2008 Program Review Self-Study

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Department of English

Engineering
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Contact us: (323) 343-4140
 

California State University, Los Angeles

Department of English

California State University, Los Angeles

 

Bachelor of Arts in English

General Option (1949; modified 2002)

Single Subject Credential Option (1949; modified 2002)

Creative Writing Option (2003)

Minor in English (1973; modified 1994)

Minor in Creative Writing (1975, modified 1994)

Master of Arts in English

Literature Option (1992; modified 2007)

Creative Writing Option (1992; modified 2007)

Composition, Rhetoric, and Language Option (1995; modified 2007)

 

Last Program Review Self Study Report was generated in September 2002

Prepared by: James M. Garrett

___________________________________________

Hema Chari, Chair

Submitted on June 30, 2008

___________________________________________

Terry Allison, Dean

College of Arts and Letters

Table of Contents

1.0 Mission, Goals and Objectives

1.1 Overview

1.2 Mission Statement

1.3 Goals and Objectives

1.4 Learning Outcomes

1.5 Long-Range Plans

1.6 Changes in Goals and Objectives

1.7 Recommendations from Last Program Review

2.0 Program Curriculum

2.1 Curriculum *

2.1.1 Description of Programs

2.1.2 Justification for Greater Than 180 Units

2.1.3 General Education Courses

2.1.4 Service Courses

2.1.5 Credential/Certificate Programs

2.1.6 Curricular Bottlenecks

2.1.7 Diversity

2.1.8 Service-Learning

2.2 Written and Oral Communication

2.2.1 Improving Writing Skills

2.2.2 Oral Communication

2.3 Critical Thinking

2.3.1 Improving Critical Thinking Skills

2.4 Quantitative Reasoning

2.5 Information Competence *

2.5.1 Improving Information Competence Skills

2.5.2 Theses or Projects Completed (Appendix E)

3.0 Program Assessment

3.1 Assessment Plan

3.2 Assessment Process

3.3 Program Improvements

3.4 Degree Completions

3.5 Student / Alumni Employment

3.6 Student / Alumni Awards and Achievements

4.0 Faculty and Instruction

4.1 Student Opinion Surveys

4.2 Faculty Resumés (Appendix H)

4.3 Equity and Diversity

4.4 Instructors and Courses (Appendix I)

4.5 Faculty Utilization Patterns

4.6 Instructional Modes

4.7 Student Involvement in Faculty Projects

5.0 Effective Retention Strategies

5.1 Enrollment Numbers (see Appendix K)

5.1.1 Undergraduate Programs

5.1.2 Graduate Programs

5.2 Gender and Ethnicity Ratios (see Appendix L)

5.3 Graduation Rates (see Appendix M)

5.4 Advisement

5.5 Retention Efforts

6.0 Recruitment, Outreach, and Alumni Relations

6.1 Application/Acceptance Yields (Appendix N)

6.2 Recruitment Outreach Activities

6.3 Non-recruitment Outreach Activities

6.4 Advisory Board

6.5 Alumni Contact

6.6 Recruitment Plan

7.0 Program Satisfaction

7.1 Length of Time to Degree

7.2 Alumni Expectations

7.3 Current Student Expectations

7.4 Student / Alumni Suggested Improvements

7.5 Alumni Preparation for Jobs

7.6 Career Preparation

7.7 Preparation for Present Employment

7.8 Use of Survey Information for Program Improvement

8.0 Governance and Administration

9.0 Resource Management

9.1 FTES, FTEF, and SFR Summaries (Appendix O)

9.2 Projected Faculty Needs

9.3 Projected Facilities Needs

9.4 External Funding

10.0 Department Recommendations

List of Tables

 

Table 1. Student Opinion Surveys, Fall 2006-Spring 2007

Table 2. Faculty Data

Table 3. Proportion of Classes Taught by Different Classifications of Faculty (071-079)

 

List of Appendices

 

Department Long Range Plan Appendix A

Last Program Review Subcommittee Report and Follow-up Reports Appendix B

Catalog Description of Each Program Appendix C

Letters on how well courses meet the needs of other departments Appendix D

Masters theses and projects Appendix E

Department Assessment Plan Appendix F

Assessment measurement tools and findings Appendix G

Resumes for each probationary and tenured faculty member Appendix H

Matrix of courses and faculty Appendix I

Matrix of courses and instructional modes Appendix J

Number of students in major Appendix K

Gender and ethnicity of majors Appendix L

Graduation or persistence rates Appendix M

Application/Acceptance Yields Appendix N

FTES, FTEF, SFR; with Supplemental Analysis Appendix O

Department Hiring Plan, 2007-2012 Appendix P

Analysis of Enrollment Data (Spring 2001-Winter 2006) Appendix Q

Degrees Awarded (Program, Campus, System Compared) Appendix R

Graduate Student Handbook Appendix S

Department Web Site Appendix T

1.0 Mission, Goals and Objectives

1.1 Overview

The study of language has long occupied a central place in Western ideas about education. The classical trivium of grammar, rhetoric, and logic formed the foundation of a liberal education and today, at a minimum, still provides the core of a university first-year writing course. The study of language at a modern university takes many forms, but most focus on the exemplary nature of selected texts, on the rewards of studying literature. Up to the end of the nineteenth century, universities had relied on the reading of classical literature to train young men (women not then eligible to attend university), but little attention was paid to modern languages and more recent national literatures. This absence of vernacular national literatures remained true at elite universities until the twentieth century. Interestingly, it was at the forerunners of CSULA—the working-class colleges and technical schools in Britain and normal schools and land-grant universities in the United States—that national literatures were introduced as subjects worthy of academic study.

In the United States, national literature has always been understood as part of a longer Anglo-American history reaching back to Anglo-Saxon poetry. This Anglo-American tradition remains central, but in the latter third of the twentieth-century the field has broadened to include the literature of other Anglophone cultures (e.g., in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India, and the Caribbean) and literature in translation (from the literature of ancient Greece and Rome to Native American legends to the works of modern European and non-European writers). The focus has also been broadened to include texts—for example from popular culture and politics—that were previously considered "non-literary." The approaches to this widening body of literature are numerous and varied, and primarily since the 1970s the boundaries between literary studies and other disciplines, such as anthropology, philosophy, psychology, history, sociology, neuroscience, politics, and even physics and mathematics have significantly blurred, and literary theory, enriched by knowledge and insights from these other fields, has become more sophisticated, deeply grounded, and important.

As practiced in most English departments, the study of language has generally included not only training in critical writing, the ability to analyze and interpret works of literature, but also instruction in creative writing, the art of fabricating new works. In addition, the field of English includes the study of the history of the English language, its underlying or governing structures (grammar, syntax, morphology, phonetics), and the varieties of usage or practice among different groups of English speakers and writers. These concerns with literature and language combine with the yet older field of rhetoric to form another major subdivision of English, composition studies, the component closest to the classical trivium, which formed the foundation of all liberal education. In all these endeavors, English departments use the study of language and its role in shaping culture as a basis for helping others to become more effective writers and thinkers of all kinds—academic, creative, professional, personal.

1.2 Mission Statement

The English Department’s mission is to promote intellectual inquiry through the study of literature, linguistics, composition and rhetoric, and creative writing; to motivate students to strive for excellence in their reading and writing abilities; to prepare students to succeed in graduate study, the teaching profession, and other careers; and to encourage personally meaningful engagement in English studies.

Therefore, our undergraduate and graduate programs are designed to accomplish the following goals:

  • to help students develop an understanding and appreciation of the power and beauty of written expression through a broad knowledge of representative literary texts from diverse periods, genres, and cultures

  • to enable students to practice with confidence and skill the basic techniques of textual analysis

  • to help students understand their own and other cultures, past and present, through the historically contextualized study of language and literature

  • to make students aware of the emerging roles of literature, aesthetics, and critical theory

  • to enrich the creative and analytical powers of students as writers, helping them to develop original perspectives with precision, express themselves with grace, and organize their ideas with clarity through a comprehensive mastery of divergent rhetorical strategies

  • to teach students to use both reading and writing to develop an awareness of multiple perspectives and their own informed, responsible, and meaningful criteria for approaching language and literature

In order to pursue its mission effectively, the department also commits itself to the following:

  • encouraging individual faculty members to utilize their particular strengths and rewarding their efforts so that the department as a whole will continue to demonstrate excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service

  • utilizing, when appropriate, various pedagogies and emerging technologies to develop more effective teaching methods and to promote improved student learning

  • maintaining small class sizes to foster meaningful exchange among students and faculty members at every level of instruction, from lower division courses to graduate seminars, and providing individualized guidance through advising

  • supporting faculty members’ efforts to conduct authoritative scholarship in their respective fields

  • developing a significant presence within the university community and beyond by serving as the central authority on writing instruction and literary history and by advocating study of the humanities in general

Through its emphasis on intellectual inquiry in the study of literature and language, the Department’s mission is clearly consistent with the College of Arts and Letters’ goal of "nurturing humanists and artists, and of providing a broad liberal arts education to all CSULA students." The Department’s mission to encourage excellence in student reading and writing and to prepare them for careers in a variety of fields supports the College commitment to "academic excellence in the arts and humanities" and to prepare "students for professional success through a liberal arts education." The Department’s mission "to encourage personally meaningful engagement in English" is part of the College effort through "intellectual, philosophical and cultural inquiry" to help "our diverse student body to undertake personal development and to achieve effective participation in a democratic society."

