The university planned to approve a Bachelor of Arts diploma with a working title called University B.A. that would allow students to graduate without a specific major. The proposal was cancelled after administrators found it did not meet California State University (CSU) guidelines.
“The CSU Chancellor’s Office has declared that there can be no university degrees without majors in any of the CSU campuses,” said Hillary Hertzog, associate professor of elementary education.
In an Educational Policies Committee (EPC) meeting earlier in the semester, Cynthia Rawitch, associate vice president of Undergraduate Studies, pitched the University B.A. to the committee, saying that any student who has finished all university requirements without finishing a major would qualify for the degree. However, the final requirements were never set.
The purpose of the University B.A. was to help students graduate faster, which would then make more room for freshman or incoming transfer students, Rawitch said.
With the many issues the university is currently facing, some saw this proposal as a good idea to start pushing students to graduate faster.
“People who are incoming need to be balanced with the kids that are outgoing,” said Associate Dean of Humanities Elizabeth Adams. “There are students who are qualified to come to CSUN but can’t come here because we are at our capacity.”
With the University B.A. proposal derailed, students are being allowed the choice to switch to the general studies option in the Liberal Studies Program if they’re having trouble in other departments.
Michael Neubauer, director of the Liberal Studies Program, said this has been discussed with other advisers, and the advisers then make the judgment of whether or not a student qualifies to switch majors.
“Within liberal studies we have more flexibility,” Neubauer said. “Students that have a lot of units, when appropriate, are referred to liberal studies.”
Neubauer explained that his use of “appropriate” refers to those students that are not making progress in their major and have a high number of units.
“Maybe in liberal studies we can find a way to use your units and create a pathway for you to graduate sooner,” Neubauer said.
This semester, students are already transferring over to the Liberal Studies Program, and so far, business majors have the highest rate of transfer. The university sought out students with 130 units or more by way of letters.
“Starting the fifth week of (the) semester every student who has 130 or more units and has not applied for grad check will get a letter telling him or her that a hard hold has been put on their ability to register for spring classes,” Rawitch said.
They will then need to go to Admissions & Records and pay the $47 graduation fee, Rawitch said. An additional late fee of $10 is added to that amount.
Many students who do have 130 or more units are students who either switch their major late, take a double major or minor or are trying to boost their grade point average to apply for grad school, Adams said.
Now that the University B.A. is no longer happening, Rawitch is still planning other ways to get students to graduate faster. One of the issues that will continue to be discussed at EPC meetings is when students can no longer take up a double major or even a minor.
“We are working on majors and minors and possibly limiting on how many you can have,” Rawitch said.
For seniors that have a lot of units, they are seeing whether or not they could or should limit the number of majors or minors, she said.