The deans from all the individual colleges of Stanislaus State presented themselves to students and answered their pressing questions on November 16. These questions included those surrounding the transition back to in-person learning, Spring semester events, commuting to campus with children and other commitments, and equitable Stockton campus course offerings.
Dr. Oddmund Myhre, Dean of Education/Kinesiology and Social Work explained what it means to be a dean of a college, “as an opportunity to serve the university the best we can, while providing the courses that students need and make sure that they meet the quality standards that everyone deserves.”
Students’ Concerns Regarding Transition Away From Online Learning
Many of the questions students had were centered around the transition of online courses back to in-person and the restrictions on learning that happen when dual modality is not an option.
Jacob Brucker (junior, Social Sciences) posed the question of whether the deans were willing or able to expand more online options for classes that are severely impacted in the spring semester.
Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Jim Tuedio, answered sincerely that he understood students’ concerns surrounding the transition away from online learning, but that larger forces were at play.
“There are a lot of challenges that we to negotiate with on our accrediting body. The National Accreditation says, ‘You get over 50% of online pathways for a major and you have to have permission first from the accrediting body to offer the course in that mode’ and we didn’t have time to pull that together for spring,” Tueido explained.
Dean of the College of Science, Dr. Dave Evans, added to Tuedio’s comments, explaining that this moment in history is unlike any other.
“We are at an inflection point in higher education… we are trying to figure out what that right balance is [pertaining to online course offerings],” said Evans.
Status of In-person Events For Spring Semester
When asked a question on whether there would be more in-person university events, the Dean of Students, Dr. Heather Dunn Carlton responded, “<ost definitely… there will be many more events happening on campus, there’s a whole host of things planned for the spring [semester].”
Dunn Carlton’s position as the Dean of Students places her in a unique position where she acts as the “connector” between students and university.
New guidelines were approved on Tuesday for hosting an event on campus in the spring. Dunn Carlton maintained that this will allow student organizations, ASI, and the Student Center to have more liberty in their planning and hosting of events in the spring.
Student services including health services, counseling, and basic needs will continue to be offered in dual modalities with both online and in-person options in the spring because of the fact that many students have voiced their positive opinions to the university on having the option for either modality, according to Dunn Carlton.
New On-Campus Child Development Center Opening in Fall 2023
Students will have fewer online class registration options for the spring and this brings unique challenges for the one out of six Stanislaus State students who are also parents. With more classes in-person, these students will have to seek affordable childcare services to accommodate commuting to campus.
Evans emphasized the importance of having these childcare services available on-campus. The new child development center slated to be finished by the 2023 Fall semester will be able to accommodate “more than double” the capacity of the current building, according to Evans.
Evans said that the best way to have these childcare services be affordable for those who use them is to supplement the costs with an added student fee like most other CSU campuses have done.
Stockton Campus Representation
A student who wished to remain anonymous asked the Deans, “how can we get more Turlock class options offered at the Stockton campus?”
Dean of the Stanislaus Stockton campus, Dr. Faimous Harrison emphasized the importance of advocating for more equity for students on the Stockton campus.
“If there is a need, concern, want or question that any student has, it’s important to speak up because we will not know how to start to try to address those concerns until they are brought forward. I’m advocating for more classes here for our students at Stockton,” said Harrison.