creation of a charge, in a partnership between the ASCSU and the Academic Affairs division of the Chancellor’s Office; and be it further

RESOLVED:That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to CSU Board of Trustees, CSU Chancellor, CSU campus Presidents, Cal State Online Advisory Board, Cal State Online Executive Director, CSU campus Senate Chairs, CSU Provosts/Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs, Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC), Academic Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC), Provosts’ Technology Steering Committee (PTSC), Technology Steering Committee (Presidents) (TSC), Extended Education Deans, and Commission on the Extended

RATIONALE: During the October 24, 2013 Cal State Online Advisory Board meeting, several announcements were made. Announcements which were viewed as positive include: a) the organizational placement of Cal State Online within the domain of Academic Affairs in the Chancellor’s Office, b) the removal of restrictions on which Learning Management System (LMS) must be used in online courses and programs, c) the rescission of fees to Pearson if its LMS is not used by existing courses and programs, and d) the “one-stop-shop” collection of all online programs and courses in the CSU, as well as changes to the Cal State Online website, that seem to be consistent with advice offered by the ASCSU in the past (“A Call for the Equitable Visibility of All Online Degree Programs offered by CSU Campuses on the and Websites,”  On the other hand, the ASCSU is concerned about the centralization of data collection under the auspices of Cal State Online (CSO), the dissolution of the Advisory Board, and reference to a new business model in the absence of an old one as well as several other foundational documents that should be guiding CSU’s online enterprise.

We would be remiss if we did not note the breach in shared governance.  Prior to the October 24th Board teleconference, the last CSO Advisory Board meeting was on June 5th, 2013 for 90 minutes, and it also took place via phone.  The last face-to-face meeting occurred on April 17th, 2013, even though such meetings were slated to take place every other month.  In the time intervening, key decisions were continually made without input from the Board, particularly faculty serving on the Board, one of whom also sits on the Executive Committee of the Board; shared governance processes have not been followed.  Moreover, it does not inspire confidence that the mechanism for shared governance, the CSO Advisory Board, would be dissolved.  This Board is currently the only system-wide vehicle by which faculty are directly involved in the administration of online education in the CSU.  Therefore, a new system-wide entity should be established to replace the current Advisory Board.  We seek to partner with the Academic Affairs division in the Chancellor’s Office to determine the best configuration of such a group.  Experience with shared governance suggests that the announced intention of seeking input on future decisions by directly contacting stakeholders is not a workable approach. Many stakeholders are involved, and unintended consequences may be difficult to avoid unless multiple constituencies are simultaneously consulted.  In addition, the development of foundational documents should proceed immediately. Such documents must be vetted in accordance with shared governance principles.

Finally, with regard to the announcement that Cal State Online will serve as a centralized source of data collection for online instruction and compliance with AB 386 (Levine, “Public Post-Secondary Education: Cross-Enrollment: Online Education at the California State University”), evaluation and assessment of all academic offerings are the responsibility of the faculty, so it is critical that Cal State Online involve faculty in such efforts.

Approved Unanimously– November 1, 2013



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