Program Performance Review
Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies
(B.A. in Ethnic Studies with an option in Chicana and Chicano Studies)
Dr. Dagoberto Fuentes, Chair
October 28, 2008
During the 2007-08, the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department (Chicana/o Department) conducted a program performance review. The self-study detailed the department’s activities since the last review. In March 2008 an external review team conducted a day long visit and issued a report on its findings. The external review included: Dr. Gilda L. Ochoa from Pomona College, Dr. Carlos Perez from CSU Fresno and Dr. Michael Steiner from the department of American Studies at CSU Fullerton. The external review team, reviewed the self-study and other documents, interviewed departmental faculty including the chair, met with the Dean and Associate Dean and with a number of students prior to issuing their report. Along with the self-study, the department also submitted for review the Dean’s Response and Recommendations and a response to the report of the external review team.
The B.A. in Ethnic Studies with an option in Chicana and Chicano Studies is not a stand alone major.
The Chicana/o Department is a relatively small department with six full-time faculty which includes four assistant professors and two professors both of whom are FERPs. There are seven part-time faculty and it is reported that the pool of part time faculty is dwindling. As reported by the Dean the department has experienced only modest growth in achieved FTES over the past ten years, increasing by 7.1% from 1999-00 to 2007-08 (160.2 in 98-99 and 171.6 in 07-08); it is important to note that during the same period the College of Humanities and Social Sciences increased by 40% in achieved FTES (from 6,136 in 99-00 to 8,592 in 07-08). The 58% growth in the department’s FTEF is attributable to a combination of growth in enrollment and the intentional lowering of the SFR over the past several years. The number of department majors has remained basically the same in the last ten years. (34.5 in 98-99 and 35.0 in 07-08).
A key issue for Chicana/o Studies is to stabilize and retain the faculty. At present there are no associate professors and two full professors are FERPS. The burden of advancing the department falls on the shoulders of four assistant professors. The Department reports that it would like to see the number of full time faculty increased. Another key issue is student enrollment all parties tend to agree that there is a need to increase the number of majors in the department and to grow student enrollment. The department has called for a revision and update of the curriculum. What, for example, is meant (department’s perspective) by an interdisciplinary major. It should be noted that approximately 77% of the department’s courses are in general education. The creation of a social justice concentration, cross listing of courses as well as developing on line courses are proposed curriculum initiatives.
The department indicates that it wants to seek independent department status. In addition, one of its long term goals is the creation of a M.A. degree program in Chicana/o studies.
Chicana/o Studies has not clearly articulated learning goals and student learning outcomes. The department, however, reports in the 2007-08 Annual Report four learning outcomes. The department lists exit surveys and student evaluations as assessment strategies. These indirect measures, while having some import are inadequate; the department needs to develop direct measures to document academic achievement. Appendix III Plan for the Documentation of Academic Achievement should provide some assistance to the department in conceptualizing and implementing a plan to assess student learning. The dean concludes that the department is “significantly out of step with college and campus expectations and regional accreditation requirements”.
The department recognizes that it has work to do in the area of the assessment of student learning outcomes.
Chicana/o Studies is committed to building a stronger department. Since four of the six faculty are assistant professors the issue of requisite leadership is noted as the department moves ahead with its goals. The visiting team commended the collegial environment created by the faculty and cited intellectual accomplishments and enthusiasm they bring to their work. The visiting team also were impressed with the “student’s high levels of academic engagement” and appreciation for the faculty of the department.
The department has set goals: increase size of the tenure track faculty, develop an undergraduate Social Justice concentration, develop and M.A. in Chican/o Studies, revise and expand the curriculum, offer on line courses and cross-listed courses, create Chicana/o Studies as a stand alone major, and obtain additional grants to facilitate these long term goals.
Absent from these goals is the need for the development of a plan to assessment student learning outcomes. The visiting team has noted that the department should prioritize its goals seeking to implement on an incremental basis. Faculty stability and growth is recommended as the top priority. And the Dean tends to concur – faculty retention must be the highest priority if progress is to be made in other areas. Moving to an independent bachelor of arts degree would require much thought and deliberation which would include according to the Dean a well- supported position paper on this subject.
Though the program performance review process has revealed the aspirations of the department and its current state much work lies ahead for the department to accomplish its goals and objectives. This review should provide insights on how to build a stronger department.