Program Planning Committee Report to the Provost October 11, 2008

Program Planning Committee Report to the Provost
October 11, 2008
Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English and Comparative
Literature; Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
2005-2006 Cycle
The English and Comparative Literature Department is commended for its valuable function
within the College of Humanities and the Arts and the University. The Department of English
offers three degrees: the BA, and the MA in English Literature, and the MFA in English. Within
the BA, there is the Single-subject Preparation program and a Concentration in Career Writing.
Besides teaching its own majors, the Department is actively involved in teacher preparation and
is critical to the University’s General Education program because of its freshman and upper
division writing classes and other courses it offers in various lower and upper division G.E.
areas. The department also has public events and non-classroom activities that enrich the
University and the community. Faculty members in the Department are strong in teaching,
service, and research. The Visiting Writers and Scholars program and the Lurie Professorship
bring well-known and highly respected authors to the University
Some of the challenges faced by the Department of English and Comparative Literature in the
next five years include faculty workload issues, recruitment and retention of high quality faculty
(especially faculty from underrepresented groups), support for faculty research and travel, and
technology, and recruitment of undergraduate students into the major.
The Department of English and Comparative Literature has laid a good foundation for its
assessment activities, having not only developed student learning outcomes and assessment
plans, and collected data for all its programs, but also having made changes to the program based
on the data collected. The WASC team in their March 2007 visit encouraged all programs to put
greater focus on program (rather than course) assessment and use data (course and other sources)
to evaluate the achievement of program outcomes at graduation. Should the Department of
English and Comparative Literature need help with assessment activities, the Director of
Assessment and College Facilitators are available to provide suggestions and support. In
accordance with the 2006 Program Planning Guidelines, in the next program cycle, the self study
should include program assessment plans, the university assessment reports, and an evaluation of
the results of assessment efforts with particular attention to modifications that have been made to
improve student achievement of learning goals and outcomes.
The final step in the program planning process is a meeting with Provost Sigler (or her designee),
Bill Nance, Vice Provost for Academic Budgets and Planning, Bob Cooper, AVP of
Undergraduate Studies, Pam Stacks, AVP of Graduate Studies and Research, Dean Karl Toepfer,
and English and Comparative Literature Chair John Engell. The department should contact
Ryoko Goldston in the Office of Undergraduate Studies to schedule the final meeting. The
following topics of discussion are summarized from the reports:
 Strategies for retaining low enrollment caps in writing intensive courses
 Strategies for recruiting students into the major or into GE courses
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Resources for supplies and services to support Faculty scholarly activity, technology and
support of travel
Recruitment/retention of new faculty by providing release time
If the Department would like to propose other issues for the meeting, please discuss the
appropriateness of the topics with your Dean.
The Program Planning Committee recommends acceptance of the self-study. The self-study
provided a good examination of the issues for subsequent reviewers. The department should
note that the program planning guidelines were revised in 2006. The next program review for all
programs in the Department of English and Comparative Literature is scheduled for AY 20102011 with the self-study due in Spring 2010.
Program Planning Committee:
Debra Caires
Mary Calegari
Peter Chua
Elaine Collins
Bob Cooper
Mohamed Fayad
Beverly Grindstaff
Xiaolu Hu
Thuy Le
Quynh Lu
Bill Nance
Dan Perales
Lori Rodriguez
Jacqueline Snell
Pam Stacks
Gary Stebbins
Patricia Stroh
Ashwini Wagle
John Engell, Chair, English and Comparative Literature
Karl Toepfer, Dean, Humanities and the Arts
Mike Adams, Associate Dean, Humanities and the Arts
Beth Von Till, Chair, Curriculum and Research
Bob Cooper, AVP Undergraduate Studies
Pam Stacks, AVP Graduate Studies and Research
Bill Nance, Vice-Provost
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Appendix: Summary of Program Planning Report for Bachelor of
Arts, and Master of Arts, and Master of Fine Arts in English and
Comparative Literature
Self-Study -- AY 2006-2007 (Submitted December 15, 2006)
The English Department currently offers a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature, within
the B. A. there is one concentration, Career Writing. The Department also offers an English
Single-subject Preparation Program within the major. This option satisfies the 36 core units
needed to fulfill State requirements for English Single-subject Preparation Programs. In
addition to the subject matter preparation courses, the department also offers courses in Methods
of teaching English, Seminar in English Education for candidates completing their student
teaching and Supervision of Student Teachers in English. The Department offers four minors:
Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, and Professional and Technical Writing. Aligned with
the minor in Career Writing, the department also offers a Professional and Technical
Communication Certificate. The number of majors has declined from a high of 380 in Spring
2001 to 367 in Spring 2005.
