Tag Archives: graduation rates

New School, New Surroundings: Now What?

Every year CSUN welcomes thousands of freshmen. These first time students come from various backgrounds and different communities. According to the College Atlas, nationwide, at least 30 percent of these first time college students drop out after their first year.

CSUN students are required to take a class called University 100, which is a course dedicated to the freshman journey and preparing new college students for success.

“No one knows if they need the class or not, so I think it benefits everybody [to take it],” University 100 professor Dinah Nucum said.

Other groups guiding freshmen at CSUN include the Educational Opportunity Program, and the Office of Student Involvement and Development. They work with first-year students and first generation students, not only academically but socially.

The Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) designs, administers and supports programs that deliver access and retention services to students. EOP provides services to low income first generation students such as mentoring, student engagement, and financial support if necessary. They also offer a bridge program for incoming freshmen to help with the transition to campus life. The bridge program consists of a six week period during which students take classes at the university over the summer, before their first fall semester.

“EOP itself is a student initiative program,” Glenn Omatsu, CSUN Professor and EOP Faculty Mentor Program Coordinator said. “Students fought for this program. Many of the practices that we do actually have been engineered by students themselves. Our population is first generation college students, and they realized that students need to transition.”

“They don’t know what to expect from the university,” Gabrielle Danis, Program Coordinator in Student Involvement and Development, said.  “They haven’t been briefed by their parents, by their loved ones, by their guardians, about what it is to be at an institution. That’s what both of our programs really aim to do, is to help students transition, and make it a more comfortable environment for them: one that they can navigate; one that they feel confident in continuing their academic, social, and cultural success.”

With the help that these programs provide, Omatsu and Danis said they hope students ultimately become aware of the resources provided for them at CSUN and how to use them.

“It’s interesting,” Omatsu said, “because the university is set up in such a way that it tells the students what the resources are, but we found that we have to take an additional step with first generation college students, which is actually show students how to use the resource. Our mentors actually help the students within our community with understanding not only what the resource is, but how to use it as well.”

“That’s the mission of the CSUN mentorship program,” Danis said, “to assist students, and to retain them from the first to second year, because that’s where we see most of our drop-off unfortunately. We want to make sure that those students are as supported as possible, and we think that a lot of it could be that they just do not know how to use the resources here, or they don’t know what type of support systems are available to them. And just like Professor Omatsu said, it is our responsibility to teach them that.”

Moderator: Lauren Turner Dunn

Producer: Haley Spellman

Anchor: Cammeron Parrish

Social Media Editors: Jacob Gonzalez and Heatherann Wagner

Reporters: Jacob Gonzalez, Katherine Molina, Cammeron Parrish, Haley Spellman, Lauren Turner Dunn and Heatherann Wagner

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What the Number 1100 Means to CSUN

Since this summer’s announcement of Executive Order 1100, many CSUN students and faculty have expressed concern about how the order would affect them. In late September, the Faculty Senate and its Standing Committees voted not to participate, freezing any action by the Faculty toward implementing the order at least until the Senate’s October meeting.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White issued the Executive Order in an effort to help more students graduate more quickly. Current four-year graduation rates are at approximately 18 percent, and White said he hopes to double those rates by streamlining the CSU graduation requirements at some campuses. Students are currently required to take the Title V courses covering a variety of subjects, but some campuses, CSUN among them, have added requirements in comparative cross-cultural studies.

“At what price are we going to ease graduation rates?” CSUN English Professor Scott Andrews asked. “Being culturally competent in a diverse community, the way the United States is, is just as essential as that Title V education.” Andrews is a member of the 2016 Task Force on the Advancement of Ethnic Studies.

CSUN’s Section F requires students to pass six units in comparative cultural studies, which can include gender, race, class or ethnicity studies and foreign languages. Executive Order 1100 removes that requirement, a change many fear could also lead to lower student enrollment and cuts in faculty in many departments.

“It would be an incredible loss,” Gender and Women Studies Chair Breny Mendoza said. “Gender and Women Studies is a discipline that is already 50 years old, and I think in the CSU systems, there are only two Gender and Women Studies departments. We are … a powerhouse as a department.”

With the addition of a GWS department at California State University Los Angeles, there would be three in the CSU system. However, even with the addition, many other departments, like Chicano/a studies, Asian-American Studies and Queer Studies could be facing cuts.

“Some of the faculty said ‘no, we’re not going to do that, we’re not going to comply’,” Chicano/a Studies Department Chair Gabriel Gutierrez said.

Many students have also expressed their concern over the content of their education without Section F, when campus diversity and knowledge on multicultural perspectives is something CSUN prides itself on.

“I think it’s more important for the students … [to]… have to take these courses, so that they get exposed to things outside of their comfort zone, outside of their background, outside of their own familiarity,” Andrews said, “because that’s what living in a diverse culture is about. It’s about encountering people who are different from yourself.”

Moderator: Morgan Ball

Producer: Diego Girgado

Anchor: Joselynn Castro

Social Media Editors: Tyler Jones and Shannon Ozburn

Reporters: Morgan Ball, Joselynn Castro, Diego Girgado, Tyler Jones, Minerva Medrano and Shannon Ozburn

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