Cal Poly’s College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts’ liberal studies major will combine with the College of Science and Mathematics later this year. The move plans to improve the state of Cal Poly’s finances and help the school produce more qualified K-12 science and math teachers.
College of Science and Mathematics Dean Phillip Bailey said that even though the American economy is technology-driven, there are not enough graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to skillfully teach students. This could result in the United States lagging behind other countries in technological innovation.
“There is a nationwide shortage of science and math teachers and many that are teaching are not qualified or credentialed completely,” he said.
Bailey said that the vision of combining the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts’ liberal studies program with the College of Science and Mathematics is to place all of the contributors for producing science and math teachers into one college.
“Agriculture, architecture and engineering are all science and math oriented, that is the strength and foundation of a polytechnic university. We will specialize in producing teachers who are experts at all levels and comfortable with science and mathematics,” Bailey said.
The College of Education is the only post-baccalaureate/graduate college of the seven at Cal Poly to rely on other colleges for content. There are a total of 234 students enrolled this quarter, making it the smallest college with a $3 million budget.
The College of Education has programs for multiple subject candidates (elementary school teachers), single subject candidates (junior high and high school teachers), special education, counseling and guidance, educational leadership and administration (preparing principles and other school administrators) and a joint doctoral program with UCSB. These programs will continue when the College of Education is considered a school in the College of Science and Mathematics.
The College of Science and Mathematics has a $26 million budget and is the largest college, with a total of 1,861 undergraduate students and 67 post-baccalaureate/graduate students. The college has six departments: biology, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, physics and kinesiology.
According to Associate Dean of the College of Education Glen Casey, the state funds universities based on student credit units or enrollment statistics. This works well for undergraduate programs with larger classes, but it doesn’t work for small graduate programs that are more expensive.
“What we have the opportunity to do now in becoming a school in the College of Science and Mathematics is work within the system and overtly link those connections for our elementary school teachers,” Casey said. “It gives us a new start and a different look at how we might be able to better offer our candidates the kind of education that they will be paying for and the kind of programs that they deserve.”
The move will be purely administrative; staff, faculty and buildings will remain intact. The plan will take effect after July 1 of the new fiscal year.