The B.A requires 48 units including one year of university foreign language study. Students
choose three of five survey courses covering English, American and European literature. Upper
division courses include writing in the discipline (100W), a Shakespeare course and a Senior
Seminar capstone course. Students also have one “guided elective” and 12 units of free
electives. This is more rigorous than similar programs at Sacramento State (45 units), Sonoma
State (40 units), East Bay (38 units), and San Francisco State (39 units). The curriculum has
been extensively reviewed and revised during the last two program planning reviews.
The department has an extensive commitment to General Education (GE). Each semester the
department offers approximately 100 sections of English 1A and 1B. The department also offers
an additional four GE classes and five SJSU studies courses in areas S, V and Z.
The English Department offers an M.A. degree in English. Students must pass a six-hour, twopart written examination based on a comprehensive reading list. All students must demonstrate a
reading knowledge of a second language; most of the students take the entire 30-unit program
with graduate courses. An important feature of the M.A. is the Teaching Associate program.
Many of the students aim to become teachers at community college or university level. The
Teaching Associates are carefully chosen and well-supervised. The M.A. graduates
approximately 20+ students per year.
The English Department has offered a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, since 2001. The
M.A. students and M.F.A. students take many of the same courses so the two programs energize
and strengthen. For the M.F.A., students must complete a minimum of 48 units including 15
units of writing workshops and 15 units of literature seminars. Nine of the writing workshop
units are taken in the student’s primary genre: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction or
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scriptwriting; six units may be taken in a secondary genre. Students must pass a M.F.A.
comprehensive exam, complete a book-length thesis manuscript of literary merit and publishable
quality, publicly read from and defend the Thesis manuscript and demonstrate proficiency
through the intermediate level of a foreign language. The first M.F.A. students graduated in
Spring 2003. The program has graduated 22 students through Spring 2006 (5 to 6 graduates per
year). The program accepts between 10 and 15 new students per year and maintains stable
enrollment in the primary genres: 20 to 25 fiction writers; 12 to 20 poets; 4 to 8 creative
nonfiction writers; and 2 to 6 playwrights and/or screenwriters.
The department has two endowments that through the Center for Literary Arts bring
distinguished writers to SJSU for short residencies. As part of the Major Authors Series, visiting
writers give public readings, lectures and/or seminars.
Summary of Report
A. Centrality to Mission
The mission of the Department of English and Comparative Literature is to develop the reading
and writing skills, the interpretive ability, and the cultural awareness of its students through
strong teaching, good scholarship, and vigorous support of creative literary activity. The
department fulfills its mission through seven major departmental goals that encompass all of its
programs. In addition, the department has specific learning objectives for each of its programs
and an assessment plan for each objective.
B. Quality of Instruction
During the last program review (AY 2000-2001), the outside reviewer commended the
Department on the restructuring of its B.A and M.A. program, its introduction of a new M.F.A.
program and its committed faculty. At the time, the department had plans to design a new and
expanded Writing Center. The department has been unable to do that due to lack of resources.
(Subsequently, the University has opened a Writing Center).
Faculty Expertise and Contributions to the Academic Discipline
The English faculty is very engaged in their teaching, their research, and their collegial
obligations. Since the last review, faculty members have written or edited 30 books, have
contributed to 42 books (chapters, essays and sections), published 79 journal articles, 26 review
essays, 7 nonfiction essays 11 short stories, over a hundred poems, presented work at 225
conferences, and produced 6 digital media works.
The department has 30 part-time/temporary faculty, including 4 who have earned a M.F.A. and 8
who have earned a Ph.D. The have also published books, written articles, review essays and
poems. They have presented work at 42 conferences and given 12 public readings since the last
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Library resources
The department has worked with the library to obtain necessary collections of literature and
criticism of multicultural authors. The library has also collected material in a variety of formats
to support the teaching of English to native and non-native speakers. The library has regularly
provided instruction in Information Competence for targeted English courses so that lower
division (Engl 1B), upper division (Engl 100W), and graduate (Engl 201) students can acquire
research skills appropriate to the curriculum.
Both the library and the Department provide links to library resources on their Web pages. The
English department web page includes a master set of links to informational and research
Websites called “Literary Locales” that has received wide recognition, including a positive
review in The New York Times. It has received over 197,000 hits during this review.
