Oct 19, 2018

Department consolidation remains possibility

Graphic by Dalton Runberg / The Collegian

The Academic Affairs Budget Advisory Task Force has recommended the number of colleges at Fresno State be reduced from eight to seven or possibly six.  The Oct. 26 report recommended a program consolidation and reorganization of schools and colleges in order to reduce administrative costs for Fresno State.

This reorganization has angered and concerned many Fresno State students, as the proposed plan involves moving the College of Science and mathematics under the College of Agricultural Sciences.

“I think a merger would be a huge problem and would backfire almost immediately because they are planning on moving most of the sciences under a department that would both be overworked by having four or five more departments under it, and may not appreciate that the sciences are expensive,” Fresno State geology student Bryant Platt said.

The administrative costs would be reduced by approximately $250,000 by the reorganization, but students continue to oppose the change.

Platt said a possible problem with this plan is that it would be much more difficult for professors and students to get grants for research.

“If we are trying to go to graduate school or medical school and we don’t have the proper training in our undergraduate schooling, we are not going to be admitted,” Platt added.  “If we merge, a lot of the faculty will not be able to get more grant money easily, and we have the potential to lose a lot more than the $200,000  we would save.”

The task force identified a gap of $1.7 million to $2 million for the 2011-12 school year.  Its report outlined shortcomings with the “Level B” allocation model, which was reportedly not responsive enough to the major budget cuts Fresno State is currently facing.

The task force also came to the conclusion that the budget does not allow for enrollment growth and is complex enough to limit transparency and make it ineffective in estimating how enrollment decisions will impact financing.

A survey of student opinion regarding the merger was put together by chemistry department professors and distributed by the Biology Club and other on-campus organizations.  The results are set to come out this week.

“I feel the departments should not be split.  I feel this would prevent many future dentists and pharmacists from coming to Fresno State,” pre-dental student Mark Takeda said.

This proposal is attempting to cut out the superfluous options, emphases and minors.  They are also attempting to reduce redundancies in the curriculum with a proposed consolidation of lower-division statistics classes into a single department.  Streamlining like this could potentially save Fresno State $100,000. The effect of these reforms on the quality of education is not yet known.

“The pursuit of science is integral to the understanding of the world.  I think that a basic understanding of the sciences is crucial for the advancement of society as a whole,” chemistry, biology and philosophy major Jeff Cole said in a written statement.

“We are now faced with a point of regression concerning the future of the science and mathematics department.  When humanity stops reaching out toward the unknown, we stop evolving,” Cole added.

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