Department of English
|Engineering & Technology A604|
Contact us: (323) 343-4140
Program Review 2008 (Appendix A)
Departmental Plan for Growth 2007
From 1995 to 2001, the Department of English at Cal State LA rose from the fourteenth largest undergraduate degree program in English in the CSU to the ninth largest, increasing its number of undergraduate degrees awarded by 61%. Since 2001, the Department has managed to maintain those advances despite losing nearly 25% of its full-time faculty. However, maintaining those advances has come at a significant cost. The present lack of full-time faculty has resulted in strained graduate and undergraduate degree programs, a significant reduction of full-time faculty participation in 400-level service courses and upper and lower division general education courses, and elimination of full-time faculty participation in first-year writing courses.
The lack of full-time faculty has not only had a serious negative impact on the departmentÂs ability to offer graduate and undergraduate courses for majors, but it has also affected and been exacerbated by the departmentÂs wide-ranging commitments to the university. The scale of those commitments is daunting. In terms of FTES, the Department of English is the largest department at Cal State LA, accounting for nearly 6% of all FTES at the university and about one-fourth of all College of Arts and Letters enrollment. With the demands of supervising and coordinating a dramatically expanding graduate program, a growing undergraduate major, a large Teaching Associate program, and a composition program that serves over 6,000 students a yearÂwith many members of the department actively involved in other important administrative and supervisory roles that have taken them out of the departmentÂthe departmentÂs remaining full-time faculty and staff are spread dangerously thin.
This report delineates the short and long term actions that will alleviate the strain of such severe understaffing and also enable us to grow in the area that the department has targeted: improved quality of courses, programs, and services. By focusing on the quality of its offeringsÂwhere quality refers to the content, timeliness, effectiveness, and efficiency of its courses, programs, and servicesÂthe department expects in the short term to remedy some of the shortfalls outlined above and in the long term to lay the foundation for further significant enrollment growth. To improve quality, the department will require the following:
more tenure track faculty
increased reassigned time for advisement, assessment, program coordination, and outreach
support for lower average class size in writing courses
In addition to these primary needs, to maintain and improve program quality the department requires additional support resources. Operating expense allocations have never been adequate to the departmentÂs actual needs, and the use of "soft" CERF monies has too often been restricted. Finally, while the department has made efficient use of its present office space, new hiring of both tenure-track and adjunct faculty will necessarily strain our already limited space resources.
Table of Figures
Table of Tables
As the FTES, FTEF, and SFR data demonstrate, the English Department at Cal State LA is large, growing, and seriously understaffed. Our goal is to offer one of the largest, highest quality MA and BA programs among comparably-sized institutions in the CSU. Because we are already large, our initial goal is improving quality for which we need significant increases in the number of faculty, in reassigned time, and in support of our writing courses. Improvements in quality will enable us to continue to grow in terms of enrollment.
At the end of Spring Quarter, 2006, the English Department began to develop a procedure for articulating long-term goals, specifically as they relate to hiring. The department Policy Committee, charged with proposing a procedure for developing a 5-year hiring plan, organized a one-day retreat, which was held early in Winter Quarter 2007 and facilitated by Dean Terry Allison. The primary goal of the retreat was to develop an English Department Vision Statement on which to base short-term and long-term hiring plans.
While we are still refining a specific vision statement, clear consensus emerged on several issues:
The centrality of literature and language study to our BA and MA programs.
The need to be able to offer a greater number and wider range of graduate seminars in both traditional areas of English and American literature and in new or emerging areas of interest in the discipline
The need to revise the undergraduate curriculum to provide greater curricular freedom in the general option, thereby providing more opportunities for both faculty and students to pursue areas of special interest.
In advance of the retreat, the Policy Committee developed extensively documented analyses of FTES, FTEF, and SFR data, comparing the English DepartmentÂs performance with that of other departments in the university and across the CSU. What this data demonstrates is that the department has performed exceptionally well, growing at rates that exceed those of most other departments in the university, of the university as a whole, and of most other English departments in the CSU. For example,
The number of undergraduate degrees in English awarded at CSULA increased by 59% when comparing 1995-1996 to 2005-2006, the second largest percentage increase among CSU English departments, and over six times greater than the increase at CSULA (9%) during the same period.
From 1995-1996 to 2005-2006, only three English departments have managed to increase their share of the degrees awarded on their campuses: Humboldt by 4%, Dominguez Hills by 22%, and Los Angeles by 32%.
Since 2001, FTES related to the Graduate Program in English have increased by nearly 50%, when over the same period FTES related to graduate courses increased 0.5% for the College of Arts and Letters, and 14% for the University.
The English department has moved from the seventeenth largest graduate program (in terms of FTES) on the campus to the ninth largest (fifth largest, if programs in the Charter College of Education are excluded).
Since 2001, the English Department has lost 25% of its full-time faculty. The result is the third highest SFR for an English department in the CSU (behind only San Bernardino and Cal Poly SLO).
Our vision for the next five years, therefore, is not to target for FTES growth a new or existing area of our program, but to direct our energies and resources towards improving the quality of the programs we currently offer. As mentioned, our goal is to become one of the largest, highest-quality MA and BA programs among comparably-sized institutions in the CSU. We believe that quality has played a significant role in our past growth and, therefore, that maintaining and improving the quality of our MA and BA programs will result in future FTES growth.