However, despite all of these joint efforts by the library and the department, the book and
periodical budgets are too low so that the collection is inadequate for graduate and even
undergraduate upper-division student research. The faculty requires much more support for their
research including on-line searching capabilities that are not widely available or convenient.
Many faculty and students rely heavily on interlibrary loans that can be time-consuming and
Quality of Instruction
Each semester approximately 70% of all courses offered by the Department of English and
Comparative Literature are evaluated by students using SOTES. The department’s SOTE scores
are usually within or above the “norm”. Tenure-track and tenured Assistant and Associate
Professors are also reviewed annually by peer evaluations.
The Department has tried to increase the diversity of the faculty in the Recruitment process with
limited success. As of 2003, 59% of all SJSU tenure-track appointments were male, and 41%
were female. Figures for the College of Humanities and the Arts were almost identical: 58%
male, 42% female. The percentage in English was 61% male and 39% female. Since 2003, the
department has hired four women, and with the retirement of two men, the gender division for
Fall 2006 is 13 men and 13 women. In Fall 2003, 21% of all regular faculty in the College of
Humanities and the Arts were members of minority groups. In English, only 14% of the tenured
or tenure-track faculty were members of minority groups. Several factors have contributed to
this: the doctorate in English or Comparative Literature is not a popular choice among minority
graduate students. Also, competition for hiring minority faculty is intense, and the Department
has a substantial disadvantage due to low salaries together with teaching and service loads that
are as heavy as or heavier than the majority of other state university systems. The high cost of
living in the Bay area compounds these problems. The department has tried to vigorously recruit
minority candidates but the problem is further complicated by the modesty of the recruitment
budget. During their latest search, they were allocated on $1500 per position (as compared to
$5,000 at sister institutions like Sacramento State and California Polytechnic University, San
Luis Obispo).
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Expectations of Student Achievement
The Department of English and Comparative Literature has been a leader in the fight to hold
down grade inflation within the College and University. The lower division courses have and
average GPA of 2.65 GPA, and more than one half of the classes are graded A, B, C, no credit. .
(If students in the composition courses that receive “no credit” had instead received Ds and Fs,
the average would be ~2.30). The average GPA for the department’s upper division courses is
2.88. The Department’s GPA statistics are consistently below those of the College of
Humanities and the Arts.
Effective Student Advising
The English department has created “roadmaps” to guide majors in English, English with a
Concentration in Career Writing , and the English Subject-Matter Preparation Program. It has
also provided resources for a senior faculty member to be a “Lead Advisor”. The “Lead
Advisor” is responsible for knowing all the details of special requirements and transfer
agreements, is an advisor to other advisors, reserves at least six hours for advising appointments
per week, and approves each major’s official program. Two other faculty members also receive
release-time for advising and other program duties: 1) The Teacher Education Program has a
coordinator who holds regular advising office hours, tracks the work of undergraduates and
credential candidates, and maintains files. 2) The Career and Professional Writing Program has
a coordinator who advises and answers inquiries. The Department also has a Website that was
created and is maintained by a faculty member. The Website contains extensive information
about all programs and degree requirements, including course descriptions and Student learning
Goals. The Department also publishes an undergraduate Newsletter to inform students about
course offerings and descriptions as well as stories about events and personalities within the
A recent survey of majors indicated that 70% of current students agreed or strongly agreed that
“faculty advising was readily available and helpful.”
Student Outcomes Assessment
The Department of English and Comparative Literature has historically devoted considerable
attention to assessing student performance.
G.E. Program Assessment
The Department Composition and Curriculum Committees have developed course guidelines for
its two largest G.E. Courses, Engl 1A and Engl 1B. The two committees and peer evaluators for
the courses monitor green sheets to be sure that the guidelines are being followed. For more than
30 years, the Department has used preliminary, formative and summative assessment in these
Freshman composition courses. For preliminary assessment, all instructors start their courses
with an in-class diagnostic essay. Depending on the outcome, some students are assigned to the
departmental Writing Center (note: department no longer has a Writing Center). If level of
writing is too low for the course, usually due to ESL issues, they are referred to the Department
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of Linguistics and Language Development for remedial courses. For formative assessment, the
students are assigned eight to ten essays for a total of 8,000 words of in-class and out-of-class
writing. Each essay is evaluated for form and content, with emphasis on the quality of thinking
and writing. For summative assessment, the final exam of the course is administered by the
Department. Each student must take and pass the final exam in order to receive credit for the
course. The final is given on the last Saturday before the end of the semester. Each exam is
given a blindfold holistic reading by the entire composition faculty. (Each exam is read by two
readers and assigned a score from 0 to 6 with 6 indicating the highest level of performance based
on a grading rubric).
