14 June, 2000

Contact: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456; mstepanovich@csub.edu


Schools split at CSUB

The School of Arts and Sciences at California State University, Bakersfield will officially split into two schools for the 2000-2001 academic year.

President Tomas Arciniega announced that the two new schools will be named the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering.

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences will be comprised of the art, performing arts, communications, philosophy-religious studies, English, history, political science, psychology, criminal justice, modern languages and literature, sociology-anthropology and economics departments.

The School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering will be comprised of the chemistry, biology, computer science, mathematics, physics-geology and nursing departments. An engineering department is expected to be added within two to three years.

Robert Catlin, CSUB's vice president for academic affairs and the university's provost, said splitting CSUB's largest school into new schools reflected two important considerations.

Having one school for both humanities and sciences had become unwieldy due to the university's continued and anticipated growth. "From a practical standpoint, creating the two new schools will make administrative oversight more efficient," Catlin said.

"Also this reflects CSUB's commitment to being a comprehensive regional university, and will help us fulfill our mission as a comprehensive regional university. It will also help us attract historically under-represented groups to the university.

"From an academic standpoint, engineering has always been the missing portion of our academic portfolio. By creating the new School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering we have eliminated that gap."

Catlin is working to begin offering upper-division engineering classes by 2003 and awarding the first engineering degrees by 2005. CSUB already offers a pre-engineering lower-division course sequence for freshmen and sophomores. Students who complete that sequence then have the option of transferring to another CSU campus offering engineering majors. With the advent of CSUB's engineering major, students will be able to complete their engineering degrees in Bakersfield.

Catlin said the university plans to offer three engineering majors: general engineering, electrical engineering and computer engineering.

Catlin also said that "a smaller sciences school will help in interdisciplinary cooperation and the ability to compete for research grants and service contracts."

Also, "both new schools will be able to take a look at their existing programs and plan new programs. Some things we're thinking about are computer-aided art and design, and enhancement of our foreign language program."

CSUB has established search committees for deans for the two new schools. "We plan to have the new deans in place no later than the summer 2001," Catlin said.

In the meantime, Marla Iyasere, who has been associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, will serve as interim dean for the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering; psychology professor Edwin Sasaki will serve as interim dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Sasaki has previously served an interim dean assignment.

"We are fortunate to have these two seasoned and talented faculty members to take on this important assignment at this time in our university's history," Catlin said.