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CSU taking action to help students get classes

  • October 18, 2013

By Claudia Pinter-Lucke

A recent story about bottleneck courses gave the impression that the Cal State University system is taking a scattershot approach to helping students graduate more efficiently.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

With the support of the CSU Chancellor’s Office, all 23 campuses are improving instruction, helping students take courses online, and regulating student enrollment to improve seat availability.

Cal Poly Pomona is actively dealing with bottleneck courses, particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. We offered two classes online to other CSU campuses this fall, and assisted our students in taking classes offered by Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State East Bay.

Our campus hosted 20 faculty from five CSU campuses this summer to share our proven technique to improve student achievement in physics.

Faculty in mathematics and engineering will spend this year implementing techniques in calculus and circuits that they learned from their peers at Cal State Fullerton and San Jose State.

Other faculty received grants from the Chancellor’s Office to develop techniques that show promise for greater student success in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.

We restrict repeats, limit double majors and minors to those that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time, and require intensive advising to students with an excessive number of units.

We employ a tiered system of registration to ensure that all students have the opportunity to get the minimum workload for financial aid.

Finally, with the help of our students, we are offering more sections of bottleneck classes. Using data collected from registration, students’ records and department surveys, more than 60 additional classes have been identified and funded through a fee approved by the student body last year.

Yes, bottleneck courses are a problem, but no one in the CSU is just sitting back and hoping the problem goes away.

Claudia Pinter-Lucke is the associate provost for academic programs and a professor of mathematics at Cal Poly Pomona.


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