For Fall 2005, 1165 students took the Engl 1A final exam. Their exam scores were: 5% A,
29.6% B, 53% C, 25.4% D, and 0.9% F. Also, 938 students took the Engl 1B final exam. Their
exam scores were: 1.7% A, 16.6% B, 51% C, 25.4% D, and 5.1% F. The final exam score must
account for at least 20% of the final grade in the course.
B.A. Program Assessment
The Department of English and Comparative Literature has a set of Student Learning Goals that
are used by instructors of all major courses. As the students take the courses for the major, they
are asked to save papers, exams and course notes for the portfolio that they will submit in Engl
193, the capstone seminar course. The portfolio serves as the primary summative assessment
instrument for the B.A. degree.
The Portfolio is described in the green sheet for Engl 193: “Students will compile a portfolio of
written work from at least two other courses taken in the major; analyze and then significantly
revise one of those portfolio selections; write an introduction to the portfolio that comments on
its contents and reflects on the student’s experience within the major.”
The self-reflective essay uses the portfolio essays as a basis for the student’s assessment of their
education/experience in literary studies. The instructor assesses the quality of the student’s selfassessment and the choice of the collected essays. The portfolio is graded as a writing
assignment with similar standards for form and content as other writing assignments. In Fall
2005, the grade distribution for the 25 students in English 193 was:
A- (9); B+ (10); B (1); B- (2); INC (3)
M.A. Program Assessment
MA students are required to complete an approved program of 30 units with a grade point
average of 3.0 or better.
Complete English 201, Materials and Methods of Literary Research
Demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language
Pass the MA comprehensive exam (tests critical skills and knowledge of literary history,
literary theory, and rhetoric. Questions are framed by works on the M.A. Reading List). The
exam is given in two parts
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The Department has a draft of Outcomes for students in the Department of English and
Comparative Literature’s M.A. Program. The draft includes six outcomes together with the
method used for assessing that outcome.
Outcome 1. Students will demonstrate high-level proficiency in literary research and in the
synthesis of research.
Method of Assessment:
 Completion of Engl 201 (Materials and Methods of Literary Research).
 Research-based projects of 12-15 pages required in most graduate seminars.
 Graded Oral presentation of the results of research in most graduate seminars.
 A six-unit thesis which students may write as part of their 30-unit program.
Scores for M.A. Comprehensive Exam:
Spring 2005
Part 1: 14 of 15 passed (93%)
Part 2: 11 of 17 passed (65%)
Fall 2005
Part 1: 11 of 11 passed (100%)
Part 2: 12 of 15 passed (80%)
MFA in Creative Writing Assessment
The Department has developed three intended outcomes for students in the M.F.A. program
together with a Method for Assessing the Outcomes and criterion for success. Included is a
summary of assessment data for each outcome. Students must also pass the MFA
comprehensive exam.
Intended Outcome 1
Students will write a thesis in their primary genre of concentration which demonstrates writing of
a professional and publishable quality.
Method for Assessing Outcome 1 and Criterion for Success: Thesis defense and Creative
Writing Program Faculty Thesis Committee evaluation of the student’s work.
Summary of Assessment Data for Outcome 1: Seventeen theses have been produced by students
and accepted by the Creative Writing Faculty. Eleven in Fiction; Two in Nonfiction; Five in
Poetry; and One in Play/Screenwriting.
Statistics for MFA Comprehensive Exam: 23 students passed, two students failed exam on first
attempt, and one of them passed on the second try. (Exam can be taken three times).
Student Surveys
The Department conducted a survey of current students in Spring 2006. Surveys (400) were
distributed to undergraduate and graduate classes and 240 responses were received. There were
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17 questions in the survey. 55% of students were drawn to the major because of their interest in
literature and/or teaching. The remaining students were drawn to the major because of their
interest in creative or professional writing. In general the students mostly agreed that the major
allowed them to: move into a career, write and read critically and analytically, understand and
use rules of grammar, punctuation, syntax, and diction, have sufficient background for upperdivision courses, enhance their intellectual and aesthetic lives beyond their careers. Students
also mostly agreed that the major provided: effective faculty advising varied electives, free
exchange of ideas between faculty and students, opportunity to work with fellow students, fair
and appropriate grading and appropriate intellectual challenge and quality of work.
