College of San Mateo Language Arts Division Workplan

Language Arts Executive Summary
College of San Mateo
Language Arts Division Workplan
Executive Summary
The Language Arts Division at CSM is comprised of the following departments:
English (including Literature), ESL, Film, Foreign Language (ASL, Chinese, French,
German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish), Reading, and Speech Communication.
Overall, the division functions well with faculty from these diverse disciplines
working together in division meetings to prioritize faculty position requests and
instructional material and instructional equipment requests.
Creation of Language Arts Division Workplan
The division members are well aware of enrollment and budget concerns across the
college and within their departments in the Language Arts Division. All the
departments have addressed issues pertinent to them in their program reviews
submitted on March 25, 2009. ESL and Speech Communication have completed the
comprehensive Program Review and the other four departments—English, Film,
Foreign Language, and Reading—have completed the program review Annual
Update. It is from these program reviews that I have extracted the attached
Language Arts Division Workplan, in addition to adding several division-wide action
steps. I have asked point persons in each of the departments to review the division
workplan for accuracy. The Language Arts Division also has a number of centers
and labs; however, the program reviews for these areas are not due until August
2009 and, therefore, are not included in the division workplan; in the future they
will be.
State of the Language Arts Division
Based on the Core Program and Student Success Indicators for the Fall 2008 Cycle,
since 2005-06, the enrollment (duplicated headcount) in the division as a whole has
dropped by 6.2%, although there was a small increase in 2007-08 compared to
2006-07. The overall decrease is partially due to fewer classes offered in the
division since Spring 2008 because of cuts in the college budget. Although the
classes cut were those with low enrollment, the cuts nevertheless would account for
some reduction in headcount. This percent reduction in headcount is somewhat
higher than the reduction in enrollments for the college as a whole (3.6%).
However, because of the overall decrease in enrollment in these three years, the
linear projection indicates a continued decrease in headcount for the next three
years to 2010-11. We do not think that this projection is accurate for several
reasons: there is an expected increase in students coming to CSM in Fall 2009 when
UCs and CSUs will admit fewer students; faculty in a number of departments are
continuing to focus on outreach to potential students; and English faculty are again
Language Arts Executive Summary
strategically planning the literature offerings. There is also an increased awareness
in the division that under-enrolled classes will be cut.
The load for the division has varied over the last three years from 385 to 394 with
projected loads for the next three years remaining the same, slightly below 400.
This load is significantly below the college total load of 512 and the target load of
525. However, this is due to the number of courses within departments, such as
English, ESL, Reading, and Speech Communication that are capped below the
traditional 35 students. This is done for a variety of reasons, the most notable being
the intense nature of many of these courses. For example, English composition
courses are capped at 26 students, instead of 35, because of the demands required
in the process and grading of numerous lengthy essays. Speech Communication
courses are capped at 29 because of the time demands of giving speeches in the
Public Speaking course, requiring a class audience. In addition, many courses in
Reading, ESL, and English are basic skills courses. Although capped at 35, foreign
language courses are extremely demanding, requiring proficiency in listening,
speaking, reading, and writing, and because they are sequential, advanced levels
historically do not enroll 35 students in the third and fourth semesters. Also because
UCs and CSUs accept foreign language coursework at the high school level, transfer
students don’t necessarily need foreign language classes in college to transfer. In
fact, many students in foreign language classes, especially at the beginning levels,
take them for self enrichment.
For Fall 2008, four courses, three of which were advanced foreign language classes
and one was a specialized English course, enrolled fewer than 15 students. We have
since eliminated one of the foreign language courses as well as the English course,
and enrollment has increased to above 20 in the other two courses. Nineteen
courses were between 15 and 19 students, with most having an enrollment of 18
and 19. Eight of these courses are now enrolling more than 20 students, including
four courses at the Coastside campus; four have been removed; others are
undergoing minor modifications to increase enrollment.
Our retention rates (average 79.7%) are below the college’s average of 84.7% as is
the average division’s 62.7% success rate compared to the college’s 70.3%. These
lower retention and success rates are also reflected in the demographic variables
(among all ethnic groups, both genders, and all ages). These lower rates may be
attributable in part to the number of basic skills courses offered in the division
(Reading, English, and ESL). The division faculty members are committed to the
success of all our students, but many of the students in these courses have greater
challenges than the rest of our student population. Always concerned about student
success, faculty members in the Language Arts Division feel it is important to
support our centers and labs to assist our students in their academic progress.
Based on the statistics for 2007-08 (and consistent with the two prior years), the
Language Arts Division offers a greater number of transferable courses (66%)
compared to the college as a whole (59%), more degree applicable courses (13%) in
Language Arts Executive Summary
contrast to the college (7%), and a much higher number of basic skills courses
(20%) compared to the college (5%). This division has no vocational education
As delineated in the Core Program and Student Success Indicators for the Fall 2008
Cycle, the percent of full-time faculty in the Language Arts Division for 2007-08 is
55%, slightly higher than the college’s overall full-time faculty percentage of 51.
However, this statistic does not reveal the urgent need of full-time hires in the
division. Last year and this year, 6 full-time faculty in the division have left—4
retired, 1 left, and 1 move to an administrative position. In the next 1 – 1 ½ years,
there may be another four retirements. Some of these retirements have left and will
leave departments with no full-time faculty, and other departments will have
substantially fewer full-time faculty.
The number of faculty reassigned FTEF in the Language Arts Division is 21.15 of the
college’s total FTEF 35.71, indicating the large involvement of many faculty in this
division who contribute to many of the college-initiated activities. Fifty-nine percent
of the college’s FTEF is reassigned to faculty in this division. Because of budget cuts,
the number of reassigned FTEF has been reduced this year, thus increasing our
ability to generate revenue. However, the commitment to promoting valuable
college initiatives has existed and continues to exist in this division. As stated
above, what these statistics do not reveal is the need for more full-time faculty
members as many current full-time faculty members have or are considering
retiring, leaving fewer full-time faculty to carry the many extra duties and
worthwhile activities. As indicated in the English Department’s, ESL Department’s,
Speech Communication Department’s, and Foreign Language Department’s Program
Reviews, full-time faculty are needed. They are the core and spirit of the
departments and their desire to uphold the standards, teach students, and create
vibrant programs becomes increasingly difficult without sufficient permanent
Language Arts Division Workplan
Attached is the Language Arts Division Workplan.
Respectfully submitted,
Sandra Stefani Comerford
Dean, Language Arts Division
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