Monthly Archives: August 2017

EO1100: Update

It appears we have an agreement with the Chancellor’s Office (the CO) which averts the crisis facing the ethnic studies departments, gender and women’s studies, queer studies, and other departments with heavy enrollment in area F of GE.

It looks like we will be able to come into compliance with EO1100 by removing F without harming departments/programs with heavy enrollment in it. It looks like we can do this without diluting FTES in departments who teach in areas C (Arts and Humanities) and D (Social Science).

However, nothing is a done deal until it has been passed by the Senate and signed by President Harrison. It will take a great deal of effort to make sure this works. But I’m cautiously breathing a small sigh of relief over what would’ve been catastrophic implications of EO1100’s proscription of section F.

That relief cannot last for long. EO1100’s prescriptions in area E (lifelong learning) still look likely to do terrible, though probably not existential, damage to many departments across the university. HHD seems likely to be hardest hit.

The danger has not passed. A patchy or incoherent curriculum harms our students. I cannot believe that is what the Legislature intends for us to provide. Yet it is what EO1100 still threatens. I know we will rise to the challenge; if only because we must.

Before we jump into the next challenge, I want to acknowledge that the agreement over F is the result of an extraordinary effort by many people at CSUN and their allies.

To their credit as leaders, Chancellor Tim White and Executive Vice Chancellor Loren Blanchard were willing to change their minds and pursue a solution. They worked closely with President Dianne Harrison, Provost Yi Li, and AVP Elizabeth Adams to hash out an agreement based in part on an idea suggested by Sheena Mahotra (Gender & Women’s Studies) and Scott Andrews (American Indian Studies).

Until yesterday, there was no indication that we would receive any accommodation from the CO. When EO1100 was issued, the CO knew the effects on our programs. They calculated that the benefits of easily transferring between campuses outweighed the harms. Thus a great deal of the credit for changing their calculus must go to activism by faculty, administrators and staff, students, and allies.

This debacle has revealed a clear path for protecting ethnic studies, gender and women’s studies, queer studies, and similar programs across the entire CSU:

Convince legislators the Board of Trustees to include CSUN’s GE section F (Comparative Cultural Studies/Gender, Race, Class, and Ethnicity Studies, and Foreign Languages) in Title 5.

CSUN’s successful experience with redistributing units from other areas of GE shows that this can be done without increasing the total unit load. Let us be the laboratory of the State.

Here, for posterity, is how we’ve been doing it: General Education


Important update: In the original post I recommended convincing the legislature about changing Title 5. I’ve since learned that Title 5 is Trustees policy. It is thus administrative law, not the sort made by the legislature. Legislators can be our allies. But they are not the people who would have to be convinced. Sorry for the error.

Update from the Provost on EO1100

Here is an email from Provost Li which clearly and accurately sets out the situation EO1100 has put us in.

Dear Faculty and Extended Cabinet,

On August 23, the Chancellor’s Office issued Executive Order 1100 relating to the CSU General Education Breadth requirements.  This policy supersedes the E.O. issued in 2015 with the goal of clarifying requirements; ensuring equitable opportunity for student success; and to streamline graduation requirements.   In the most simple terms, this E.O. regulates the content (units and subject areas) across the system to ensure transferability of GE courses from one campus to another.  To accomplish this, the E.O. is quite prescriptive about what sections GE may include and how many units each section will contain.

These changes, however, put CSUN into a uniquely challenging position.  We’ve always had an additional section of G.E., Comparative Cross-Cultural Studies (or section “F”) that supports the campus commitment to inclusive and interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge.  Our ethnic studies, gender and women’s studies, and cultural studies departments and programs feature prominently in our offerings in this section.

Under the E.O. we cannot maintain a separate section “F” and be in compliance with this E.O. or Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.  We need to create a new plan to maintain CSUN’s commitment to ethnic, gender, and cultural studies while also coming into alignment with the system requirements.  This will take all of us to accomplish.  One possibility is an “overlay” structure where current “F” courses are moved into the appropriate extant G.E. section (some might go in “D” social sciences; some might go in “C” arts and humanities).  CSUN could require students to take 6 units in courses certified as meeting a diversity requirement within the other sections of G.E.

We are working with our faculty senate and the chancellor’s office on potential solutions that will meet the E.O. and maintain CSUN’s commitment to serve our students and region with courses that develop the knowledge and competencies need by well-educated CSUN graduates who will live in and serve our communities.  We are working very hard to maintain our commitment to cultural competency in our curriculum and comply with the intent and the requirements of the E.O.

The new E.O. is not what anyone at CSUN wanted.  When President Harrison received a draft version of the E.O., she provided swift and immediate feedback indicating the challenge at CSUN.  I did the same thing when I received the draft.  President Harrison additionally advocated for CSUN’s model and values in person, and asked for more time to make the changes, should they become necessary.

Again, let me restate our unwavering commitment to educating our students in all the ways that are necessary for them to understand the current world.  We need to work together to do what’s required of us and best for our students in moving forward.  I ask for your help.

Yi Li

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

My days have been consumed by EO1100. Thus I can attest to the unwavering commitment and passion with which President Harrison and Provost Li have been fighting to protect CSUN’s programs.

EO1100: Alternatives

We will probably need to be able to offer alternatives to the revised EO1100.