From the survey, some students also felt that they were not given enough opportunity to choose
electives, and some students had doubts about the Department’s ability to offer instruction in
many different kinds of writing and to expose students to information and literature from other
cultures and ethnic groups.
Based on students’ options regarding a culminating senior project or experience, most students
preferred a portfolio of work, and the Department has adapted this in their capstone course, Engl
193. The majority of the respondents (93%) indicated that they would recommend the major to
C. Student Demand
The department has put enrollment caps on courses based on the level of the course and the
subject matter. For major courses, survey and foundational courses are limited to 40 students,
while many upper division courses are limited to 30 or 35. Composition courses are capped at
25. The department is reluctant to raise the cap on courses because they think that the students
will not be well-served by larger course sections. This makes it difficult to meet FTES targets
and to be able to adjust faculty workloads. Very few undergraduate courses are run that are
under-enrolled. The number of students is sufficient to support the Major Program and the
demand for composition courses is very high.
The department’s annualized FTES for the five years of this study were: 786 (2000-2001), 812
(2001-2002), 905 (2002-2003), 815 (2003-2004) and 781 (2004-2005). About half of the FTES
come from the composition program. The number of majors reached a high of 380 in Spring
2003 and declined to 367 in Spring 2005. The Department has initiated a recruiting campaign to
reach local students and also students from Southern California. Initial results indicate that these
activities will increase the number of majors.
D. Societal Need
The B.A. teaches fundamental intellectual skills that are important for all individuals, i.e., critical
thinking, aesthetics, creativity, and communication, and also helps to develop responsible
citizens by providing knowledge about society. The English major serves as an excellent
preparation for many vocations, especially including teaching and professional writing and for
professional study in areas such as medicine and law. Alumni have been hired into jobs in
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private corporations and schools, public institutions, and nonprofit organizations. The placement
of students from the credential program into teaching jobs is 100%.
Current projections indicate that there will be an overwhelming need for teacher preparation in
the region. In addition to supporting the teacher preparation program, the Department also is
home to an important professional development program for Teachers: the San Jose Area
Writing Project. The program is an affiliate of the National Writing Project and California
Writing Project. The San Jose Area Writing Project is at the forefront of efforts to improve
teacher training throughout the public school system. Because of the importance of literacy to
education and public policy at all levels, teacher education is vital.
The Department also has a critical role in training the writers that work in Silicon Valley’s hightech businesses and nonprofit organizations. Through the B.A., Concentration in Career Writing,
many of the Department’s students now work in businesses such as Cisco Systems, Applied
Materials, Cadence, Impulse, Siemens, Compuware, Compaq, IBM, Mercury Business
Technology, Packeteer, Synopsys, Inreach, Hitachi and Lucent Technologies.
E. Financial Resource Effectiveness
The Department faces serious resource problems in every single area of endeavor. The
University provides no funding for a writing center for writing instruction needs of the
University population. Also, the Department of English and Composition has a large and very
expensive teacher education program with no specific support beyond salary allocations to teach
classes. Supervision of teachers is very important but very time-consuming. Faculty workload is
also a major issue. The majority of writing instruction is borne by two departments: English and
Comparative Literature and Linguistics and Language Development. Current funding does not
allow for the smaller class sizes required for writing instruction with its heavy grading burden.
Current classes have an enrollment cap of 25, but optimum would be 15 to 18. The Department
also thinks that University Service requirements are ever-escalating and represent a threat to
teaching effectiveness and the mental health of the faculty.
The faculty’s ability to maintain and increase their contributions to literary scholarship and
composition studies as well as career writing is severely limited by lack of computer technology
and support staff. Implementation of distance learning and online support activities for regular
courses has been slow due to lack of hardware, software and technical support.
Over the past five years the student faculty ratios for the Department of English and Comparative
Literature have held at 16.5 while the University’s average has increased from 17.34 to 19.73,
and the College of Humanities and the Arts has increased from 16.36 to 18.36. Maintaining the
lower student faculty ratio is due to the commitment of the Department to smaller classes,
especially in writing intensive classes.