The Department’s commitment to encouraging faculty scholarship, excellence in teaching, and a "significant presence within the university and beyond" supports the University’s recognition that "highly qualified faculty are the keystone of the University" and its commitment "to free scholarly inquiry, to high quality teaching, and to academic excellence in … programs … [that] include research, scholarship, creative activity, and community service." The Department goal of developing appreciation and knowledge "of literary texts from diverse periods, genres, and cultures" reflects the University efforts to provide "access and excellence to transform lives" of its unique and diverse student body. Both the University and the Department missions also emphasize the need for utilizing innovative teaching strategies and technology. Finally, the Department’s commitment to "maintaining small class sizes" and to "individualized guidance through advising" also serves the needs of our unique student body and supports the University’s commitment to "fostering collegial and interdisciplinary relationships" among faculty and students.

1.3 Goals and Objectives

The Department’s Goals and Objectives are included as part of its mission statement and are compared with College and University goals in 1.2.

1.4 Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes in both the undergraduate and graduate programs in the Department of English are tied directly to the department goals outlined in the mission statement. Students will

  • develop an understanding and appreciation of the power and beauty of written expression through the study of representative literary texts from diverse periods, genres, and cultures

  • practice textual analysis with confidence and skill

  • develop a multicultural understanding of their own and other cultures, past and present, through the historically contextualized study of language and literature

  • be aware of the evolving roles of literature, aesthetics, and critical theory

  • be able to develop and support original perspectives with precision, express themselves effectively and with clarity, and engage in constructive dialog with an awareness of multiple perspectives

  • be able to conduct research in the field

  • develop solid reading, writing, and critical thinking skills

These learning outcomes formed the basis of a number of assessment activities conducted by the department since the last program review. See section 3.1 for more about assessment.

1.5 Long-Range Plans

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 over 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 and major courses and upper and lower division general education courses, and elimination of full-time faculty participation in first-year writing courses.

In Winter 2007, the department developed extensively documented analyses of FTES, FTEF, and SFR data, comparing the English Department’s 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% over the last decade, the second largest increase among CSU English departments, and over six times greater than the increase at CSULA (9%) during the same period.

  • Over the last decade, only three CSU 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, graduate FTES for English has increased by nearly 50%, while that of the College of Arts and Letters has increased by only 0.5%, and the University by 14%.

  • 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.

Our vision for the next five years is to direct our energies and resources towards improving the quality of the programs we currently offer. 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. See Appendix A for the department’s full report on long range plans. Also, see Appendix P for the department’s five-year hiring plan.

1.6 Changes in Goals and Objectives

The long-range plans specified above will necessarily result in some practical changes in the curriculum and in the Department, such as the revised programs and courses offered and the number and kind of students served. However, these projected changes are primarily in the concrete and specific ways that we fulfill our academic mission, and not in the mission statement itself, nor substantially in the goals, objectives, and learning outcomes used to achieve that mission. Philosophically and pedagogically, the department is strongly committed to its current articulation of its mission statement.

1.7 Recommendations from Last Program Review

The Department is urged to continue the development of an overall plan for systematic programmatic assessment using student learning outcomes, and to use the results to improve the program.

As detailed in 3.1 and Appendix F, the department has engaged in a wide range of assessment activities, ranging from an examination of student learning outcomes in ENGL 101 to a study of pass rates on its MA comprehensive examination. Again, as detailed in 3.1 and Appendix F, these assessments led directly to changes in the program.

Encourage faculty to participate in faculty development opportunities offered through the Faculty Instructional Technology Support Center (FITSC).

A number of faculty have participated in workshops offered by the eLPS Center (formerly the FITSC). Several faculty make substantial use of WebCT for courses and other instructional materials.

Complete the current project to more fully develop a Departmental information website for students.

In Fall 2003, the department created the position of department webmaster. On January 1, 2004, the department launched its new website. The new site adheres to University format guidelines, is fully ADA-compliant, uses innovative Java scripts to create dynamic and interactive page content, and provides simple access to a wealth of information on the department’s programs, faculty, public events, and announcements. Later in 2004, excerpts from the department’s literary magazine, Statement, were placed online. In 2005, content on career paths and postgraduate opportunities for English majors was added under the main menu heading "Why English?" In 2006, a video archive of guest speakers maintained by department faculty member Dr. Ruben Quintero was added. While initially the position of department webmaster came with some reassigned time, which up until 2007-2008 averaged two units per year, at present the position is unsupported. The lack of support threatens the department’s ability to fill this position in the future and maintain its online presence. Representative pages from the web site are included in Appendix T.

Reduce class size for remediation classes, ideally to no more than fifteen to seventeen, with eighteen to nineteen (not our current median of twenty-two) as a last resort.

While the reported median class size of 22 in ENGL 095 and 096 was a temporary aberration, achieving class sizes of fifteen to seventeen has proven to be impossible. As detailed in Appendix A, the department continues to make reduced class sizes in both remedial and first-year writing classes a priority, but the funding has remained elusive. First-year students admitted to the University continue to require pre-baccalaureate writing classes at the second highest rate in the CSU. Only 24% of the CSULA incoming class of 2006 were deemed "Proficient in English," the second-lowest percentage in the system, and less than half the CSU average of 54%. Currently the university admits under-prepared students but responsibility for preparing them for academic success falls solely on the English department. These under-prepared students require small classes, experienced instructors, constructivist, hands-on writing workshops, frequent writing opportunities with feedback, frequent revision opportunities, frequent conferencing opportunities. First-year students require a similar emphasis on drafting, feedback, revision, workshops, and conferences, and small classes.

The department’s current class limits of 20 in developmental writing and 27 in first-year writing remain amongst the highest in the CSU, and while the previous program review recommended reduced class sizes, the department has struggled to keep its already too-large composition classes from getting even larger. In 2007, the department proposed reducing class sizes in ENGL 095, 096, 101, and 102. In 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 (about two part-time faculty teaching nine classes a year), or about 16 additional classes per year.

  • If the class size caps for these classes are set at the level recommended by the external reviewers in the department’s 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 (less than four part-time faculty teaching nine classes a year), or about 33 additional classes per year.

Unfortunately, no additional funding was made available to support this proposal. The department, nonetheless, has continued to attempt to secure 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.

Limit composition classes at both the 100- and 200-levels, to a maximum of twenty-four students (not our current median of twenty-eight to twenty-nine).

See response to recommendation 4 above.

Appoint a graduate programs coordinator with both advisement and marketing responsibilities.

The department has dramatically expanded the responsibilities of the graduate advisor, who now acts as a de-facto "graduate programs coordinator." The graduate advisor supervises and evaluates all graduate admissions, acts as program advisor for all graduate students, supervises the comprehensive examinations, carefully monitors current students to improve retention, develops workshops for job and exam candidates and prospective students, and actively recruits new students. To recruit faculty for this increasingly important position, the department requested four units of reassigned time per quarter, double its previous allocation. The request was denied. It is likely that recruiting faculty for this position will be difficult given the increased demands of the position. Minimally, the additional responsibilities, especially related to marketing and assessment, will not be implemented until the department can secure funding adequate to the expanded duties of the de-facto "graduate programs coordinator."

Continue searching for sources for external funding.

The external funding available for humanities programs has always been slight compared to the support available to other university programs and departments. Over the last five years, these sources have become increasingly scarce, and in a narrative repeated throughout this document, the department’s lack of full-time faculty has essentially foreclosed any attempt to seek additional external funding.

2.0 Program Curriculum

2.1 Curriculum

The English Department offers a baccalaureate degree program with three options, two minor programs, a master’s degree program with three options, and a post-baccalaureate certificate program.