Challenges to Growth
It is important to recognize the significance of the departmentÂs FTES and SFR achievements and the challenges to further growth in these terms. The department provides service in four broad areas: the MA program, the BA program, the composition program, and other areas of GE.
Based almost exclusively on seminars, the English MA program does not generate high SFR numbers. Courses in the creative writing options, a currently small but growing part of our MA and BA programs, are also necessarily small. The composition program is currently run with higher than recommended and higher than system-wide average class sizes, but of necessity it has a lower SFR than our BA or other GE programs. Furthermore, because of the size of the composition program, it is difficult to achieve a significantly higher departmental SFR with a few large lectures sections in other areas. The greatest opportunity for raising SFR through large lecture sections is generally in lower-division and upper-division GE, but because nearly all the humanities theme courses are offered by Arts and Letters, most of the FTES gains and losses are within the College.
In the English BA program, all upper-division literature courses have a class limit of 30 (although all currently begin with enrollment of 33 to allow for attrition). This benchmark was established in 1989 following negotiations and a signed agreement with Vice President Bill Taylor, Undergraduate Studies Dean Alfredo Gonzalez, and English Department Chair John Cleman. The agreement reached allowed the class limits for these courses to be lowered from 40 to 30 on the condition that writing be taught (not just required) in them. The Orange Book, staffing formula, and class limits, as we have often been told, are no longer operative, but the reason for maintaining these class limits has not changed. One of the primary responsibilities of the department is to teach writing, not only in the composition program but also in the major courses, where to a significant degree we are teaching prospective teachers, many of whom will be teaching prospective Cal State LA applicants. The department is considering some non-intensive writing courses in the major for which the class limits could be raised, but a significant increase in the departmentÂs SFR cannot be achieved in the BA or MA programs without a serious sacrifice of quality.
Given these challenges, the departmentÂs FTES and SFR strengths are all the more remarkable, but the more important point is that they indicate the limits of further, dramatic growth in these terms, especially in SFR. Recognition of these limits was a primary factor in the departmentÂs targeting quality rather than quantity as our source of growth in the next five years.
For the English Department to increase the quality of its programs, its primary resource needs are the following:
more tenure track faculty
increased reassigned time for advisement, assessment, program coordination, and outreach
support for lower average class size in writing courses
The primary need to improve the quality of the MA and BA programs is for more tenure track faculty in order to increase class offerings. Graduate seminars are now filling almost immediately with considerable unmet demand. However, because the department does not generally use adjunct faculty to staff classes in these programs, it is somewhat difficult to determine specific area needs. In the MA program especially, if there is no one on duty in an area of British, American, or World literature, a seminar in that area will not be offered, and to a significant degree, coverage of areas of literary study in the MA program is impacted by the need to cover specific required courses in the BA program. From time to time the department has utilized faculty from other departments, such as Patrick Sharp from Liberal Studies, to offer required courses, and Roberto Cantu, who has a one-third appointment in English, serves some of our needs for American ethnic and world literature, but these opportunities are limited and do not address the larger need for faculty fully engaged in programmatic development.
Following the general consensus of our retreat to center our programs in the study of literature and language, the department has requested authorization to search in 2007/08 for positions in 19th or 20th century Anglophone literature, 18th century British literature, Linguistics, and Drama. The first would enable the department to offer graduate courses and develop undergraduate curriculum in a burgeoning field of literary study. The second position, for which the department conducted an unsuccessful search this year, would fill a gap in the department left by the retirement of Elaine Osio in 2004. The third position would enable the department to reverse the increasing use of part-time faculty to teach upper division linguistics classes, where now 44% are staffed by part-time faculty, a trend that will only increase with the departure this year of Rosemary Hake. The fourth position would replace Chris Herr, who left in 2005. Although not formally a joint appointment, this position in Drama would provide opportunities for the individual to teach and serve on thesis committees in both English and Theatre Arts and Dance. The department has begun discussions with the Chair of TA/D, Lena Chao, and with Susan Mason, who teaches drama history, to explore how this faculty sharing could be worked out.
In addition to teaching classes, the department needs more faculty to improve the quality of our programs by developing new curriculum and serving in a variety of necessary administrative, advisement, and assessment roles at the department, college, and university levels. There need to be enough faculty to share duties equitably and, thereby, create time for writing and developing new courses. Then, beyond the longstanding department responsibilities to provide leadership in improving student writing skills campus-wide, the recently approved single-subject waiver program will increase demands on the Credential Adviser, the English Education Coordinator, and the Graduate Adviser.
A Principal Credential Adviser is required by the CTC for waiver approval, and under the new program the Credential Adviser will be required to monitor student progress more frequently and in a more complex program than is now the case. Currently, at peak times students have to schedule appointments many weeks in advance.
The assessment requirements of the new waiver program will fall heavily on the English Education Coordinator, as well as on other department faculty who will need to participate in the process. Portfolio assessment is a labor-intensive process, and implementing such a process was one of the conditions of waiver approval, as was providing the English Education Coordinator with 8 units of reassigned time to carry out these duties.
