NRM houses two other majors: forestry and national resources, accredited by the Society of American Foresters and environmental management and protection. In addition, the NRM department has two graduate programs and manages Swanton Pacific Ranch.
“This is a huge move and we’re really excited about it. Both new and prospective students will be able to know where we’re located, ask questions and have access to us,” Goldenberg said.
RPTA is an impacted major with over 300 undergraduate students and accounts for nearly half of the NRM student population, CAFES dean David Wehner said.
“There is really no change to anything that effects students. They will still apply for the RPTA major, only the administrative home will be its own department rather than in the NRM department,” Wehner said.
“It will be in the same area with faculty in the same offices,” Wehner said. “It isn’t that big of a proposition because one of the faculty members will go from working a nine-month appointment to a 12-month appointment. It doesn’t cost very much to do that,” he said.
“It’s been a strong, wonderful partnership. We look at it as an opportunity to take the different entities now, that were good to begin with and make them even better,” Piirto said. “It gives RPTA greater voice and direct connection to the dean of the college,” he said.
This year, the proposal by RPTA to become an individual department went to the dean, the provost, the academic senate and the president and was approved at all levels.
Goldenberg said that the program will now have a more pronounced status, which she said could catch the attention of perspective donors and individuals who want to contribute to RPTA, as well as recruitment from high schools and Cal Poly students.
“It’s good for students to be aware that we exist,” Goldenberg said.
“I think it will be really great for the students to have an identity that they can understand as a part of a department.”