2.1.1 Description of Programs

BA Major Program: For the baccalaureate degree program, 80 units are required in the General Option and the Creative Writing Option, and 88 in the Single Subject Teaching Option. The General Option requires 12 units of lower-division courses and 68 units of upper-division courses. The Creative Writing Option requires 16 units of lower-division courses, and 64 units of upper-division courses. The Single Subject Teaching Option requires 16 units of lower-division courses and 72 units of upper-division courses. All three options share a 24 unit common core of lower- and upper-division courses. The lower-division courses in the common core are 200A The Classical and Medieval Tradition (4 units), 200B British Literature Survey I (4 units), and 200C British Literature Survey II (4 units). These courses introduce students to the larger historical tradition of literature, to the literary genres and literary conventions operating within that tradition, and to the critical terminology needed to analyze literature perceptively. The upper-division courses in the common core are a discipline-specific writing course (ENGL 340 Writing the Critical Essay) to be taken prior to upper-division courses in literature, an introduction to Shakespeare (ENGL 417 Shakespeare I), and a writing-intensive senior seminar (ENGL 492 Seminar in Literature and Language).

All three options require upper-division courses in British, American and world literatures, and in linguistics. The General Option requires 16 units of British literature, 12 units of American literature, 8 units of World literature in translation, and 4 units of linguistics. The Creative Writing Option requires 12 units of British literature, 12 units of American literature, 4 units of World literature in translation, and 4 units of linguistics. The Single Subject Teaching Option requires 4 units of British literature, 12 units of American literature, 4 units of World literature in translation, and 8 units of linguistics. Students in both the General Option and the Creative Writing Option take a course in historical and contemporary literary criticism and theory (ENGL 441 Major Critics). The General Option includes 12 units of electives, while the Creative Writing Option requires 16 units of creative writing courses. The Single Subject Teaching Option requires 20 units of coursework in a designated area of extended study.

Of the three options, the Single Subject Teaching Option varies the most from the other two. Students in this option are required to take ENGL 476 Ethnic Literature in the U.S. in lieu of one of the traditional historical period courses in American literature, and they are required to complete additional coursework in writing pedagogy (ENGL 310 Genres of Writing), cultural studies (ENGL 452 Reading Cultures: Cultural Studies and Literature), and the teaching of grammar (ENGL 305 English Grammar and Usage). Furthermore, Single Subject Teaching Option students supplement their core English studies by focusing on one of six extended study areas: Literature and Textual Analysis, The Literature of Diversity, Expository Writing and Language, Creative Writing, Communication, or Theatre and Drama. Finally, Single Subject Teaching Option students complete a capstone course (ENGL 494 Literary Study and the Teaching Profession: A Capstone Course in the English Major for Prospective Teachers) at the end of their undergraduate program. In both the capstone course (ENGL 494) and the course in writing pedagogy (ENGL 310), students gain early field experience by working in local schools, and produce reflections and other artifacts, which are collected into a portfolio and evaluated.

Literary study and, in particular, literary history is clearly a major emphasis in the BA program, evident in both the structure of the program and in the number of survey and period courses required. However, with the requirements in linguistics, world literature, and literary criticism, with the inclusion of several genre, major-author, and variable-topic courses, and with the mix of lecture-discussion and seminar courses, the program also aims at breadth of coverage, diversity of subject matter and critical approach, and variety of classroom experiences. In addition, close critical reading is a major objective of all the literature courses, where students are trained to analyze the themes, style, content, and social, intellectual, and historical context of a text. The ability to articulate these insights and understandings fully and effectively, both orally and in writing, is an equally important objective in the program, served not only by the required writing course and senior seminar, but also by the Department policy that all courses in the major include a significant writing component.

BA Minor Programs: The Minor in English requires 28 units, 8-12 lower-division and 16-20 upper-division. The options for lower-division courses include those required of BA students as well as two GE courses. Upper-division courses may be selected from courses in composition, language, and literature, depending on a student’s interests and needs. The program is designed for majors in other fields, such as history or philosophy, with which English study is closely allied and complementary, or such as business and pre-law, for which English study might provide a useful strengthening in communication and analytical skills. The program also serves the needs of those holding a single-subject credential in another field and seeking a supplementary authorization to teach English. Whereas a history major might select all literature courses to complete the minor, the student seeking a supplementary authorization will need to include at least one course in each of the three major subject areas: composition, language, and literature.

MA Program: The Master of Arts program in English consists of 45 units, at least 23 of which must be at the 500 level, while the rest may be 400-level courses. The core of the program for all options is 16 units in the advanced study of literature and critical theory. ENGL 501 Theoretical Foundations of Literary Studies and ENGL 502 Research Methods in Literary Studies are pre- or co-requisites to the other core courses in literature and prerequisite to all other graduate seminars in the program. These courses prepare students in the basic methodologies of literary research, including the use of digital technology, in writing and documentation standards within the profession, and in the critical theories that inform contemporary literary study. Two reading courses in literature (ENGL 510 Proseminar in Literature) complete the common core. These courses are variable topic, discussion-based reading courses that provide both broad and deep coverage of the basic texts and critical approaches of selected historical periods or genres.

Students who select the Option in Literature take an additional 29 units in graduate seminars or 400-level courses in literature. Students in the Option in Composition, Rhetoric, and Language must complete a secondary core of 12 units in Composition-Rhetoric seminars (ENGL 504 Seminar: Theories of Composition and Rhetoric, ENGL 505 Seminar: Language and Literacy, and ENGL 550 Seminar: Topics in Composition, Rhetoric, and Language), plus 12-17 units of electives, 8 of which must be in literature courses and the remaining may be in composition-rhetoric, linguistics, literature, or creative writing. Students in the Option in Creative Writing select, with advisor approval (and beyond the common core), 12 units in creative writing, at least one of which must be ENGL 507 Seminar: Creative Writing, and then an additional 12 units of 400- or 500-level courses with courses in literature to be chosen with particular relevance to the student’s focus in his or her creative work. Students in the Options in Literature and in Composition, Rhetoric, and Language complete their programs with either a comprehensive exam or a thesis, while only a creative thesis is possible for those in the Option in Creative Writing.

The governing concept of the MA program is that the study of literature and literary criticism and theory is fundamental to advanced academic work in each of the three options, that it informs the study of composition scholar/teachers and the production of creative writers as much as it does the work of literary critics/teachers, and that a master’s degree in English implies above all an advanced knowledge of literature and critical theory.

Certificate Program in Teaching Writing: The Certificate Program in Teaching Writing consists of 24 units—8 units 400-level and 16 units 500-level—of required courses in language, and composition and rhetoric. The program is designed primarily for secondary or post-secondary teachers in any field wanting advanced study in linguistics and composition theory to help them teach writing in their chosen field as part of the increasing interest in and demand for writing-across-the-curriculum.

2.1.2 Justification for Greater Than 180 Units

None of the undergraduate degree options in English require more than 180 units.

2.1.3 General Education Courses

The English Department offers the following General Education courses:

Block A: Basic Subjects

ENGL 101 Composition I

Block C: Humanities

C1 Literature and Drama

ENGL 207 Beginning Creative Writing

ENGL/ANTH 245 Introduction to Folk Literature

ENGL 250 Understanding Literature

ENGL 258 Mythology in Literature

ENGL 260 Women in Literature

ENGL 270 Contemporary American Literature

ENGL 280 Contemporary World Literature

C2 Arts

ENGL/BCST 225 Interpreting World Cinema

C5 Integrated Humanities

ENGL/PHIL 210 Conceptions of the Self in Philosophy and Literature

Block F: Upper Division Themes

A. ENGL/PAS 386 Literature and the Third World

B. ENGL 382 Violence and Literature

C. ENGL/COMM 385 Sex and Gender in Language and Literature
ENGL/BCST 379 Gender and Sexuality in Popular Culture

E. ENGL/CHS/PAS 327 Ethnicity and Emotions in U.S. Film
ENGL/ML389 Human Emotions in Literary Expression

F. ENGL 383 Narratives of Maturity and Aging

G. ENGL 388 Environment and Literature

H. ENGL/PAS 377 Literary Explorations of Justice and Racism

I. ENGL 381 Legacy of Greek and Roman Literature

Meeting the goals/criteria for GE was a condition of these courses’ inclusion in the GE program.

2.1.4 Service Courses

ENGL 476 Ethnic Literature in America is a required course in the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Asian and Asian American Studies. ENGL 401 English Language in America, an introductory course in linguistic theory, is a required course in the Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development (CLAD) concentration of the Master of Arts Degree in Education (Middle and Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Option), and in the Master of Arts Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and ENGL 405 Modern English Grammar is an option in the core of the TESOL MA program. ENGL 101 (GE A-1 requirement), 102 (University requirement), are required as part of the general core of University lower-division coursework. ENGL 430 Children’s Literature, which is focused on critical analysis of literature written for children, is an option in the Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential Programs (both blended and unblended) offered by Child and Family Studies, Liberal Studies, and several other departments. Nearly all of the English Department’s upper-division literature courses are included in the Literature option of the Liberal Studies program.