For the Graduate Adviser, who is currently supported by redistributed s-factor units at the equivalent of a 2-unit release per quarter, the increase in the number of MA students has already strained available appointment time, and the proposed modified admissions requirements in which the adviser initially screens all applications will place even heavier demands on the adviserÂs time.
The third major area of need is for additional faculty to enable the department to more effectively meet its responsibilities to improve student writing skills. Class size reduction in writing courses will improve the quality of instruction offered in these classes and the quality of student writing on the campus generally. This applies not only to courses vital to the major, such as ENGL 340 Writing the Critical Essay, ENGL 407 Writing Fiction, and ENGL 408 Writing Poetry, but also to the first-year and pre-collegiate writing program (ENGL 095, 096, 101, and 102). With regard to the latter, the department has for years been burdened by the universityÂs willingness to admit under-prepared students who then become the responsibility of the department and by extension the college. The serious investment required to prepare these students for academic success has fallen disproportionately on the department. Small class sizes are essential, and yet because of the departmentÂs own budget difficulties, it has been unable to stem the steady upward creep of class sizes in these courses, which are so essential to retention.
In a typical ENGL 095 class, for example, an instructor will require students to write five essays, revise three, and repeatedly revise two. If this class were limited to 15 students, the instructor would read, at a minimum, 150 drafts of essays. To read, mark, diagnose, and comment on each essay requires a skilled instructor about 15 minutes. To read, mark, diagnose, and comment on 150 drafts in a quarter requires about 40 hours. However, the class size for ENGL 095 has crept up to nearly twenty. That same instructor now reads, marks, diagnoses, and comments on 200 drafts of essays, or realistically cuts corners since it is physically impossible to read, mark, and comment on this many essays. Consider the ENGL 101 instructor, who usually requires four 4-page essays and has a class of 27. With drafts, revisions, and portfolio preparation, that instructor will probably read, mark, and comment on over 150 drafts of essays, or about 600 pages of student writing for a single class, a process that requires over 50 hours per section. The literature on the importance of small classes for writing instruction is large and unanimous, and professional organizations such as the Association of Departments of English and the National Council of Teachers of English have called for capping developmental (basic or remedial) writing classes at 15 and first-year writing classes at 20.
Effective writing instruction requires hands-on workshop environments, where students have frequent opportunities to write, receive feedback, revise, and meet one-on-one or in small groups with the instructor. These instructional needs are the basis of small class sizes for writing classes. Smaller classes will enable instructors to return to hands-on writing workshops. The results will be evident: better writing instruction, greater probability of student success, improved retention. Better writing instruction in the major has an even greater long term effect. Because many of our students are trained by our former students, better-prepared graduates of our program would become better teachers of writing and thus better prepare future CSULA students.
Finally, in addition to these primary needs to maintain and improve program quality, the department is already severely strained in terms of staff support, OE, and office space, and the demands are likely to be even greater in the next decade. The burden on staff time of a composition program as large as ours, especially under the quarter system, is considerable. The department is blessed with three superb individuals in full-time positions, but during portions of the quarter the responsibilities created by the composition classes, such as inputting permits, processing various faculty transaction forms (hiring, separating, obtaining GET accounts, key requests, etc.), answering misdirected questions about the WPE, helping out with orientation, and so on, compounded with the staff responsibilities for the large BA and MA programs, can be overwhelming. In the past we have had at least one Graduate Assistant to help out in the office throughout the year, but in the past two or three years we have relied entirely on work-study students, who because of their rapid turnover require frequent training. OE allocations have never been adequate to our actual needs, and the use of "soft" CERF monies has too often been restricted in ways (e.g., such as proscribing travel) to ill serve the department and reduce faculty incentives for adding extra students. Although the department does utilize office space efficiently, new hire of both tenure-track and adjunct faculty will necessarily strain our already limited space resources.
Thus, as our full report shows, while the English Department has achieved impressive and unparalleled levels of growth, expanding the number of faculty, administrative reassigned time, and ancillary staff and space support will enable us to continue to grow in terms of quality and program size.
The departmentÂs goal of becoming one of the largest, highest-quality MA and BA programs among comparably-sized institutions in the CSU will be achieved by focusing on improving the quality of the present program to better serve our present constituencies (retention) and to become an attractive choice for students both in and out of the university (recruitment). The department has already initiated a number of projects towards realizing this goal, though that realization might not be evident given the sheer scale of the departmentÂs general education and service offerings. While the departmentÂs FTES totals have fluctuated over the past five years, all decreases have been due to decreases in university enrollment. Enrollment in the graduate and undergraduate degree programs has increased, in some cases significantly. Significant growth in the Graduate Program in English and moderate growth in the undergraduate degree programs in English have placed significant burdens on the department.
If the department is provided with the resources to offer additional classes in the graduate and undergraduate degree programs, to supervise properly field work by students and course development by faculty, to implement effective assessments of all its programs, and to reduce class sizes in writing-intensive courses, the department expects the improved quality of its offerings will yield growth in FTES related to its degree programs.
