We begin by registering our grave concerns with the P&R process, including the criteria/data used and the timeline set for departmental and stakeholders' responses. However, we do agree that it is probably in the best interest of our department to be located, as a department, in an administrative unit, where new synergies can be created with faculty, whose interests in multiculturalism, women and gender studies, social justice, civil and human rights, service learning, international studies, interdisciplinary teaching, and innovative pedagogy, parallel our own.
While we welcome the opportunity to work with faculty in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, we want to make it clear that our viability and promise as a program will depend on more than the new synergies that these collaborations will create. Our agreement with the P&R proposal is based on the perceived opportunities for internal growth within our program's core, as well as the possibility for creating new synergies across program. Our argument for growth is based on the following observations made by the P&R committee: (1) the program grew at an above average rate compared to other programs on campus between 2000 and 2005 (the number of our majors (single and double)currently stands at 110, a significant increase from fall 05); (2)the program plays a major role in meeting the needs of other programs on campus through its GE and support courses; (3) the program contributes significantly to the Polytechnic mission and initiatives of the University; (4)the program supports substantial co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for students; (5) the program has many concentrations; and finally (6) the cost of the program is less that the University's norm.
We agree that the program is small, given the role it plays on this campus. Each of our specialty areas (African American, Asian American, Chicano/Latino, Native American, and Women/Gender Studies) ecompasses a wide interdisciplinary and intellectual history, yet we find each area staffed only by one or two tenure-track or tenured professors. We do not think that "small program" and "viablity" are necessarily correlated, as suggested by the P&R report. The prediction of viability should be based on variables such as need, demand, committed faculty, and the availability of resources to make growth happen. A "critical mass" of faculty needs to be built within the program itself in order to maintain the integrity of each concentration, as well as to engage in the interdisciplinary, intercultural, and comparative work, which makes our department so unique. We also need to develop our GEMS pre-credential program for students interested in becoming elementary school teachers in California's diverse classrooms. Other areas for development are new concentrations in emerging U.S. ethnic formations, as well as an interdisciplinary M.A. program in Ethnic and Gender/Women Studies. The latter is an area where the department could benefit greatly from possible new synergies created by the department's re-location.
Our program now has a fully developed assessment plan. We hosted external reviewers in May 2007, who gave very positive feedback on our plan and the important role the department plays on campus. Among their recommendations was one to "increase the number of faculty in concentration areas to strengthen concentrations and other growth areas". While the "stable funding" recommendation may be reasonable, we strongly feel that if our program and majors are to grow, we will need enhanced funding. We anticipate that our close ties with Education will continue and we intend to work closely with them in the prepartion of teachers at both elementary and high school levels. However, we do agree that the move to a new administrative unit would offer us the best opportunity for growth and creative development in ways not possible at present.