2.1.5 Credential/Certificate Programs

The Department offers a Single-Subject Teaching Option in its baccalaureate degree program and a Certificate in Teaching Writing for post-baccalaureate students.

The Single-Subject Teaching Option is closely parallel to the General Option with its emphasis on the study of British, American, and world literature (in translation), literary criticism, and English linguistics. In accord with state requirements for single-subject waiver programs, the Teaching Option—as compared with the General Option—requires additional course work in language, a course in ethnic literature (ENGL 476 Ethnic Literature in the U.S.), a course in writing pedagogy (ENGL 310 Genres of Writing), a capstone course (ENGL 494 Literary Study and the Teaching Profession), and 20 units of coursework in an area of extended study. Students successfully completing the program with a 2.83 GPA meet the requirements for subject area competency in English, which along with a BA degree and professional training in education are necessary to achieving a single-subject credential.

The Certificate in Teaching Writing offers advanced study in composition, language, and rhetoric for current teachers who desire more training in these specialized fields. The program requires 24 units of upper-division and graduate level work in linguistics, composition theory, and rhetoric, 12 units of which may be applied to the Composition, Rhetoric, and Language option of the MA program.

2.1.6 Curricular Bottlenecks

None of the department’s programs suffer from curricular bottlenecks. The department’s ability to offer 400-level courses for majors and graduate seminars, however, has been affected by significant loss (due to relocation, retirement, and lack of hiring) of full-time faculty. Continued enrollment growth coupled with continued loss of faculty and/or inability to hire new faculty could have an impact in the near future on students’ ability to graduate on time. (For more information see Appendix P, Department of English Hiring Plan, 2007-2012.)

2.1.7 Diversity

Because the study of language and literature necessarily involves a consideration of texts as both historically situated and potentially ahistorical, it involves a near constant engagement with questions of diversity.

2.1.7.1 Undergraduate Degree Program

Required survey courses in classical, British, and American literature focus not only on "canonical" texts of antiquity and the near present, but on the effect of race, class, and gender on the process of canonization, a discussion continued in all period-based literature courses, and theorized in ENGL 441 Major Critics. A course in ethnic literature of the United States is a requirement in the credential program. The world literature offerings, particularly the modern/contemporary British and continental novel/drama/poetry courses include the works of Anglophone and non-European writers from India, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and South America. In addition, the Department offers elective courses in African Literature, Black American Literature, and Modern Women Writers. The variable topic senior seminars regularly center on issues of race, class, and gender and, therefore, also include contributions of diverse groups. The recently added course on cultural studies (ENGL 452 Reading Cultures: Cultural Studies and Literature) focuses on understanding the impact of cultural norms and expectations on the determination of literary value. The required courses in linguistics and composition address issues of dialect, language acquisition, second language interference in standard English production, the influence of culture on rhetorical patterns, and other concerns of minority and non-native English users.

2.1.7.2 Postbaccalaureate/Graduate Program

In the graduate degree program, a course in contemporary critical theory (ENGL 501 Theoretical Foundations of Literary Studies) is required for all MA students. This course addresses such issues as the role of culture in shaping literary canons, the challenge of postcolonial, gendered, and racial/ethnic perspectives on traditional ways of reading and writing, and other concerns of diverse groups. All graduate seminars have variable topics, and because they tend to focus on recent developments in literary studies these classes are often much more focused on the works and concerns of diverse groups. A sampling of graduate offerings since Summer 2005 would include course titles such as "American Women Writers," "Caribbean Narratives," "African American Voices," "Diasporic Consciousness in Literature," "U.S. Literature and the Color Line," "Politics and 20th Century Black Literature," "August Wilson’s Dramatic Revision of American History," "Feminism and Masculinity in Chaucer Studies," "Narratives of Fundamentalism(s) and Secularism(s)," and "Victorian Sexualities and Textualities." Also, insofar as these concerns are central to the problems of teaching writing in contemporary urban classrooms, they are addressed in the composition/rhetoric/language graduate seminars as well.

2.1.7.3 General Education Courses

In pre-collegiate and first-year writing courses, the common practice is to include at least one literary text, most frequently the work of minority writers such as Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street, Maxine Hong Kingston’s Woman Warrior, or Rudolfo A. Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima. The Department’s currently most popular GE course, ENGL 250 Understanding Literature, focuses on the major genres—fiction, poetry and drama—with works selected from various periods and cultures. The department also offers three other GE humanities courses—ENGL 260 Women in Literature, ENGL 270 Contemporary American Literature, and ENGL 280 Contemporary World Literature—all of which include contributions of diverse groups. ENGL 260 and ENGL 270 have been designated as courses that will satisfy the GE diversity requirement. In addition, the Department has courses in Upper-Division Themes A, C, E, and H which are specifically focused on issues of diversity, and the contribution of various groups are included in the readings for all the upper-division theme courses offered by the Department.

2.1.8 Service-Learning

Service-learning is an integral part of a number of courses offered by the department, including several courses for undergraduate majors. Service-learning has been incorporated into ENGL 301 Introduction to Language, ENGL 381 Legacy of Greek and Roman Literature, ENGL 430 Children’s Literature, ENGL 452 Reading Cultures, and ENGL 476 Ethnic Literature in the U.S. In ENGL 430 Children’s Literature, for example, students share their reading of children’s texts with students in classroom or preschool settings; and in ENGL 476 Ethnic Literature in the U.S. students share their insights and experience of ethnic literature with members of those ethnic groups in various community centers and activities.

2.2 Written and Oral Communication

2.2.1 Improving Writing Skills

The English Department is committed to improving student writing, both for majors and non-majors. The Department coordinates its composition program, and it offers numerous courses in essay writing and writing pedagogy as part of its undergraduate and graduate programs. Nearly all upper-division literature courses require extensive writing. The Department recently piloted an online composition course option and may offer regular sections in the future.

2.2.1.1 Undergraduate Programs

Improving student writing is one of the primary functions of the English Department. Within the major, a course in writing critical essays about literature (ENGL 340 Writing the Critical Essay) is required in all three options. In addition, the university’s upper-division writing requirement is satisfied by the senior seminar in which a substantial research paper is the major assignment. Furthermore, multiple writing assignments with opportunity for feedback and revision are required in all literature courses, and linguistics courses regularly include at least one formal writing assignment. A fundamental premise of English study is that writing and literary study are inextricably linked, part of a continuous process in which each informs the other.

2.2.1.2 Postbaccalaureate/Graduate Programs

In graduate seminars, students produce seminar papers, generally 15-20 page research papers. The seminar paper—requiring the exercise of both language and critical thinking skills—is continuous with in-class discussions of texts, literary theory, and cultural contexts. The prerequisite course to all other seminars, ENGL 502 Research Methods in Literary Studies, focuses on the specific problems of methodology involved in writing essays in the profession, and subsequent seminars build on this preparation to develop the student’s writing skills further. In essence, to master literary study means to be able to write and speak about literature with skill and insight: knowledge in English study is measured in no other way.

2.2.1.3 General Education Courses

The English Department has the primary responsibility for teaching written communication in the GE program, from pre-collegiate basic writing courses through first-year composition (ENGL 095, 096, 101, and 102). Students are placed in these courses by their English Placement Test (EPT) scores. Those scoring at the state-mandated cutoff of 151 and above are placed directly into ENGL 101. Students scoring from 146-150 may take ENGL 101 in conjunction with ENGL 100, a weekly supplemental workshop course coordinated by the University Writing Center. For students scoring below this threshold, the university offers two pre-baccalaureate courses: students scoring between 137-145 begin with ENGL 096, and students scoring 136 and below begin with ENGL 095. Approximately 80% of first-year students at CSULA begin their composition sequence with ENGL 095 or 096.

Composition classes are taught by a dedicated cadre of faculty. In all courses, students receive detailed personal attention and guidance and ample opportunity to revise and edit their papers based on instructor feedback. Faculty commonly make use of peer review, individual writing conferences, and portfolios and maintain a close relationship with the University Writing Center, which offers one-on-one writing tutoring to students.

ENGL 095/096:

The main goal of ENGL 095 and 096 is to develop students' writing skills to a level where they are ready for the challenges of college-level reading and writing in ENGL 101 and other university baccalaureate courses. Classes are kept relatively small to allow individualized attention. Moreover, to ensure that students are given the maximum opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency, students are evaluated by a portfolio which is scored by a minimum of two readers. These courses are offered on a credit/no credit basis.