Needs Summary:
Improved support for teacher education
Improved funding for faculty travel, scholarship, and research
Relief from excessive service requirements from the University
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Improved support for technology, including technical assistants
F. Interdependence of Programs
The Department of English and Comparative Literature provides a large number of general
education courses and required courses for single- and multiple-subject credential programs. In
addition to offering the two required Written Communication courses (Engl 1A and 1B) for the
entire campus, the department offers courses in Modern English, Children’s Literature, Ethnic
Literature, and other literatures for programs that prepare elementary school teachers. The
department also offers 30-units of core English courses for all other programs, such as Theatre
Arts or Communications Studies, that also prepare middle and high school teachers for the
English single-subject credential. Therefore, the English and Comparative Literature program is
highly interdependent and very important for the University’s total program.
The English M.A. program and M.F.A. program are largely independent of other programs with
the exception of some cross-listed courses with the Theatre Arts program in the department of
Radio, Television, Film and Theatre.
G. Capacity to Contribute to an Academic Field
In addition to the publications and conference presentations contributed by the faculty already
mentioned above, the Department sponsors several events and publications including:
Dorothy Wright Outstanding Teaching Awards Ceremony for Area secondary School Teachers
Annual Publication of Reed Magazine, a literary journal
Public Reading by current Lurie Professor of Creative Writing
Bi-monthly department Social hour/Tea
Twice a Semester: Faculty Lectures on Current Research with Potluck Dinner
San Jose Area Writing Project Workshops for Teachers
California Reading and Literature Project Workshops for Teachers
H. Availability of Instructional Alternatives
There are no instructional alternatives within the University for many of the General Education
and support courses offered by the Department. Within the immediate region, nearby institutions
Stanford and Santa Clara University also offer major, teacher preparation, and minors in English.
However within Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties, SJSU’s English
and Comparative Literature program is the only practical alternative for students of average and
below-average financial means.
For students seeking an M.A. in English, there are few alternative programs available locally.
UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and Stanford mostly limit their graduate work in English to their
Ph.D. programs. CSU Monterey Bay and Santa Clara University offer no graduate work in
English. San Jose State University is the only option in the South-Bay-Monterey Bay region for
students wishing to pursue an M.A. in English.
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I. Changes: Past and Future
During previous program planning cycles, the department of English and Comparative Literature
has done extensive revision of the B.A., allowing students limited choices within some areas,
while prescribing specific courses in others. The curriculum was constructed around studying
literature by periods and nationalities: American, British, European, and “World.” A Senior
Seminar was redesigned to function as a course in Literary Theory as well as a capstone course.
This curriculum provides graduates with a solid foundation in traditional literary studies. There
are still issues not addressed by the new curriculum including the need for more systematic study
of writing and language. The Critical Writing requirement was not adequately provided by
English 100W. Also, the Senior Seminar was not ideal. The assessment component of the
seminar was underdeveloped so little useful feedback was obtained on student performance. The
department spent time developing new guidelines with assessment of the major’s effectiveness as
a primary goal. As a result a set of Student learning goals was adopted. The major was
thoroughly reviewed based on these learning goals and a number of changes were planned for
implementation in Fall 2001. These included a redesigned Senior Seminar, a new course in
literary criticism set earlier in the curricular sequence, and the requirement of an additional
writing course beyond Engl 100W. The most important revision was to reduce the period and
nationality requirements to allow students to select from a wide variety of electives. This also
allowed students interested in creative or career writing to complete their concentration without
needing to take extra courses.
The department also made changes to their minor programs in writing and the Career Writing
Concentration, aligning the programs by revising and eliminating some courses shared by both.
The Department also compiled and adopted a comprehensive Policy manual in Fall 2000.
Program Plans for the Future
Faculty Recruitment
In the period from AY 2001-2002 to AY 2004-2005, tenured or tenure-track faculty have
decreased from 35 to 23 (includes two new hires). Some of the faculty are on loan to other
departments or hold administrative assignments so the actual number of tenured or tenure-track
faculty teaching full-time in the Department is 18. Only 30% of the faculty are tenure-track (23
of 77). Two searches have been proposed for the current recruitment cycle: one that specializes
in 18th-century British Literature and one that specializes in Creative Writing Fiction. Potential
future hiring needs are in Anglo-American Modern Literature, World and Comparative
Literature, Criticism and Literary Theory, Composition and Rhetoric Career and Creative
Objectives of the Department for the next five years
Develop student’s literary understanding and rhetorical and creative skills
Recruit and retain a diverse student and faculty population
Promote professional growth and development for faculty
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Improve the work environment for faculty, staff, and students
Improve community outreach
To meet goals, Department will:
 Recruit to maintain and improve diversity
 Work to strengthen its literature and writing programs
External Reviewer Report – May 17, 2007
Dr. Joseph Sawicki, Professor and Chair of English, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics at
CSU Fullerton visited the department on April 23-25, 2007. His overall impression was that the
Department was functioning well, the faculty was hard-working, effective and collegial, and
students were satisfied with their programs and the Department.