Graduate Program in English
Over the last six years, FTES growth in the Graduate Program in English has been significant and, given staffing shortfalls, perhaps even threatening. The largest graduate program in the college, the department now accounts for 28% of all graduate FTES in the college. As shown in Figure 1, the enrollment in the departmentÂs graduate program has soared, increasing nearly 50% over 2001-2002.
Figure 1: Graduate Program FTES
To put this 50% increase in perspective, over the same period FTES related to graduate courses increased 0.5% for the College of Arts and Letters, and 14% for the University. The English department has moved from the seventeenth largest graduate program (in terms of FTES) on the campus to the ninth largest (fifth largest, if programs in the Charter College of Education are excluded).
Our success in recruiting graduate students enables us to focus renewed attention on improving the quality of our program. Such efforts have been underway for several years, and include a revamping of the graduate program (now pending approval), renewed commitment to course offerings that will lessen the time to degree, and new admission standards that will enable us to engage in effective enrollment management. The upcoming academic year will be a transition year for the new program, but by 2008-2009, incoming graduate students will need to meet the more detailed admission criteria, and so it is possible that the size of that yearÂs cohort might be smaller. Ultimately, however, the department anticipates that our focus on becoming a large and selective program will produce a surfeit of applicants which will in turn enable us to exercise control over both the size and quality of our graduate program.
Growth in the graduate program depends upon
More full-time faculty
available to offer graduate courses
available to serve as principle graduate adviser (to advise an increasing number of students, coordinate and supervise examinations, monitor the progress of all students but especially thesis candidates, and review all applications for admissions)
available to process graduate applications
available to assist permanent office staff
Table 1 projects graduate FTES assuming the availability of the above resources and based on the size of each yearÂs cohort
Table 1: Projected Graduate FTES
While these projections result only in a modest compounded annual growth rate of 2.3%, it is likely that the departmentÂs program will exceed these growth projections. From 1999 to 2006, the Fall headcount increased at a compounded annual rate of 3% and FTES increased at a compounded annual rate of 8%.
This difference between headcount growth and FTES growth is probably due to the departmentÂs recent decision to offer additional graduate courses (at the expense of undergraduate offerings) to remedy bottlenecks in the graduate program and lessen the time to degree. Such shifting of resources is, of course, not a long-term solution for the graduate program and represents a short-term problem for the undergraduate program.
Undergraduate Degree Program
The departmentÂs undergraduate degree program has grown significantly over the past decade. Figure 2 shows the number of bachelorÂs degrees awarded in English at CSULA between 1995-1996 to 2005-2006.
Figure 2: Number of BAs Awarded in English at CSULA
During this period, the number of degrees awarded increased by 59% when comparing 1995-1996 to 2005-2006, and 42% when comparing the first tertile (1995-1998) to the last tertile (2003-2006). This increase in number of BAs awarded is the second largest percentage increase in the CSU, trailing only CSU San Marcos. This increase in the number of bachelorÂs degrees awarded cannot be attributed to a rising tide of enrollment, either system-wide or campus-wide. In the CSU system, the number of bachelorÂs degrees awarded in English has increased 15% from 1995 to 2006. At CSULA, the number of bachelorÂs degrees awarded in all disciplines has increased 9% from 1995 to 2006. The English DepartmentÂs increase of 59% means that in terms of degrees awarded the department is growing four times faster than the CSU and seven times faster than CSULA.
The result is that between 1995-1996 and 2005-2006, the English Department at CSULA moved from the fourteenth largest undergraduate program in English in the CSU (as measured by degrees awarded) to the ninth largest program. What makes this growth more striking is that it has occurred independent of the campusÂ enrollment fortunes. In 1995-1996, CSULA ranked twelfth in the CSU in terms of the number of all bachelorÂs degrees awarded. In 2005-2006, CSULA remained twelfth in this ranking.
The effect of the departmentÂs marked increase in degrees awarded while the campusÂs growth has merely kept pace with system-wide growth is an increased share of the number of bachelorÂs degrees awarded on the campus. In 1995-1996, 2.2% of all CSULA bachelorÂs degrees were in English, a percentage which translates to 1 out of every 45 undergraduate degrees. In 2005-2006, 3.2% of all CSULA bachelorÂs degrees were in English, or 1 out of every 31 undergraduate degrees. It is difficult to overestimate the extraordinariness of this shift. During this same period, the percentage of all bachelorÂs degrees that are English degrees decreased system-wide by 13%. In the entire CSU, only three English departments have managed to increase their share of the degrees awarded on their campuses: Humboldt by 4%, Dominguez Hills by 22%, and Los Angeles by 32%.
These gains have put significant strains on the department, and more recently enrollment trends for the department have become more aligned with enrollment trends for the university. While the goal of the department is to become increasingly independent of university enrollment trends through improvements in the quality of the program and better recruitment, given present uncertainties the department will be happy to maintain the increases of the past decade and keep pace with the university.
Our projections for FTES growth are based on historical patterns. From 2001-2002 to 2006-2007 FTES for courses in the major have increased 4.2% over the period, compared to 2.9% for the entire university. While modest, this growth is nearly 50% greater than the overall growth of the university. For the purposes of projecting FTES, Table 2 assumes a much more modest ratio, with English department enrollment growth averaging calculated at 12.5% more than the university enrollment growth. Using this ratio we can project enrollment in department major courses based on different growth projections for the university.