ENGL 101/102:

ENGL 101 and 102 move beyond ENGL 096 by focusing on analytic writing based on critical reading of texts. In ENGL 101, students write thesis-driven arguments that make use of external evidence. Although students may draw on their personal experiences and observations for examples when relevant, essay topics are based on texts that are discussed in an analytic framework. In ENGL 102, students extend their ability to interpret and analyze a range of texts, write longer and more sustained essays, carry out independent research, and integrate multiple sources into their essays; as part of the research component, the course now incorporates training in information literacy skills usually in partnership with library staff.

Other GE Offerings:

Typical of all English courses, multiple writing assignments are also required in all GE literature and film courses offered by the Department, including upper-division theme courses. In all Department courses, faculty provide feedback on writing assignments, often permit or require revisions, and make these writing assignments significant in the course grade.

2.2.2 Oral Communication

2.2.2.1 Undergraduate Programs

While writing about literature is often the most important academic assignment for English majors, talking about literature is the dominant classroom activity and, for secondary school teachers, the most important preparation for their careers. Consequently, most major courses are conducted in a lecture-discussion format where student participation is expected and assessed as part of the course grade. In some courses, oral reports, group work, and dramatic presentations are regular class activities. Furthermore, oral presentations are required in the senior seminar (ENGL 492), and in the Single Subject Teaching Option capstone course (ENGL 494) students are required to present or teach a literary text to their classmates.

2.2.2.2 Postbaccalaureate/Graduate Programs

Graduate seminars, which explicitly require significant participation in class discussion and oral presentations, constitute the vast majority of course work on English MA programs.

2.2.3.3 General Education Courses

Small-group discussions, peer evaluation of student writing, and other forms of oral communication work are part of the standard pedagogy in ENGL 095, ENGL 096, ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 classes. Class discussions, small-group work, and, to a lesser extent, oral reports are regularly used in GE literature classes.

2.3 Critical Thinking

2.3.1 Improving Critical Thinking Skills

All English classes aid students in improving their critical thinking skills. Techniques of argumentation and developing a critical perspective relative to other views are central to the content of ENGL 101 and 102. More broadly, literary analysis, as executed in all literature-based classes, offers superb training in critical thinking since it requires the ability to distinguish between fact and implication, statement and innuendo, and sufficient and insufficient evidence. In essence, the relationship between language and logic lies near the heart of all we teach.

2.4 Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative reasoning is not significantly part of the English Department’s curriculum.

2.5 Information Competence

2.5.1 Improving Information Competence Skills

The department has sought to incorporate information competency skills in its GE offerings, specifically in ENGL 102, which incorporates a research component. The department has created a partnership with the University Library to ensure that ENGL 102 students master the following core information competencies: define a research topic and the need for information; access information effectively and efficiently; evaluate information critically; organize, synthesize, and communicate information for a specific purpose; and ethically and legally access and use information. A course modification articulating these expectations was recently approved by the department.

In the BA program, research methodologies and issues in English, including the ability to use both traditional library resources and bibliographical and archival resources on the Internet and basic familiarity with word processing, are introduced as part of the content of ENGL 340 Writing the Critical Essay. In addition, ENGL 494 introduces students to the use of technology, such as Power Point presentations, to assist instruction in the classroom. And, in the MA program, conducting significant research in English is the central concern of ENGL 502 Research Methods in Literary Studies.

2.5.2 Theses or Projects Completed (Appendix E)

From 2002 through 2007, there have been 72 master’s theses completed. Of these, 46 have been in Literature, 18 in Creative Writing, and 8 in Composition, Rhetoric, and Language.

3.0 Program Assessment

3.1 Assessment Plan

The department has engaged in the following assessment activities during the review period:

ENGL 101 Assessment: An assessment of learning outcomes for first-year writing

Critical Skills in English BA Program: An assessment of learning outcomes through a longitudinal comparison of student writing

Instructor Grading Practices: An assessment of grading norms within the department and across the university

Range of Required Reading for Graduate Courses: An assessment of assigned texts to determine departmental staffing needs

MA Comprehensive Examination: An assessment of student performance and grading practices and consistency

These assessment activities are further detailed in Appendix F.

3.2 Assessment Process

Assessment activities conducted during the review period are described in section 3.1 and in Appendix F. The department is also in the process of implementing an assessment process for the single subject credential option also detailed in Appendix F. The department is considering expanding this assessment process to all undergraduate majors.

3.3 Program Improvements

Undergraduate Degree Program: General assessment of student achievement in 400-level courses led the department to reconsider the objectives and pedagogic structure of ENGL 340 Writing the Critical Essay. In March 2006, the department’s Policy Committee recommended that this class be taught, whenever possible, by full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, that faculty who regularly teach this course meet periodically to discuss goals, objectives, strategies, and assessment, and that the class be considered akin to a workshop or lab with commensurately lower enrollment limits. A course modification articulating these changes is currently before the department.

Also, in response to new standards from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), the department dramatically revised its Single Subject Teaching Option. The modified program is described in section 2.1.1, and received final approval from the CCTC in 2007, meeting the department’s goal of being one of the first CSU English single subject credential programs to be approved.

The department has also formed an ad-hoc subcommittee to review the General Option in literature and the undergraduate program in general. The need for this review came out of the department’s strategic planning retreat, conducted in Winter 2007, where faculty identified "simplify the major to enable greater flexibility and encourage faculty innovation" as one of its top planning priorities. Specifically, the department hopes to enable greater curricular development and innovation by faculty.

Graduate Degree Program: The review of comprehensive examination pass rates was a factor in the department’s decision to evaluate and eventually modify its graduate program. Implementation of those changes began in Winter 2007. First, the difference in pass rate between Part 1 and Part 2 suggests that students were not sufficiently grounded in the core readings and contexts of historical periods. To address this deficiency, the department modified one of its required core graduate seminars, ENGL 510, into a reading seminar that would provide students with broad and deep coverage of the literature of a specific historical period. The department also modified the graduate program’s common core (16 units of coursework common to all three graduate degree options) to include 8 units (two courses) of ENGL 510. A second deficiency noted was sufficient grounding in contemporary issues in literary studies, specifically the theoretical foundations of the past century that have become so essential to any discussion of literature. To remedy this problem, the department developed a new course, ENGL 501 Theoretical Foundations of Literary Studies, which has been added to the common core for all graduate degree options.

3.4 Degree Completions

The Department does not gather information about the number of students entering or completing advanced degrees, professional, or service programs. However, it is safe to assume that a high percentage of the students in the Single-Subject Teaching Option enter the professional training program in education after they graduate, and each year 15-20 of the students completing BAs in the department continue on in the MA program. Also, based on informal communications several of our students enter Ph. D. programs each year, most recently at USC, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, University of Washington, Graduate Center at CUNY, and University of Massachusetts.

3.5 Student / Alumni Employment

The Department does not collect information about students’ employment.

3.6 Student / Alumni Awards and Achievements

Since the last review we are aware that a number of alumni have been honored. Jessica Magallanes was named a Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Fellow (2005), Leilani Serafini presented a paper at a conference at Duke University (2007), Brian Leung’s novel Lost Men was published (2007), Jade Ellis and Kevin McCabe had articles accepted for a forthcoming collection on Kay Boyle (2008), and Star Costello and Jessica Magallanes will have essays appearing in Facts on File: The Student’s Encyclopedia of Great American Writers (1900-1945) (2008).

4.0 Faculty and Instruction

4.1 Student Opinion Surveys

Table 1. Student Opinion Surveys, Fall 2006-Spring 2007

Fall 2006

Department

N =667

University

N=40029

Mean

S. D.

Mean

S. D.

1

1.35

0.65

1.47

0.79

2

1.36

0.66

1.46

0.78

3

1.44

0.70

1.61

0.94

4

1.50

0.87

1.70

1.03

5

1.53

0.87

1.63

0.96

6

1.29

0.58

1.44

0.75

7

1.54

0.84

1.66

0.99

8

1.34

0.69

1.49

0.83

9

1.17

0.43

1.30

0.67

10

1.49

0.89

1.58

1.03

11

1.52

0.85

1.71

1.04

Winter 2007

Department

N =709

University

N=37136

Mean

S. D.

Mean

S. D.

1

1.30

0.59

1.45

0.76

2

1.34

0.62

1.45

0.76

3

1.42

0.73

1.58

0.92

4

1.41

0.81

1.65

0.98

5

1.43

0.76

1.59

0.91

6

1.27

0.52

1.42

0.73

7

1.46

0.77

1.61

0.94

8

1.30

0.63

1.47

0.81

9

1.17

0.49

1.30

0.67

10

1.41

0.80

1.56

1.00

11

1.51

0.87

1.68

1.01

Spring 2007

Department

N =710

University

N=35335

Mean

S. D.

Mean

S. D.

1

1.30

0.57

1.44

0.76

2

1.36

0.64

1.43

0.75

3

1.35

0.70

1.55

0.91

4

1.37

0.75

1.63

0.97

5

1.36

0.70

1.57

0.91

6

1.27

0.60

1.40

0.73

7

1.45

0.78

1.59

0.94

8

1.31

0.64

1.46

0.81

9

1.18

0.44

1.29

0.66

10

1.42

0.88

1.54

0.99

11

1.44

0.84

1.66

1.01

  1. The instructor clearly defined the course requirements.

  2. The syllabus clearly outlined the course requirements and grading criteria.

  3. The instructor clearly presented the subject matter.

  4. The reading material, including the textbook, served well the purpose of this course.

  5. The examination questions were a good measure of the material presented in the course.

  6. The instructor administered and supervised the examinations appropriately.

  7. In general, information about how well I was doing was readily available.

  8. In general, the instructor was accessible to provide requested help in the subject.

  9. The instructor interacted with students in ways that were free of racial prejudice or discrimination.

  10. I would recommend this instructor to others.

  11. How would you rate the instructor’s overall teaching ability.

In every category, the English Department averages are significantly better than those for the University generally, on average a difference of greater than 10%. These results indicate that our students have a relatively high opinion of the department’s courses and instructors.