A. Curriculum
The Department of English and Comparative Literature has revised its undergraduate curriculum
during the past five years. Comments from the student surveys indicate that “some students felt
that they were not given ample opportunity to choose electives” and “respondents also had some
reservations about the Department’s ability to offer instruction in many different kinds of writing
and to expose students to information and literature representing other cultures and ethnic
groups”. The department does seem to offer many electives to students on a regular basis, but
maybe not as many for students in the Writing Concentration. The second comment is probably
due to the fact that the curriculum does have a clear Eurocentric emphasis. Also, the number of
units required for the major is at the high end of the range for CSU English Departments (36-48)
at 48 units.
The Department was able to establish an M.F.A. in creative writing, one of its goals from its
previous five year plan. The program is very successful even with competing programs in the
Bay Area. The M.A. program also is doing well as judged by student and faculty comments.
The M.A. program primarily allows for further education of high school teachers and also
prepares students to teach at community colleges or continue into doctoral programs. This is a
real service to the community. In both of the graduate programs, students take all of their
courses at the graduate level.
B. Enrollment
The FTES during the review period and the number of English majors has been fairly stable.
During most of those years, the FTES were below target. Recently, the Department has met its
target due to the transfer of 12 sections of 100W for Business Writing from the College of
C. Department Governance and Administrative Activities
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The Department has many committees, including a fairly prominent Curriculum Committee.
The reviewer was impressed “with the energy, commitment, and collegiality of the full-time
faculty participating.” Also, the department has a policy manual that is distributed to Faculty
and staff.
The department uses about 24 units per semester of re-assigned time for faculty to perform
administrative tasks: Graduate Adviser, Undergraduate Lead Adviser, M.F.A. Program
Coordinator, English Education Coordinator, Composition Coordinator, Career Writing
Coordinator, Curriculum Committee Chair, and Teaching Associate Advisor. This is
appropriate given the size of the English Department. English departments typically run a
number of complex programs that require significant demands of faculty time that needs to be
reflected in faculty workloads.
D. Faculty
Dr. Sawicki was very impressed with the accomplishments of the Faculty in teaching, service
and especially in scholarly and creative activity. There are currently 25 tenured or tenured-track
faculty, 25 lecturers and 10 teaching associates in the Department. In Fall 2007, there will be
four faculty in FERP, and two others have recently retired.
RTP decisions increasingly require probationary faculty to publish more extensively than in the
past. Newly hired faculty have difficulty meeting tenure and promotion requirements while
teaching a 12-unit load that can include four different preps. This problem is especially difficult
for English departments since faculty in English usually assign more papers and essay exams
than other disciplines. Therefore, the English faculty spends a substantial amount of time
grading student work which makes a 12-unit teaching load especially onerous.
The Department has been successful in hiring a number of women recently, making the ratio of
men to women about equal. The Department has tried, without much success, to hire members
of underrepresented groups. Most underrepresented candidates choose to accept other positions
that pay better, have lower teaching loads, and are more supportive of faculty scholarship.
Dr. Sawicki was also impressed with the Department’s Lurie Professorship, and the quality of
writers that have been brought to campus.
E. Student Issues
The Department of English and Comparative Literature has a senior faculty that is the “Lead
Advisor, and two other faculty also receive release time for advising students in the Teacher
Education program and students in the Career and Professional Writing program. The Lead
Advisor has at least 6 hours of appointment times per week and does all of the graduation degree
checks. Dr. Sawicki spoke with students in the department, and they were satisfied with the
academic and career advising that they had received. Students also were satisfied with the
department as a whole and indicated that the faculty were available and interested in students and
dedicated. His interactions with the students mirrored student comments from a majors survey
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conducted in Spring 2006. From the students surveyed, 70% responded that major advising was
easily available and helpful, and 93% responded that they would recommend the major to others.
