ACADEMIC SENATE: SAN DIEGO DIVISION
October 26, 1999
COMMITTEE ON EXTENDED STUDIES AND PUBLIC SERVICE
The Committee on Extended Studies met three times in the current academic year.
The committee agreed that the issues pertaining to the Post-Baccalaureate degrees and programs, a topic viewed with some ambivalence by the Senate (including the University-wide committees) would be its main focus for this year.
The committee enjoyed a detailed discussion of University Extension by Dean Mary Walshok, as well as a thorough presentation by Director Connolly. The latter was followed by a careful discussion of the many issues raised by the creation of a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) degree at the University of California. The offering of this new degree was endorsed by the Academic Senate in July, 1998.
Director Connolly reviewed the basic ideas behind the MAS, emphasizing the broad base of the concept, the desired interdisciplinary nature of the offerings, and the career-oriented character of the MAS. This means that the University Extension is in a unique position to play an important role in this context. From the point of view of the Senate, a fundamental question raised in discussions has to do with the desire of UNEX students to attend courses offered at UCSD because of the intrinsic presumption of educational quality and the credibility attached to the UCSD label.
Director Connolly reviewed a comparative study of the Harvard Master of Liberal Arts (ALM), the Johns Hopkins Multiple Post-Baccalaureate Options program, and the Stanford Professional Graduate Degree Program. Each program has unique characteristics, designed to attract professionals desirous to augment their educational background. The committee discussed at some length the differences in style between such offerings and the "standard" courses offered to students admitted to the University after high school graduation or as transfer students. Although these differences can be cast superficially in terms of labels (e.g. "academic" vs. "training"), the committee recognizes that differences reach deeper than mere labels. In particular, the student populations are fundamentally different, the UNEX students being often working adults, who are strongly motivated by their own career goals, instead of desiring a general education.
For example, as described by Director Connolly, an important and growing segment of the student population with an interest in the MAS includes K-12 teachers who desire a stronger background in "Environmental Science". This particular topic is perceived as "non-threatening" insofar as it touches on science, but can conceivably be covered without severe requirements in Math, Physics and Chemistry. In counterpoint, given the rapidly growing interest in environment sciences at UCSD and elsewhere, this specific example raises the question of whether an MAS in this discipline, offered primarily through UNEX, would be comparable with a UC Masterís degree offered through the traditional channels. Given the fact that both degrees would enjoy the imprimatur of the University of California, the comparison is not a trivial one.
It should be noted that the concept of a MAS degree requires that the degree be awarded under the aegis of a campus department. Logically, this means that course credits towards a MAS and a standard Masterís degree should overlap to a substantial extent; that classes offered on campus or through UNEX will likely apply to either or both types of degrees to a larger extent than in the past; and that campus faculty will likely have to engage in a closer relationship with UNEX, including both the teaching of extension classes by department faculty and the admission of extension students in campus classes. This raises a number of secondary issues, such as crediting the faculty for teaching MAS classes through UNEX, or conversely, allowing UNEX instructors to teach or co-teach campus classes. In addition, since UNEX is a self-supporting endeavor, budgetary issues arise: for instance, should income generated by a successful MAS class taught by a campus faculty member be shared by the faculty or by his/her home department?
The Committee reached the following general conclusions:
The Extended Studies Committee recommends that these issues be addressed in the context of a pilot program, focused on a discipline where demand is already demonstrably high, so that quality control through the filtering of applicants is relatively straightforward. A good candidate area is Engineering, where such offerings are quite common nationwide, and where UCSD is well equipped to experiment with a MAS. The Committee recommends that the School of Engineering implement such a pilot program, in cooperation with the University Extension, and offer a MAS degree on an experimental basis so the Senate Committees can evaluate the effectiveness of this approach and the quality of the degree.
Stephan M. Haggard
Harold K. Ticho
Mary L. Walshok
Patricia A. Rincon, Vice Chair
Jean-Bernard Minster, Chair