College of Agriculture Associate Deans Mary Pederson and Mark Shelton asked the Academic Senate on Tuesday to support the resolution to rename the college. The proposed new name would be the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
In the end, the Senate supported the resolution 28-15-0. The resolution will move to Cal Poly’s president and provost who will make the final decision.
Conflicts arose between the members of the Senate concerning the use of the term “Environmental Sciences” and “Food” in the title.
With four other colleges teaching environmental sciences, many felt the term was misleading and too broad to include in the title. Biology professor Chris Kitts expressed the need for a trend toward more collaboration among the colleges when it comes to the term “environmental sciences.”
“This is a fair and rational case,” said Unny Menon, associate dean of the College of Engineering. “No one owns the term ‘environmental.’ We need to be open about this.”
Math professor Myron Hood looked at agriculture colleges throughout the country and asked why the term “food” was used instead of “food sciences.” Pederson responded that “food” was a broader term, and that food science majors deal more with health.
George Lewis, math professor, said he consulted some Cal Poly English professors on the use of “food” in the title. Those professors found it wasn’t proper English and was an example of faulty parallelism, or three items of the same thing.
“As an Academic Senate we should endorse proper English,” Lewis said.
“If a university does not promote proper language, then who will?”
Pederson and Shelton agreed to remove the comma after the word “food” in the title for amendment as part of the resolution. Pederson reiterated the fact that the purpose of the name change was to be inclusive of all the areas of study within the college and to modernize the term agriculture, as she felt most people did not fully understand the concepts included within the word.