In a move that has confused faculty members and some students, the Cal Poly Orfalea College of Business is preparing to eliminate its international business concentration for students.
On Sept. 6, Dean Dave Christy informed faculty in an e-mail that he will ask school officials to tell first- and second-year students that the concentration is no longer available. Junior and senior students currently in the concentration will be allowed to complete it.
Faculty members voted to decide the concentration’s fate. Of the 55 people who were eligible to vote, 51 cast a ballot: 34 wanted the concentration closed and 17 wanted it to remain open.
“I am optimistic that this decision can open new possibilities for international and cross-cultural teaching and learning within the Orfalea College of Business,” Christy wrote to faculty.
It was the second such vote by faculty; the first occurred over the summer, but was deemed inconclusive. New Times reported on Sept. 15 that the concentration is the fourth most popular of 10 concentrations students can choose from. The decision to put international business on the chopping block brought protests from some faculty members and students, past and present, who feel the decision hasn’t been based on the merits of the program, but is a retaliatory maneuver among the college’s faculty and administration.
But the final nail’s not in yet. In his faculty-wide letter, Christy said he still must consult with the Senate Caucus Curriculum Committee on the shuttering.
One faculty member contacted by New Times, Michael Geringer, said some people have questioned the legitimacy of the balloting process.
A copy of the ballot obtained by New Times seems to indicate voting against the concentration would change nothing, but voting to retain it would create work and draw more school resources. See the ballot by clicking here.
“The decision has not been approved by the Academic Senate or the administration of the university,” Geringer said. “And typical guidelines are that the catalog will be honored for students who came [with that] catalog.”
Closing the concentration will ostensibly change nothing. Courses will continue to be offered, and no faculty members are slated to lose jobs. However, some people still argue that the school is unjustifiably pulling away from education for a global economy.