Table 2: Undergraduate Major FTES Tied to University Growth
Base (Assume Historic 0.8%)
2.25% Growth Rate (Based on University Growth of 2%)
4.5% Growth Rate (Based on University Growth of 4%)
6.75% Growth Rate (Based on University Growth of 6%)
Between 1995-1996 and 2001-2002 the number of undergraduate degrees in English awarded at CSULA increased by 61% and the number of graduate degrees increased by over 40%. These significant increases have been maintained but not extended. In 2005-2006, the number of degrees awarded at both the undergraduate and the graduate level was about the same as in 2001-2002. It is surely not coincidental that this earlier period of growth coincided with a nearly 24% increase in the number of full-time faculty. Those gains in the number of full-time faculty were short-lived, and at present the department is smaller than it has been since it was known as the Language Arts program at the Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences. Yet while the number of full-time faculty has continued to fall, the number of degrees awarded has remained at or near its 2002 peaks, FTES for graduate programs has increased nearly 50% and FTES for the undergraduate major has increased 13%.
Maintaining these increases while also diversifying and improving existing programs requires instructional and administrative resources. The department has already grown and further growth is only limited by its inability to offer additional upper division and graduate level courses. This difficulty is illustrated in Figure 3, which shows the declining percentage of 400-level courses taught by full-time faculty. The 400-level courses are almost entirely courses for undergraduate majors in English.
Figure 3: Percentage of 400-level Courses Staffed by Full-time Faculty
What Figure 3 does not include are the 400-level classes that are simply not offered because the department lacks a specialist in a particular area or because faculty with expertise are assigned additional graduate classes or are providing other services to the department or university.
Additional full-time tenure-track faculty are needed to offer courses in our growing graduate program and undergraduate degree programs. They are also needed to reverse the following dangerous trends:
A possibly strained graduate program with the department unable to offer enough sections of graduate courses to ensure completion of an M.A. degree within two years
Cuts in lower and upper division courses for the major and the staffing of some lower and upper division courses for the major with adjunct faculty
Erosion of full-time faculty participation in upper division service courses
Erosion of full-time faculty participation in lower division general education courses
Elimination of full-time faculty participation in first-year writing courses
Furthermore, because of its expertise and the centrality of the discipline in the university, the Department of English has considerable administrative responsibilities and is frequently called upon to provide faculty to other departments and programs, further decreasing available instructional resources. The scale is considerable:
The department FTES total exceeds that of the School of Engineering and is more than half that of the Charter College of Education.
In 2006-2007, the department offered over 360 four-unit classes.
In 2006-2007, the composition program handled the placement, enrollment, education, and assessment of nearly 6,000 students.
In 2006-2007, the department offered 253 writing classes, three of which were staffed by full-time faculty.
More than 50 lecturers are employed as part-time faculty to meet unmet instructional needs, mostly in composition but increasingly in lower and upper division general education and even in the undergraduate major. In addition, the department is required to perform annual reviews of all part-time faculty.
Teaching Associates are trained and supervised as part of a highly effective teacher training program.
The departmentÂs English Education coordinator provides expertise and guidance to the LAUSD Accelerated School.
Monitoring of the early field experience of single-subject credential option students will be required by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing beginning Fall 2007.
The CSU Graduate Student Conference is organized and hosted by the CSULA Department of English.
- literary magazine is published by the CSULA Department of English.
These administrative demands are further exacerbated by external demands on department faculty to provide service and expertise to other areas on campus. While these assignments are usually temporary, their sheer number produces a considerable impact on the department. For example, at present department faculty are serving as the following:
Director of the campus Writing Proficiency Examination
Director of the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics
Director of Service Learning at CSULA
Chair of Liberal Studies
Given the departmentÂs focus on improving quality so as to enable further significant enrollment growth, we require increased administrative support. These increases, expressed in terms of reassigned units, are shown in Table 3.
Table 3: Proposed Increases in Reassigned Units
Composition program coordination and assessment
Undergraduate advising, recruitment and assessment
Principal Credential Adviser/English Education
Graduate advising, recruitment and assessment
The department has begun to remedy recent staffing shortfalls and has proposed an ambitious hiring plan for the future. The department is in the process of adding one tenure-track faculty member and has requested three additional positions for 2007-2008. Projected over the next five years, the department foresees the following increases in full-time tenure-track faculty.
Table 5 shows the relationship of projected full-time tenure-track hiring to overall headcount for the department.
Table 5: Projected Full-Time Headcount
Part-time FTEF depends on three factors: university enrollment trends (specifically first-time freshman); availability of full-time faculty; class sizes in composition courses (almost entirely staffed by part-time faculty). University enrollment trends are outside the scope of this proposal. The effects of full-time faculty availability and changes in class sizes in composition courses, however, can be determined. Additional full-time faculty should offset the need for part-time faculty in courses in the major and some lower and upper division general education, though the correspondence is not one-to-one because of the departmentÂs significant administrative and supervisory responsibilities and commitments to other areas of the university.