4.2 Faculty Resumés (Appendix H)

4.3 Equity and Diversity

Table 2. Faculty Data

Number of Tenured and Probationary (Tenure-Track) faculty Fall quarter of each year under review.

2001-2002 25

2002-2003 24

2003-2004 23

2004-2005 22

2005-2006 20

2006-2007 19

Number of Full-time Faculty by Rank, Sex, and Ethnicity, 2006-2007

 

Rank

Gender

Ethnicity

Terminal Degree

Professor

10 faculty

Female - 5

Male - 5

Afr Amer -

Asian/PI - 2

Latino - 1

White - 7

Other –

Doctorate - 10

Masters -

Bachelors -

Associate Professor

6 faculty

Female - 3

Male - 3

Afr Amer - 1

Asian/PI - 1

Latino - 0

White - 4

Other –

Doctorate - 6

Masters -

Bachelors -

Assistant Professor

3 faculty

Female - 0

Male - 3

Afr Amer -

Asian/PI - 1

Latino -

White - 2

Other -

Doctorate - 3

Masters -

Bachelors -

Lecturer

Female -

Male -

Afr Amer -

Asian/PI -

Latino -

White -

Other -

Doctorate -

Masters -

Bachelors -

Age distribution of faculty as of July 1, 2007 (Data Not Available)

Age Range Number of Faculty

30 or younger 0

31-35 0

36-40 0

41-45 0

46-50 0

51-60 0

61-65 0*

66 or Older 0*

*includes faculty on Faculty Early Retirement Program

4.4 Instructors and Courses (Appendix I)

4.5 Faculty Utilization Patterns

Table 3. Proportion of Classes Taught by Different Classifications of Faculty (071-079)

Appointment Level

N

Comp*

Creative Writing

General Education

Undergrad Linguistics

Undergrad Major

Graduate

Tenured/Tenure Track

20

3.4%

81.8%

35.1%

27.3%

64.2%

85.2%

FERP

4

0.4%

9.1%

0%

13.6%

6.2%

14.8%

Part time (P-T) with Terminal Degree

8

6.1%

0%

10.8%

36.4%

12.3%

0%

P-T without Terminal Degree

46

79.7%

9.1%

54.1%

22.7%

17.3%

0%

Teaching Assistants

15

10.3%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

* ENGL 095, 096, 101, 102

Table 3 shows the proportion of classes taught by different classifications of faculty. These proportions are significantly different from those reported in the last program review. In 2002, 93.3% of major classes were taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty. In 2007, only 64.2% were, with part-time faculty, both with and without terminal degrees making up the difference. In 2002, tenured and tenure-track faculty taught about two-thirds of the department’s general education courses. In 2007, they taught only about one-third, with part-time faculty without terminal degrees teaching more than half of the department’s general education offerings. These trends are discussed in greater detail in sections 1.5 and 9.3 and Appendix A and Appendix P of this document.

4.6 Instructional Modes

The Department averages for the reports of teaching methods used were as follows:

Active Learning

Collab-orative

Lecture

Service Learning

Tech. Mediated

Other

Total (100%)

COMP

33

31

26

0

4

7

100

GE

33

26

32

1

5

3

100

LD

34

28

31

0

5

2

100

UD

35

22

37

1

4

2

100

GRAD

52

19

26

0

3

1

100

ALL

37

22

34

1

4

2

100

4.7 Student Involvement in Faculty Projects

Several students have been involved in faculty projects, including preparation of conference papers, editing medieval manuscripts, and participating as panelists in international conferences through use of teleconferencing.

5.0 Effective Retention Strategies

5.1 Enrollment Numbers (see Appendix K)

5.1.1 Undergraduate Programs

The number of majors has increased 21% when Fall 2007 is compared to Fall 2002, nearly double the growth of the College of Arts and Letters (12%) over the same period. More important, however, is a comparison of like programs, other English departments as opposed to other departments at CSULA. While headcount numbers for majors on specific campuses are not available, the growth of the CSULA English department can be seen in other ways. Over the last decade, the number of CSULA English degrees awarded increased by 59%, the second largest percentage increase among English Departments in the CSU.

5.1.2 Graduate Programs

The number of graduate students has decreased 1% when Fall 2007 is compared to Fall 2002, while the number of graduate students in the College of Arts and Letters has decreased 5% over the same period. This slight drop in enrolled students is contradicted by significant growth in graduate FTES. 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. The FTES associated with the department’s graduate program has soared, increasing nearly 50% over 2001-2002. To put this 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).

5.2 Gender and Ethnicity Ratios (see Appendix L)

The ethnic ratios for African American and Hispanic students closely parallel those of the College and the University. The percentage of Asian/Pacific Islanders remained at about half the percentages for the University. The percentage of White Non-Hispanic students is significantly higher (22%) than the percentage for the University (13%).

5.3 Graduation Rates (see Appendix M)

Since 2002, the graduation rates for undergraduates in the Department of English have been consistently 20-25% higher than those of the College of Arts and Letters and the university as a whole. For the graduate program, the graduation rates have in aggregate been equal to those of the College of Arts and Letters, and below those of the university.

The department examined two cohorts from Fall 2002. The first consisted of the 62 students enrolled in ENGL 340, a required undergraduate course usually taken early in a student’s upper-division program. Of those 62 students, 10 were not undergraduate English majors and so were excluded, and 3 others changed to another major. Of the remaining 49 students, 34 received undergraduate English degrees by Fall 2007 and 15 did not, a graduation rate of 69%. The second cohort consisted of the 35 graduate students enrolled in ENGL 500 in Fall 2002. Of those 35 students, 14 received a graduate degree in English by Fall 2007 and 21 did not, a graduation rate of 40%.

The graduation rates included in Appendix M are very rough measures of both survivability and the general "navigability" of the program. The relatively "high" rate for the undergraduate program suggests that the department has done an effective job of recruiting and advising students, and that the program suffers from few if any enrollment bottlenecks. As the additional table in Appendix M shows, the department’s graduation rates for undergraduates is the best in the college, and among the top half-dozen non-credential programs in the university. The average rate for the graduate program suggests some problems. As detailed in the department’s long range plan (Appendix A), increased program size and the decreased number of full-time faculty have led to a shortage of faculty available to teach some levels of the undergraduate program and limitations on the number of graduate seminars available. The department already has the third highest SFR for English departments in the CSU. Since 2002, the average class size for graduate seminars in English at CSULA has been amongst the highest in the CSU, usually 20% higher than the systemwide average. (See also supplementary data included in Appendix O.)

5.4 Advisement

In the past, for undergraduate students needing program advisement the department provided two principal advisors during Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters and one during Summer Quarter. Significant reductions in reassigned time available for undergraduate advising have limited the department to only one principal advisor each quarter. Enrollment increases coupled with increased responsibilities related to college-level recruitment, graduation checks, and the recent implementation of program oversight mandated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), have made it difficult for undergraduate advisors to support our students effectively. Advisors have experimented with shorter appointments, group advising sessions, and other compromising remedies, but students still might need to wait several weeks to get an appointment. Currently three faculty members—Caroline McManus, Martin Huld, and Maria Karafilis—rotate as undergraduate advisors, though, as the position has become increasingly difficult, so has the task of recruiting faculty to serve in this important role.

