CSU system to add new general education requirement


Katrina Singleton

Vernon B. Harper, Vice President of Academic Affairs discussing the GI 2025 forecast and current standings on Wednesday Sept, 16 2020.

Katrina Singleton, News Editor

CSU Bakersfield’s President Lynnette Zelezny, along with a panel of CSUB administration, held an open forum on Wednesday, Sep 16. 

CSUB along with the rest of the entire CSU system will be implementing a new area to lower division general education with the label “Area F.” 

Area F will include the new ethnic studies requirement that has been added to the CSU curriculum. This new requirement, known as AB-1460, was signed into law by Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom.  

CSUB is currently working on building a new task force to help create a proposal of guidelines to present to the university’s academic senate that will tie into the learning outcomes for Area F. 

According to Vernon Harper, Vice President of Academic Affairs, announced that CSUB are also working on building an Ethnic Studies department for the CSUB campus and hopes it will be officially established by the December deadlines. 

We already have two ethnic studies courses on the books, and I have been working with the faculty in order to ensure that we have enough sources and enough bandwidth in order for all students to begin taking that course beginning in the next academic year,” Harper said. 

The Ethnic Studies current task force has written a proposal for the development of this new academic department according to Harper and needs to be looked over by the academic senate for approval. 

“It is the academic senate that must weigh in on the creation of any academic department; the faculty must agree, so that process will be undertaken over this academic year,” Harper said. 

In regard to the graduation initiative, also known as GI2025, there has been an increase in graduation rates in both 4-year graduations; 6-year first time freshman and 2-year; 4-year transfer graduates. 

“You can see that our 4-year transfer graduation rate we expect to hit our 2025 goal early; about four years early, about 70-75% this year which is our target,” Harper said. 

With the graphs provided by Harper, it is predicted that the GI2025 set in place for transfer student at CSUB will be met four years earlier than expected. It is also recorded that the graduation rates for first time freshman, both 4-year and 6-year, are at all time high with a 4% increase in the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Harper also discussed the most important initiatives for the 2020-2021 academic year. CSUB will be working on a virtual engagement initiative which will focus on a cross-divisional effort to create an engaging virtual environment for incoming students. CSUB will also be receiving a grant from the Office of the Chancellor that will be put towards a free consultation on advising practices later this semester. 

CSUB will also be working on a data-driven decision-making initiative. This initiative will be more focused on rebuilding CSUB’s data system to prepare the correct data at the right time in order to make the right decisions for the campus and its students. 

CSUB is offering a variety of ways for students that need to be on campus, to self-screen themselves for COVID-19. 

Erika Delamar, the Associate Director of Student Health Services, went over the COVID-19 screen tool that is accessible in three different formats. Students can use the CSUB mobile app by clicking the “COVID-19 Self Screening” icon and fill out the information or by visiting CSUB’s website and filling out the screening assessment under the COVID-19 tab. If those options do not work for students, they can also call CSUB’s health services to be screened over the phone. 

Claudia Catota, CSUB’s Chief Diversity Officer, shed some insight into a new committee that will be coming to CSUB’s campus. At the moment the group’s name is “Campus Climate Committee,” but Catota stated that this name is subjected to be changed in the near future. The intent for this groups is to steer the university’s work on building a campus community that embraces and encourages diversity, equity, and inclusion as it relates to campus climate.  

The groups work at the moment is two-fold: sending out a survey to faculty, staff, students about the campus’s climate and developing a diversity strategic to set concrete goals and measure progress which in turn creates accountability for the campus community.