Update: Our task in (2) will be helped if we can proffer potential compromises which promote the CO’s desire for uniformity. I will try to capture these here:

For example, the CSU Ethnic Studies Task Force acknowledged CSUN’s leadership in institutionalizing support for ethnic studies. Thus a plausible alternative would build CSUN’s model into the systemwide requirements.


Executive Order 1100: Not just us

I circulated the earlier post on Executive Order 1100 to my statewide colleagues. I’ll be cataloging some of the impacts they are feeling on their campuses here.

Please keep in mind that campuses are all getting our heads around the implications —today seems filled with emergency meetings with Provosts. I will update these as things change

CSU Monterrey Bay

At CSUMB, faculty are shocked and dismayed at the implications of the EO1100 revisions – most of our queer studies, women’s studies, cultural studies courses will be cut, since they are 4 unit classes.

Lecturers and dept chairs have asked me what this means for our curricula and for their workloads – and for our underrepresented students, most of all.

Just one example:
One lecturer, who teaches most of our queer studies classes, has informed me his 4-unit GE classes will now be downsized to 3 units, and he will lose nearly half his workload, since there are no other classes available to fulfill his 3-year entitlement.

Not only this, but he will be tasked with the unpaid work (no small task) of redesigning his curricula for the new 3-unit GE classes. In short: a significant loss of work (and salary) in tandem with a concomitant workload increase (unpaid) in course reconfiguration.


Fresno State has the same problem. We required 3 additional upper level units on diversity and multiculturalism, and those have now been effectively abolished. Even our administration here did not seem to know this was coming. Wild.

Basically everyone else

The imposed timeline is highly problematic if not impossible. At several campuses, high priority curricular reforms, program development, and student success initiatives will take a backseat to complying with EO1100.

Executive Order 1100 undermines cultural competency education at CSUN

The Chancellors Office has ordered changes to general education which eviscerate ethnic studies, gender and women’s studies, queer studies, and others at CSUN.

In an attempt to standardize general education across the CSU and prevent students who transfer between campuses from having to take extra units, Loren Blanchard has mandated changes in how many units may be in each area of GE (and the distribution of units between upper and lower division). This will harm our students and have far reaching effects on our curriculum. One of the most egregious is that while CSUN has been unique in the CSU by requiring cultural studies as part of GE (part F) for ~12 years, that is no longer allowed.

I will use this space for further explanations and updates. There will likely be many. I expect that Executive Order 1100 will eat up all the time, energy, and goodwill that would’ve been devoted to the Graduation Initiative 2025.

For now, we have three tasks before us:

(1) Figuring out how to minimize the harm in implementing this travesty

(2) Fighting political battles to have the order reversed or revised.

(3) Ensuring that Chancellor Timothy White, Executive Vice Chancellor Loren Blanchard, and Strategist James T. Minor never escape the stain of the losses they have inflicted on the future students of CSUN, their communities, and their employers.

In service of (3), let me close by sharing the brief note I sent to Loren Blanchard last night.

To: Loren Blanchard, Executive Vice Chancellor
CC: Tim White, Chancellor

Dear Loren,

The revisions to EO 1100 eviscerate CSUN’s ethnic studies departments.

I leave it to my administrative colleagues to demonstrate this.

After working throughout the day to understand the implications and the options, I am embarrassed that I can contribute only what, through the shock, is, I suppose, a broken heart.

I will do my utmost to stanch the bleeding. But please know that my task is to find a way to preserve within an already crowded structure that which was won inch by inch.

Thank you,


Adam Swenson, Ph.D.
Faculty President



Update: I will try to keep track of what I hear from other campuses here:

Update [30 August]: It appears President Harrison and Provost Li have worked out an agreement with the Chancellor’s Office which remedies the horrible implications of EO1100 for the affected departments.


As you’ve probably heard, the CSU has tired of waiting for K-12* to give us college-ready students and has decided to do something bold:

LJB to Presidents cover memo EO

1110EO 1110 Academic Preparation

If you don’t feel like reading / listening to interviews with CO folks about this, here are the answers they will find ways to give to any question**:


There are a ton of good commentaries floating around. Here’s one which makes several excellent points (and some bad ones) from the San Diego Union Tribune

Indeed, this paragraph at the end could’ve been written by pretty much any ASCSU Senator:

All this means there are reasons for optimism about CSU’s gamble. But it could just as easily put the nation’s largest four-year university system — with 23 campuses and 470,000-plus students — on the road toward the mindset seen in some California school districts, which put more emphasis on graduation rates than on having a high-school degree being a genuine accomplishment. That would be a painful irony — CSU adopting the public-relations-first tactics of California public schools in response to problems partly caused by such tactics.

This must not happen.

For my own part, I’ll just say that it’s nice to hear our friends at the Chancellor’s Office express such confidence in the magic-working powers of CSU faculty. To be sure, if anyone can figure out how to get students ready for the curriculum they are taking as they take it, CSU math and writing faculty can.

It has, however, been a long time since magic has been fully funded….


* I guess we’ve also given up on reminding the state that this was supposed to be the community colleges’ job.

** FWIW, I don’t mean that as a complaint. I’m open to the possibility that the norms guiding mass communication are not the same as the norms guiding conversations (e.g., in a face-to-face conversation, you are a jerk if you ignore your interlocutor’s questions; we shouldn’t make the same judgment about the character of the interviewee who stays on message).