In response to changes in the Single Subject Teaching Option mandated by the CCTC, the department has added an English Education Coordinator (EEC). This part-time advisement/administrative position is necessary to implement early field experience for prospective teachers, coordinate the review of portfolios to be assembled by Single Subject Teaching Option students, and to offer non-program advisement to students in this option. Unfortunately, this position is presently only supported for two out of four quarters, though the duties of the EEC continue year round.

Since the last program review, the department has significantly expanded the role of the graduate advisor. To improve consistency across all three options, the graduate advisor now serves as program advisor to all graduate students. The graduate advisor also reviews all applications for admission to the program, checks reported GPA, reviews transcripts and recommends admission or rejection, supervises the comprehensive examinations, carefully monitors current students to improve retention, develops workshops for job and exam candidates and prospective students, and actively recruits new students. The department, however, has not been able to provide adequate support for these increased duties (through reassigned time), meaning the additional responsibilities, especially related to marketing and assessment, will not be implemented and recruiting faculty for this position might be difficult.

5.5 Retention Efforts

At the undergraduate level, reductions in advisement time could prove threatening to department retention efforts. On January 1, 2005, the department launched a new website, which now serves as one of the principle avenues of communication with current and prospective students. The website offers detailed program information as well as specific recruitment and retention efforts in a section called "Why English?" This section, added in 2006, provides information on careers for English majors, job prospects for writers and humanists, and professional school options. Department faculty also offer frequent workshops on "Careers for English Majors," "Applying to Graduate Programs," and other post-graduate activities. During the last two years, the department has also launched informal job fairs for graduate students interested in teaching at area community colleges. These job fairs feature CSULA graduate alumni now teaching at area community colleges. In addition, the Department Advisement secretary publishes The Owl, a quarterly newsletter for graduate students that informs them about course offerings, department activities, students’ academic progress, and University requirements.

At the graduate level, the availability of competitive teaching assistantships and graduate assistantships enables the department to provide financial support for graduate students to serve as Teaching Associates and Graduate Student Assistants. These awards are a major incentive for students to remain in the program. For both graduate and undergraduate students, the Department continues to offer several scholarships that help students financially to continue their programs.

6.0 Recruitment, Outreach, and Alumni Relations

6.1 Application/Acceptance Yields (Appendix N)

Applications to the University increased 68% when Fall 2002 is compared to Fall 2007. During the same period, applications to the department have increased 108%. Like the University, the department has accepted a greater number of applicants each year and over the last three years has achieved comparable acceptance and enrollment yields. In general, however, the acceptance and enrollment yields for the University and for the department suggest problems. For both the University and department only 18% of applicants choose to enroll at CSULA.

6.2 Recruitment Outreach Activities

Undergraduate advisors and other members of the department have participated in a range of recruitment activities, including attendance at advisement and recruitment fairs and open houses coordinated by the university and the college. In addition, advisors and the department chair have attended Pasadena City College’s "English Major Night" as well as other recruitment events at local community colleges.

6.3 Non-recruitment Outreach Activities

Professor Marilyn Elkins has been one of the primary leaders of the campus’ implementation of the Reading Institute for Academic Preparation (RIAP) grant. Along with a group of high school teachers and faculty from the Charter College of Education, she has trained approximately 40 high school teachers in teaching reading and writing each year for the last five years. Professor Maria Karafilis has applied for a grant from the California Council for the Humanities to work with local youth in using digital photography to explore and analyze their communities, and she is also involved in the NEH-funded "Big Read" project through the County of Los Angeles. Professor Caroline McManus has delivered the keynote address to the Shakespeare Festival LA’s annual "Will-Power to Schools" in-service workshops. Several members of the department, including Professor Mel Donalson, Professor Michael Calabrese, and Professor Andrew Knighton have presented talks at the Huntington Library as part of its "Powerful Visions" speakers program.

6.4 Advisory Board

The Department does not have an advisory board.

6.5 Alumni Contact

The department does not have the resources to maintain contact information for undergraduate and graduate alumni. The Department maintains contact with some alumni of the graduate program through a quarterly newsletter, The Owl, prepared by the Department Advisement Office staff. Through The Owl alumni are notified of department sponsored events, such as the David Kubal Lecture and the Jean Burden Poetry Series, and several alumni usually attend these events.

6.6 Recruitment Plan

The department has enjoyed considerable program growth over the review period, which when coupled with a sharp decline in the number of full-time faculty has presented challenges. In its long-range plan (Appendix A), the department has identified improvements in program quality as its key recruitment and retention strategy. As outlined in 5.5, the department has launched an ambitious website, conducts regular workshops on career options, and offers highly qualified advisement. Unfortunately, most of these efforts are threatened by lack of resources, as outlined in 1.7 (no support for webmastering) and 5.4 (reduced or inadequate support for both undergraduate and graduate advisement).

7.0 Program Satisfaction

A survey of undergraduate and graduate students was conducted in Winter 2008 using a sample of students randomized for time of day, day of week, and program focus. Seventy-six responses were collected, tabulated, and analyzed. A survey of graduate students was conducted in Winter 2008 using a sample of students. Thirty-two responses were collected, tabulated, and analyzed. The department does not have the resources to maintain contact information for undergraduate and graduate alumni, so no alumni were surveyed.

7.1 Length of Time to Degree

Of the undergraduate students surveyed, 72% were transfer students, and 28% began their careers at CSULA. Twenty-seven percent of transfer students expected to finish their degrees in two years or less, while 58% of transfer students expected to finish their degrees in between two and three years. Of transfer students, therefore, 85% expect to finish their degrees in less than three years from the time they started at CSULA. Of those undergraduates who started at CSULA, 86% expected to finish in less than five years.

Of the graduate students surveyed, 44% expected to finish their degrees in two years or less, while 69% expected to finish their degrees in three years or less. Twenty-two percent anticipated taking between three and four years to complete their degrees, and 9% anticipated taking more than four years.

7.2 Alumni Expectations

As noted earlier, no survey of alumni was conducted.

7.3 Current Student Expectations

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate students report a high level of satisfaction with the program. To the statement, "The undergraduate program in English is meeting my expectations," 88% either agreed or strongly agreed, 11% were neutral, and 1% disagreed. When the data is disaggregated by program option, the results are even more striking, with 91% of Creative Writing Option students, 92% of Single Subject Teaching Option students, and 96% of General Option students either agreeing or strongly agreeing with this statement. What little dissatisfaction registered by undergraduates is almost entirely restricted to the small population of English majors who were unclear of their own program option.

Students were also asked to rank the aspects of their undergraduate education that were most valuable to them. "Effectiveness of Instruction" was ranked first or second by 60% of respondents, "Accessibility of Faculty" was ranked first or second by 46%, and "Small Class Sizes" was ranked first or second by 41%. These responses suggest both considerable satisfaction with and the value to students of effective instruction, accessible faculty, and small class sizes. Relatively low values given to the availability of advisement (15%) and course availability (26%) suggests some dissatisfaction with resource availability. These concerns are clarified by responses to the survey’s companion question, which asked students to rank the aspects of the undergraduate program that required the most attention. Students overwhelmingly identified the number of classes (63% ranked this item first or second) and scheduling of classes (70% ranked this item first or second) as the main deficiencies of the undergraduate program. These two concerns are clearly related—an insufficient number of courses has led to lack of schedule coverage.

Graduate Programs

Graduate students report a high level of satisfaction with the program. To the statement, "The graduate program in English is meeting my expectations," 82% either agreed or strongly agreed, 15% were neutral, and 3% disagreed. Students were also asked to rank the aspects of their graduate education that were most valuable to them. "Effectiveness of Instruction" was ranked first or second by 56% of respondents, "Accessibility of Faculty" was ranked first or second by 47%, and "Small Class Sizes" was ranked first or second by 63%. As in the undergraduate survey, these responses suggest both considerable satisfaction with and the value to students of effective instruction, accessible faculty, and small class sizes. The relatively low values given to the availability of advisement (12%) and course availability (3%) again suggests some dissatisfaction with resource availability. Again, these concerns are clarified by responses to the survey’s companion question, which asked students to rank the aspects of the graduate program that required the most attention. A very low percentage (3%) of students ranked "ineffectiveness of faculty," a response further supported by responses to another survey question. Asked to identify why they chose the graduate program in English at CSULA, nearly half of respondents ranked "the quality of the faculty" as either the first or second reason. The number of classes (75% ranked this item first or second) and the scheduling of classes (44% ranked this item first or second), however, clearly was a concern. As previously discussed, lack of classes is directly related, especially at the graduate level, to lack of full-time faculty. At the graduate level the lack of full-time faculty translates directly to an insufficient number of classes, which perhaps partially or fully accounts for the large percentage of graduate students (more than 1 in 3) expecting to take more than three years to complete their degrees.