The effect of proposed class size reductions in pre-baccalaureate and first-year writing courses can be shown using enrollment figures from 2006-2007. The department offered 253 sections of ENGL 095, ENGL 096, ENGL 101, and ENGL 102. If all sections are taught by part-time faculty (only 3 sections were taught by full-time faculty), the number of "full-time" part-time faculty required to staff these classes is 28.1. The following scenarios assume the same enrollment as in 2006-2007 and an enrollment capacity of 97%.
If these classes are returned to their prior class size caps of 18 for ENGL 095 and ENGL 096 and 25 for ENGL 101 and ENGL 102, the number of "full-time" part-time faculty required to staff these classes would be 29.9, an increase of 1.8.
If the class size caps for these classes are set at the level recommended by the external reviewers in the departmentÂs last program review (16 for ENGL 095 and ENGL 096 and 24 for ENGL 101 and ENGL 102), the number of "full-time" part-time faculty required to staff these classes would be 31.8, an increase of 3.7. To reduce the average class size for ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 by one additional student would require 1.6 "full-time" part-time faculty.
If the class size caps for these classes are set at the levels recommended by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) (15 for ENGL 096 and ENGL 096 and 20 for ENGL 101 and ENGL 102), the number of "full-time" part-time faculty required to staff these classes would be 36.9, an increase of 8.8.
While virtually all educators acknowledge the importance of small classes, in some disciplines small classes are not a luxury but a necessity. The departmentÂs responsibility to the university to provide effective instruction in reading, critical thinking, and writing, and the emphasis in our undergraduate and graduate degree programs on writing at every level, requires small classes for effective instruction. For this reason, when looking at class size averages or related measures such as SFR, it is important to compare like thingsÂapples to apples and English departments to English departments.
Some of the proposals outlined in this document will lower SFR, but it is important to note that the department already has one of the highest SFRs amongst English Departments in the CSU. From 2002-2005 (last year of available system-wide data), the CSULA English Department had the third highest SFR in the system, surpassed only by the CSU Bakersfield and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Figure 4 shows the SFR for all English Departments in the system.
Figure 4: English Department SFR by Campus
During 2002-2005, the CSULA English Department SFR has exceeded the system-wide average SFR for English departments by over 12%. Furthermore, in 2003 (the last year of reliable APDB data in this category), the SFR related to graduate classes in English at CSULA was the highest in the CSU, nearly double the system-wide average, and nearly 3 standard deviations from the rest of the CSU.
The high SFR translates into average class sizes that are among the highest in the CSU. When compared with other English departments, CSULA has one of the highest average class size for graduate programs and the seventh highest for undergraduate programs.
Given the departmentÂs focus on improving the quality of its program offerings, from ENGL 095 to ENGL 590, the overall SFR associated with the undergraduate and graduate programs will likely decrease. The following initiatives related to program quality will lower SFR:
Additional reassigned time devoted to administration of the department, the composition program, the graduate program, and the single-subject credential option
Smaller class sizes in writing intensive major classes
Smaller class sizes in developmental writing classes (ENGL 095 and 096)
Smaller class sizes in first-year writing classes (ENGL 101 and 102)
The following initiatives will raise SFR:
Larger class sizes in some general education and service courses (non-writing intensive)
Larger class sizes in some major classes (non-writing intensive)
If all of the above proposals are adopted, the net effect will be to slightly lower the departmentÂs SFR. Given that the departmentÂs SFR is already more than one standard deviation higher than the system-wide average, there is considerable room for moderate decreases.
The English Department is currently assigned a total of 44 workstations, exclusive of the department offices, the ChairÂs office, a Teaching AssociatesÂ office, a seminar room, and a storage room. Given the size of the department and the consequent need for administrative space (staff workstations, duplicating equipment, materials and document storage, etc.), none of the areas excluded is reasonably convertible to faculty office space. University policy defines all of our faculty offices as two-workstation spaces, and T/TT faculty are given the option of sharing their office with another T/TT faculty member or with one or more adjunct faculty members, depending on the adjunct faculty teaching loads. However, we try not to have adjunct faculty share space with the Principal Undergraduate Adviser to avoid the inevitable large overlap of office hour time. By department policy, T/TT faculty workstations are considered available to be assigned to adjunct faculty during quarters when the faculty member is not on duty. When assigning adjunct faculty to workstations, the department recognizes the desire of 3-year contract faculty Â and as many 1-year contract faculty as possible Â to remain in the same location, and there is also an attempt to avoid having faculty share office space if their schedules would require them to hold office hours at the same time.
There are currently 17 tenured/tenure-track faculty and, at present, two FERP faculty requiring workstations. This leaves 24 workstations to be assigned to adjunct faculty, 26 when the FERP faculty are not on duty. As a general principle, we consider each of the available workstations to represent a maximum of four adjunct faculty classes comparable to the 15 units represented by a full-time faculty memberÂs occupancy of a workstation. By this formula the department has office space to serve 96-104 classes taught by adjunct faculty. The Fall Quarter schedule is significantly larger than any of the other quarters, and in Fall 2006, there were 110 class taught by adjunct faculty (another 11 were taught by TAs, all of whom used the TA office). This meant that in this quarter, at least, several of the workstations were significantly overloaded, which creates a problem of overlapping office hours that is exacerbated by the composition instructorsÂ holding conferences with all of their students in the ninth and sometimes the fifth weeks of the quarter. Although enrollment and, therefore, the need for office space declines somewhat in subsequent quarters, the change is from significant overcrowding to a very tight fit.
