SGA presents plans for academic improvement

by Shafaq Patel / Beacon Correspondent • April 20, 2017

The Student Government Association approved an initiative that calls for improvements in the college’s academic departments and changes across the campus that would help the students. 

SGA compiles an academic initiative every year that it sends to department chairs and other faculty members, Gregory Massimino-Garcia, communication disorders and sciences senator, said in an interview.

The 52-page document addresses changes that department senators wish to see in their majors. There aren’t senators for individually designed interdisciplinary programs or journalism this semester, so SGA included improvements last year’s senators suggested.

The document also raises concerns with other parts of the school, like technology communication and academic advising. These issues were brought up in last Thursday’s meetings.

“Most departments are pretty open for changes,” Massimino-Garcia said. “But it depends on how receptive faculty and the department actually are.”

The initiative states that the college is lagging in terms of adopting new technology. Brandon Kaplan, class of 2019 senator, said that students want their teachers to use Canvas more. 

“Teachers that don’t use Canvas usually just don’t know that students want them to,” Kaplan said.

Massimino-Garcia said there should be better communication between cohorts in the communication sciences and disorders major. He recommends having an event or program where freshman could talk to upperclassmen.

Communication disorder students have to take American Speech-Language-Hearing Association required courses to get a certification, Massimino-Garcia said—requirements that should be more clear on DegreeWorks.  

Patricia De la Garza, performing arts senator, said there is a need for further cultural competency training in the performing arts department. Full-time performing arts faculty should go to cultural competency workshops held by Sylvia Spears, vice president for diversity and inclusion, and part-time faculty should be encouraged to go, De la Garza said.

The initiative also requests an equivalent of Fundamentals of Speech Communication, a required course for everyone, tailored for performing arts majors, De la Garza said. She said students learn the same skills communication in other classes required for the major.

Lucille McCormick, visual and media arts senator, said the department should offer midterm course evaluations so there can be changes within the classroom before the end of the semester. The major’s foundation and introductory classes ought to be more uniform and have similar class agendas, she said

“[The classes] are also very focused on video production and they’re not really focused on other majors within VMA, so [the department should] find ways to make [classes] more uniform so we don’t have so many discrepancies between what people are learning,” McCormick said.

Isabel Macomber, writing, literature, and publishing senator, said there should be more poetry faculty members, as poetry students are an important part of the department’s community.

SGA granted Emertainment Monthly $6,043 for the eight staff members’ airfare, lodging, and food if they get press passes to San Diego Comic-Con in mid-July.

SGA also voted 11-2 to close the meeting on Tuesday to approve the Financial Advisory Board’s recommendations for organizations’ allocations for student organization’s budgets.