College of the Redwoods adds degrees in social justice, environmental science

(Times-Standard file)
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From a College of the Redwoods release:

College of the Redwoods (CR) recently approved the development of three new degree pathways for students in Social Justice, Environmental Science, and Social Work and Human Services.

CR President, Dr. Keith Flamer states, “these three new degrees help College of the Redwoods expand our curriculum into high-demand fields, support our local community and allow us to maintain the quality of our other academic programs. These new degrees also represent our commitment to improve the institutional alignment between College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University to support our students in achieving their educational goals.”

The focus of the Social Justice Associate of Science Degree for Transfer (AST) is equity and diversity and will prepare students for transfer into Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, Social Justice Studies, and related majors in the California State University (CSU) system.

Humboldt State University (HSU) professor, Kimberly Berry, who also chairs the Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies (CRGS) program, shared that she was delighted that CR will offer this new degree, stating, “this A.A. degree is an excellent preparation for our CRGS major, and students entering with this course of study will easily be able to graduate in 4 semesters.”

The Environmental Science AST is linked to the local natural resources industry in Humboldt County and will add to the existing AST degrees in Biology, Geology, Mathematics, and Physics to provide students with a variety of STEM-related transfer major options recognized by the CSU system.

HSU’s Environmental Science degree is somewhat different from other CSUs; therefore, to ensure students are on the correct academic path, CR will develop a two-pronged advising plan for students pursuing environmental sciences at HSU and students intending on transferring to other CSUs.

The Social Work and Human Services Associate of Science Degree (AS) has a local focus, and will be developed to directly align with HSU’s Social Work degree. CR professor, Philip Mancus, explains “the degree developed due to a need for a clear pathway to HSU for those students who are interested in becoming social workers. Prior to this degree, students have to take more indirect pathways to social work, such as sociology, psychology, or addiction studies, and they could still be left with lower division coursework once they got to HSU. Now the transition will be direct.”

The development of any new program at CR is a long process that begins when the President, on the recommendation of the administration, faculty, or the Academic Senate Presidents, submits a New Program Proposal to the college’s Program Viability Committee (PVC), which, per the college’s Administrative Procedures, “is tasked with reviewing data and making recommendations relevant to the initiation, revitalization, suspension, or discontinuance of an instructional program.” The committee then gathers information from the relevant faculty and community members, compiles a report, and then makes a decision based on that report.

Although the PVC approved these three new degrees, they still need to secure approval through the college’s curriculum process and through the Community College Chancellor’s Office. CR anticipates these programs to be available to students by Fall of 2020.

President Flamer appreciates the work the PVC has done to create these new pathways to HSU and beyond, saying, “I would like to thank current members Vice President Angelina Hill and Senate Co-President Michael Dennis, Dean George Potamianos, Director Rory Johnson, and faculty members Chris Gaines, John Johnston, Jon Pedicino, and Shannon Sullivan, as well as past members Peter Blakemore and Roberta Farrar for serving on the PVC and for their work, foresight, and strong support for student success and achievement.”

HSU’s new president Dr. Tom Jackson also supports these new degrees, adding, “Congratulations to our friends and partners at College of the Redwoods. Both CR and Humboldt State University are working closely together to provide more opportunities for students in this region. The new programs in Environmental Science, Social Justice, and Social Work will provide CR students a wonderful foundation when they are ready to transfer to HSU upon completing their CR degree.”

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