If, as we propose, the department is able to hire three to five new faculty members in the next five years, the number of workstations available for adjunct faculty will be reduced further. And, if the funding is provided to maintain the appropriate enrollments in the composition program, it will increase the number of adjunct faculty hired and the demand for workstations. If we assume that the 27 limits in 101 and 102 and the 18 limits in 095 and 096 are reduced to 24 and 16 respectively, this would mean approximately six extra sections for each of these four classes or the equivalent of six additional workstations. In sum, for the department to grow in quality, we will need at least three, and more likely four, additional two-workstation offices to accommodate faculty needs. There are no additional offices available in our current location on the 6th floor of E&T, but we are using two offices in FA, and we have in the past used offices in the library for adjunct faculty.
The English Department does not have significant equipment needs compared with many other departments. The equipment most valuable to us beyond our duplicating machines are the computers and printers in faculty offices, two DVD/Videocassette players and video equipment for faculty use, a laptop computer and digital projector for faculty use, and a scanner. The faculty computers have been provided by the university, and the rest by Equipment or CERF funds. To maintain the quality of our programs, the department needs the following equipment:
An upgraded computer to use with the department scanner (currently underutilized).
An upgraded laptop computer to enable use of more advanced software with our digital projector.
A high-quality laser printer for faculty use.
The value of the scanner is considerable. Our faculty are increasingly using WebCT and On-line Reserves in the library, and while the library, the FTISC lab, and other offices on campus can provide scanning services, we already have the scanner and need the upgraded computer to make it useable and convenient for faculty. The result will be a considerable reduction in duplicating and paper costs.
In addition to these items, the following larger equipment would enhance the departmentÂs programs either as computer assists to instruction or by boosting faculty morale and augmenting the departmentÂs ability to recruit top-flight faculty and students:
A ceiling mounted projector and screen and wireless internet access for the departmentÂs seminar room, E&T A631.
Expansion of access to digital archives through the library.
Augmentation of the libraryÂs holdings of primary and secondary print materials in literature and language (i.e., more books in the library).
Newer, more attractive, and more serviceable office furniture in all offices.
The first two items would enhance the instruction in graduate seminars by enabling faculty and students to draw on digitized archival material during the class period. The third item is important for program growth. With few exceptions the desks, filing cabinets, and book cases in faculty offices date from the 1960s (if not earlier) or are hand-me-downs donated by a private company after the remodel of E&T. Considerable effort and expense has been devoted to improving the exterior physical environment of the campus, thereby raising the morale of the campus community and making Cal State LA more attractive to potential students and faculty; the same should be done to interior spaces.
Table 6 presents expenditures from OE allocations and CERF money for the past five years. These expenditures included office supplies, equipment, duplicating, departmental memberships, and faculty travel when permitted. Travel expenditures beyond the University entitlement are included in the CERF data and also listed separately in the last row.
Table 6: Operating Expenses Budget 2002-2007
*Expenditures and allocations do not include CERF money for Spring Quarter.
Table 6 shows that the OE allocation for the English Department has declined since 02/03 and then remained constant (except for the anomaly of 04/05). CERF money has been used to meet the departmentÂs actual operating expenses, which have remained fairly constant. The anomaly of 04/05 illustrates this practice fairly clearly in that without an OE allocation the department relied entirely on CERF money for these purposes at the same expenditure level as in the previous two years. Clearly the departmentÂs OE allocation has never been adequate to its needs, and the department relies heavily on CERF money to continue operating. However, unlike OE allocations, CERF money is generated by the faculty and the department in permitting students to enroll through the Open University, but restricted in its expenditure by administrative control of its use.
The availability of CERF money for travel is the primary case in point. The $1,000 travel entitlement for all faculty does not cover the travel expenses of a faculty member who delivers a professional paper at an Eastern or Midwestern conference site, much less the costs of more than one trip. Many of our faculty are professionally active and in the past have benefited from the use of CERF money to supplement what the university provides. Without the availability of such money, faculty members either bear the expense or, more often, cease to travel for professional purposes after they have achieved tenure and promotion to full professor. The strength of our academic programs, especially the graduate program, depends on the strength of our faculty as teacher-scholars, and if the faculty are to remain professionally active and current, they must be encouraged to participate in professional conferences and in other scholarly activities on a regular basis. To achieve this end the English Department needs to have its OE allocation raised to $15, 000 and to have full control of the CERF money its faculty generates.
The Department is working toward a collective prioritization of sources of non-state and private funding that could support programmatic development. We are also consulting with CAL Development Director Christopher Best and with English Department colleague Barry Munitz, who has offered us his expertise in fundraising and development, to identify and approach sources of funding once we determine which elements of our program would benefit from and be most successful in securing outside monies.
The English Department will implement the following assessment mechanisms in order to determine progress in achieving the desired growth in quality and size of programs.