Dr. Sawicki was impressed with the number of student cash awards that are given by the
F. Assessment
Dr. Sawicki was impressed with the assessment that the Department has set up. In particular, he
thought that the English 193, Capstone Seminar in Literature and Reflection, was an “innovative
approach to summative assessment.” In the course, the students create a portfolio that contains
six papers written in previous major courses they have taken. The students then reevaluate the
papers in light of the Department’s learning goals and their experience in the major and write an
introduction that reflects how well the previous papers and their experience have accomplished
the learning goals. Also, instructors are encouraged to list the Learning Goals in their
greensheets. The Department has a schedule for reviewing its courses regularly.
G. Support Services
The Department is allocated 3.5 staff positions, and also hires some student assistants. Dr.
Sawicki thought that was an appropriate number for the size of the Department. He also thought
the budget was similar to the budget his department has (his department has more FTES, 1186)
and so should be adequate. However, at his campus, purchase, repair and replacement of
computers is performed and paid for by central IT, so with those expenses borne by the
Department, the budget might not be adequate.
H. Summary and Recommendations
Dr. Sawicki thought that the Department of English and Comparative Literature was functioning
well. The students were satisfied with the programs and advising. The faculty have been very
productive, collegial and student-centered. The Department appears to operate efficiently and
effectively with an adequate budget. His opinion was that the major problem the Department
had was that it has insufficient undergraduate English majors to support the more expensive
graduate and credential programs.
1. Curriculum and Enrollment
Determine how to market itself more successfully to constituencies and to attract more
Consider reviewing the undergraduate major to make it more a appealing to the diverse
population in the bay area. Some suggestions:
 Reexamine number of units required for the degree
 Consider adding more modern literature courses to the required core of courses
 Consider adding electives that might appeal to students outside of the major related to the
demographics of the Bay Area (Asian or South American literature or environmental
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Consider increasing enrollment of non-major courses such as English 117, Film,
Literature, Culture or develop new courses for non-majors or working adults
 Consider offering more online courses
Continue to expand both graduate programs and the subject matter preparation program
Consider changes to web page to add more information about the department to better attract
potential students
Consider providing some release time for faculty involved in recruitment and outreach
2. Tenure-Track Recruitment
Try to provide reduced teaching loads for newly hired faculty to be more competitive in
recruiting the best faculty
3. Student Issues
Minor recommendation:
 Consider conducting another survey of alumni and possibly lower division GE students since
the lower-division GE students are a large portion of the Department’s teaching
4. Department Governance and Administrative Activities
Minor recommendation:
 Might want to consider reformatting Curriculum Committee into an Executive Committee to
address Departmental issues and a smaller Curriculum Committee for routine curricular
 Develop “job descriptions” for jobs related to administration of the Department’s various
writing programs that outline the duties and responsibilities of the faculty involved. This
might help the Dean better understand the need for re-assigned time for these positions.
Chair’s Response to External Review – May 24, 2007
The Department of English and Comparative Literature has no objections to the external
reviewer’s report. The Chair thinks that the Department may want to investigate many of the
reviewer’s recommendations.
College Committee – Received Feb. 13, 2008
The College Committee thinks that the Department of English and Comparative Literature
contributes to the mission of the University through its BA degree, its various minors in English,
its MA and MFA degrees and its teacher preparation. It also has a crucial role in the General
Education program at both the lower and upper division level. The College Committee praises
the expertise of the faculty and their teaching, service, and scholarly activity. The Committee is
particularly impressed with the high level of scholarly and creative activity. The Committee is
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pleased with the rigorous assessment that the English Department has used for many years and
indicates that their GE assessment of Freshman Composition courses and the uses of Portfolios
to assess the major could serve as models to be adapted for use by other departments within the
College. The College Committee commends the Department for their efforts to prevent grade
inflation in their lower division writing courses. The Committee also thinks highly of the
English Department’s Visiting Writers and Scholars Program brings many distinguished writers
to the University, providing enriched graduate experience for BA, MA and MFA students and
students and faculty from the entire University.
The College Committee agreed with many of the recommendations of the outside reviewer. The
Committee thought that the Department should continue to expand the MA and MFA programs
as well as the teacher preparation program. The Committee also thought that Department should
continue to recruit more majors.
The Committee notes that at the time of review, there was an urgent need for writing center to
support Freshman composition students that serves about 780 full-time equivalent students and
writing across the university. Since then a writing Center has been in the Academic Success
Center. The Committee concurs with other concerns expressed in the program review: lack of
funding for supplies and services, technology and support of travel.
College of Humanities and the Arts Dean’s Report
Dean Toepfer approves the recommendations of the External Reviewer and the College
Curriculum Committee and looks “forward to progress on implementing the recommendations
wherever possible.”
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