7.4 Student / Alumni Suggested Improvements

The primary concern of students in the undergraduate and graduate programs is the availability of classes. A number of graduate students also commented on the lack of "smart" classrooms, a reference to the department’s seminar room, which is not equipped with any advanced teaching technologies. Also, only 36% of graduate students surveyed agreed (or strongly agreed) with the statement, "I am receiving from the department information about practical benefits available to graduate students, such as financial aid, assistantships, and other opportunities." While not a suggested improvement, this result points to the need for better orientation of incoming graduate students.

7.5 Alumni Preparation for Jobs

As noted earlier, no survey of alumni was conducted.

7.6 Career Preparation

Students pursue studies in language and literature to prepare themselves for careers as writers, teachers, and perhaps as scholars, but like most of the liberal arts, students also pursue studies for more personal and less utilitarian reasons—for love of reading, writing, and thinking about language, for the promised or actual growth of the mind and spirit, for the opportunity to engage with ideas, feelings, worlds greater than their own. These different reasons for study are clearly on display when students were surveyed about career preparation. Seventy-one percent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "I believe the undergraduate program in English is effectively preparing me for my planned career." When the results are disaggregated by program option, a very different picture emerges. Students in the Single Subject Teaching Option, the option most clearly linked to a career, express a very high level of satisfaction (81% agree or strongly agree) with how well the program is preparing them for their career. Students in the General Option express a high level of satisfaction (70% agree or strongly agree), while students in the Creative Writing Option a relatively low level of satisfaction (56% agree or strongly agree). These results are unsurprising, since the Creative Writing Option is the least "vocational" of the three undergraduate options.

7.7 Preparation for Present Employment

As noted earlier, no survey of alumni was conducted.

7.8 Use of Survey Information for Program Improvement

Concerns identified in the survey and the department’s responses are summarized below.

Class Availability

—The survey results confirm many of the conclusions stated in the department’s May 2007 presentation to the College of Arts and Letters (Appendix A), and in the department’s 2007-2012 Hiring Plan (Appendix P). Lack of full-time faculty has limited the department’s ability to respond to enrollment growth. The result, from the perspective of students, is not enough classes, schedule conflicts, and ultimately delayed graduation. In response, the department has sought to increase the number of full-time faculty.

Importance of Class Size—Both undergraduate and graduate students identified small class size as a valuable aspect of the program. At present, the department has attempted to maintain small class sizes for both its 400-level undergraduate major courses and its graduate seminars. The trend, however, is towards increased class sizes. As detailed in Appendix O, the department’s average undergraduate class size was the seventh highest amongst CSU English departments and 6% higher than the systemwide average for undergraduate English classes. The department’s average graduate class size was one of the highest amongst CSU English departments and more than 20% higher than the systemwide average for graduate English classes.

Advisement—As discussed in section 5.4, support for the department’s undergraduate advising has been reduced. The direct consequence is significantly greater work for the on-duty undergraduate advisor, longer wait times to see an adviser, and greater difficulty because of these changed circumstances in finding faculty willing to serve as advisors.

"Smart" Seminar Room—The department has also requested the upgrading of its seminar room to a "smart" classroom. At present no funding is available for such an upgrade.

Lack of "Benefit" Information for Graduate Students—The department is considering providing orientation sessions for incoming graduate students, and making information available to new students through the point-of-entry course (ENGL 501 or ENGL 502). Also a Graduate Student Handbook (Appendix S) has been developed and is currently under review by the department’s Graduate Studies Committee. The department had hoped to rely on the graduate advisor for additional marketing and assessment efforts, but these plans have been deferred because of lack of funding for graduate advisement.

8.0 Governance and Administration

The department programs are administered by the Chair, Associate Chair, Composition Coordinator, and Teaching Associate Coordinator, and it is governed through its standing committees: Policy, Graduate Studies, Undergraduate Studies, and Composition, all of which report and recommend to the Department. The Department meets regularly twice each quarter to conduct business. Tenured/tenure-track faculty members are recommended for appointment to all standing committees by the chair, with appointment subject to approval by the department’s Policy Committee. Tenured faculty members are regularly elected to serve on personnel committees at either the Department or College level. Part-time faculty are eligible to serve on the Composition Committee.

In addition, English Department faculty have been actively and significantly involved in committee service at the College and University levels. Department faculty have served on College- and University-level standing committees and on standing committees of the Academic Senate. 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. Within the department, faculty are needed to administer the composition program, which coordinates over fifty part-time instructors offering 250-300 classes per year that serve over 6,000 students. Faculty also train and supervise 10-15 Teaching Associates who are part of a highly effective teacher training program. Faculty serve as graduate, undergraduate, and credential program advisors, coordinate the CSU Graduate Student Conference, and Statement literary magazine, and maintain the department’s web site. These internal administrative demands are further exacerbated by external demands on department faculty to provide service and expertise to other areas on campus. For example, during the review period department faculty have been called to serve in the following positions: Director of the Writing Proficiency Examination, Interim Director of the University Writing Center, Interim Chair of the Department of History, Director of the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Faculty Director of Service Learning at CSULA, Director of the American Communities Program at CSULA, and Chair of Liberal Studies.

9.0 Resource Management

9.1 FTES, FTEF, and SFR Summaries (Appendix O)

Department FTES has increased relative to the university for both the undergraduate and graduate programs. In 2002, undergraduate FTES for English accounted for 6.5% of all undergraduate FTES. In 2006, undergraduate FTES for English accounted for 6.9% of all undergraduate FTES, a 7% increase. In 2002, graduate FTES for English accounted for 1.2% of all graduate FTES. In 2006, graduate FTES for English accounted for 2.2% of all graduate FTES, a 91% increase.

During the same time, department FTEF has decreased relative to the university for both the undergraduate and graduate programs. In 2002, undergraduate FTEF for English accounted for 7.7% of all undergraduate FTEF. In 2006 undergraduate FTEF for English accounted for 6.9% of all undergraduate FTEF, a 10% decrease.

The result has been a steady increase in SFR for the department. In 2002, the department’s cumulative SFR was 3% above that of the College of Arts and Letters and 8% below that of the university. In 2006, the department’s cumulative SFR was 22% above that of the College of Arts and Letters and 6% above that of the university. During this time, the university’s SFR has decreased by 8%, while the department’s has increased by 5%.

More significant is the department’s standing relative to other English departments in the CSU. As detailed in the supplement to Appendix O, the department’s SFR was the third highest amongst CSU English departments (only Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo were higher), 12% higher than the systemwide average for English departments, and greater than one standard deviation from the average. No recent comparison of graduate SFR is possible because APDB data for CSU graduate programs appears to be unreliable. The department’s average graduate SFR is higher than the systemwide average for graduate programs in English by approximately 13% and in the upper tertile.

For a more detailed analysis of enrollment trends and FTES, FTEF, and SFR for the department, see Appendix A, "Department Long Range Plan," Appendix O, "Analysis of FTES/FTEF/SFR for CSU English Departments," and Appendix P, "Department Hiring Plan."

9.2 Projected Faculty Needs

The department’s projected hiring needs are treated in detail in Appendix P, "Department Hiring Plan." That plan called for an ambitious hiring schedule to reverse a precipitous decline in the number of full-time faculty. The department’s present complement of 18 full-time faculty is significantly lower than its total of 27 in 2000, 23 in 2002, 22 in 2005, and even 21 in 2006. The department is conducting two searches in 2007-2008, but with additional retirements anticipated in the next five years, several additional searches will be necessary over the next five years.

9.3 Projected Facilities Needs

The department’s long-range plan (Appendix A) examines projected facilities needs in Section E: Space Utilization. Specifically, the department anticipates the need for additional faculty office space.

The department’s long-range plan (Appendix A) also examines projected equipment needs in Section F: Equipment Utilization. Specifically, the department anticipates the need for additional office and instructional technology, especially upgrading the department’s seminar room into a "smart" classroom.

9.4 External Funding

The department hopes to work with the university’s Office of Institutional Advancement to develop alternative funding sources. As noted earlier, however, for humanities programs the promise of external funding has always been slight. The difficulty of securing external funding coupled with the department’s declining number of full-time faculty have severely diminished the strategic utility of this option.

10.0 Department Recommendations

  1. Continue to hire quality tenure-track faculty consistent with Department needs.

  2. Provide support for advisement, assessment, program coordination, and outreach.

  3. Investigate revision of 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.

  4. Lower the average class size in writing courses.

  5. Continue to develop means to improve the quality of student writing and the ability to read closely.

  6. Continue efforts to recruit quality students to the program.

  7. Explore means for faculty to develop appropriate applications of technology in individual courses and in the program generally.

  8. Work to develop a stronger sense of community involving English majors and faculty in both the graduate and undergraduate programs.