In order to determine progress in becoming one of the largest, highest-quality MA programs in the region, with excellent placement records in community college teaching positions and Ph.D. programs, as well as excellent preparation of secondary school teachers, the English Department will monitor
Number of MA students enrolled
Number of MA degrees awarded
Average time to degree
MA comprehensive exam pass rate
Student GPA in coursework
We will also work with the Alumni office to track graduates in terms of job placement and satisfaction with the program.
In order to determine progress in becoming one of the largest, highest-quality BA programs in the region, with special emphasis on excellent teacher training, the English Department will monitor
Number of BA students enrolled
Number of BA degrees awarded
Average time to degree
Student GPA in coursework
In order to assess student learning outcomes in the single subject credential option, the English Department will review teaching portfolios that the students develop as they proceed through the program. For these portfolios, students will be asked to provide artifacts, accompanied by a reflective commentary, that demonstrate their competencies in each of the required English Content Domains. The Credential Option Assessment Committee (COAC) will assess the portfolios of credential option students who have applied for graduation or have requested certification of subject-matter competency in English to determine if they have met the learning outcomes for the preparation of teachers. These assessments will be conducted quarterly, and the prospective teachers reviewed will normally be enrolled in the third quarter prior to the quarter in which they plan to graduate. The COAC will report on the results of their assessment in two ways:
1. For individual prospective teachers, the results will be reported to the Principal Credential Adviser (PCA), who will, when necessary, identify measures to meet program requirements (e.g., revising the portfolio and/or taking additional coursework to meet standards or improve GPA).
2. For the program generally, the COAC, chaired by the English Education Coordinator (EEC) and in consultation with the PCA, will report annually to the Department Chair on perceived strengths and weaknesses in the program that were revealed through these assessment activities.
The Chair will then forward the COAC report and any recommendations for change to the department and proceed as follows:
If the recommendations for change can be addressed by adjustments in the syllabi of individual instructors, the Chair will notify the instructors concerned;
If the recommendations require course or program modifications, the Chair will forward the recommendations to the Department Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC).
The Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC) will develop the curricular modifications necessary and forward them to the Department and subsequently to the College of Arts and Letters Instructional Affairs Committee for approval.
In addition, the COAC reports, along with other information such as surveys of program graduates and of credential program colleagues in the Charter College of Education, will become part of the DepartmentÂs Self Study Report for the University Program Review conducted every five years. Any recommendations for further program changes made by external reviewers will be forwarded by the University Program Review Committee to the Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, who will, in turn, request any necessary changes by the Department.
The Department is investigating how to expand this portfolio-based assessment mechanism to assess student learning outcomes in the other two options in the BA program (the general and creative writing options).
The Department of English at Cal State LA has enjoyed considerable success during the last decade, but significant obstacles to future growth exist. Real solutions must address a history of insufficient staffing and inadequate resources. The department has historically taken its central role in the university quite seriously, but the result has been punishment for its good intentions. Responsibility for the large number of under-prepared students who require small classes and serious attention from experienced instructors has fallen entirely to the department with no additional funding from the university. The burden of attempting to keep classes small for first-year writing classes has fallen on the departmentÂs service and major offerings where class sizes have increased. The universityÂs recognition of the knowledge, expertise, and competence of its full-time faculty has drained the department of faculty needed to teach graduate courses and courses in the major.
Real solutions include an aggressive hiring plan that will at a minimum restore the departmentÂs ability to offer the courses needed by undergraduate and graduate degree candidates to finish their degrees on time, and at something more than minimum enable future growth for the departmentÂs graduate and undergraduate degree programs. Additional full-time faculty, while arguably the most important component of the departmentÂs plans for growth, remain only part of the solution. Besides people the department needs time to do the work. Larger than some colleges and probably more administratively complex than any other department on campus, the department requires a full-time chair and at least a part-time associate chair. AdvisementÂso crucial to recruitment, retention, and efficiency (in terms of reducing time-to-degree)Âhas been key to the success of our undergraduate program. Our rapidly growing graduate program requires a similar level of commitment to advising and recruitment. In addition, changes in teacher credentialing and certification will demand the time and energy of department faculty, as will efforts to improve the quality of writing instruction in developmental and first-year writing classes.
The college and the university should also consider committing the resources necessary to provide our students with the writing instruction they need and deserve. It is extraordinary that the campus with the second lowest percentage in the entire CSU of incoming freshmen deemed proficient in English also has some of the highest class sizes for developmental and first-year writing classes in the CSU. This failure of will has placed the burden of writing instruction almost entirely on the English Department, and while the efforts of a veritable army of part-time instructors has been nothing short of heroic, the department has long recognized that the composition program could do much more. A significant investment in writing instruction on this campus means smaller, possibly even dramatically smaller classes, which will enable instructors to conduct the kind of constructivist, hands-on writing workshops that have proven successful elsewhere. That investment, however, will pay off for the entire university, not merely in producing better students for upper division classes, but in having a positive effect on retention and ultimately recruitment. In the long-term, the real payoff might take a more intangible form as successful humanities programs and effective writing instruction transform the opinion of Cal State LA held by many outside the university from the workhorse university that works hard to the world class university that works.