CSU Directive on Low Degree-Conferring Programs

Dear Cal State East Bay colleagues,

I am writing today to provide you with information regarding the recent directive from the Chancellor’s Office concerning low degree-conferring programs. This directive applies to each and every CSU institution and is intended to streamline and simplify programs offered throughout the CSU System leading to greater relevance as well as potential cost savings over time. This directive was, in part, a result of the Chancellor’s Sustainable Financial Model Workgroup.

To reiterate, this is not a Cal State East Bay decision. It is a CSU System decision and directive. 

Student demand and workforce needs shift over time. Degree programs and concentrations tend to expand slowly and organically rather than systematically. The goal is for our university and the entire system to offer the most dynamic, responsive programs that today’s students seek and to do so within existing resources.

This directive consists of two major phases described below.

Phase 1—Fall 2023 Actions

Each year, we are required to update our Campus Academic Master Plan. Added to this year’s update is a requirement to review a list of low degree-conferring programs identified by the Chancellor's Office. An initial glance of the list reveals that there is some “clean up” to do. This is because some of the degree programs have been (or are in the process of being) identified for discontinuation. Dr. Rafael Hernandez will oversee this part of the process and we will share the revised list with you.

Second, we will complete our normal, Ten-Year Campus Academic Plan, (an example can be found here) submitted annually, that lists all existing and projected degree programs. Dr. Hernandez will oversee this process as well.

By January 5, 2024, the update to our Campus Master Plan is due to the Chancellor’s Office. From the list of low degree-conferring programs mentioned above, our submission is required to identify programs in need of action to improve. Additionally, we are required to identify metrics used to evaluate the programs. Interim Provost Kim Greer will oversee this part of the process and she and I will form a Task Force to guide the work. During the remainder of fall semester, we will share information on this process and provide opportunities for input from the campus community.

Initial evaluative criteria will include (subject to some additions and revisions as we work through the process):

  • Enrollment
  • Number of declared majors
  • Graduation rate
  • Net cost (enrollment revenue minus expense)
  • Documented regional workforce need and projected growth
  • Programmatic accreditation
  • Similar degrees at CSUEB
  • Same or similar degrees at nearby CSU campuses
  • General education/prerequisite contribution of department
  • Special circumstances/equity/other considerations

Phase 2—Spring 2024 Actions

By May 10, 2024, we are required to submit to the Chancellor’s Office the actions we will take with regard to low degree-confirming programs identified in Phase 1.

In full transparency, due to limited resources available to drastically revise or improve programs, it is possible that we will be required to discontinue some programs where demand is extremely low and is not predicted to change. We expect this to occur across the CSU System.

Spring semester 2024 will require an intensive and transparent process of evaluation and input to arrive at specific actions and timelines. This process will be led by Interim Provost Kim Greer and the Academic Affairs team. I will be directly involved as well.

Please expect continued communication, including access to relevant data, as we work through this process over the academic year. Please note students will remain at the center of any actions we will take. Regardless of where this process may lead, the small number of affected students will be able to finish their degrees in a timely fashion and/or will be offered a seamless means of transfer to a similar degree.

I know this directive will cause discomfort for valued members of our community. I apologize for that. You know I am not one to sugarcoat reality. In my mind, to be clear is to be kind. Please remember, this is a process. As we respond to our system requirements, our policies, regulations, contractual obligations, accreditation, and values will guide us. We will care for our community.

In the end, Cal State East Bay will remain a vibrant center for learning, community, and social mobility. We will continue to offer dynamic and relevant programs and opportunity for the students who depend on us.

Thank you for your engagement, 

Cathy Sandeen


October 31, 2023