Asian American, Persian Studies Programs Set to Get Boosts

This installment of updates from the Academic Senate will cover proposals under consideration in the Humanities Executive Committee, as well as review the first annual report of the Negotiated Salary Trial Program (NSTP) that was analyzed by the Council on Faculty Welfare.

The first proposal under consideration in the Humanities Executive Committee regards the creation of a minor in Persian Studies. This minor, if approved, will be applicable starting Fall 2015. The minor  will offer students training in Persian language, literature, history and culture. The program was proposed by Dr.Touraj Daryaee, the acting director of the Dr. Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies.

Also consideration is a proposal for a five-year joint bachelor’s/master’s program in Asian American Studies. The program was proposed by Dr. James Lee, the chair of the Department of Asian American Studies, with the following goals:

The addition of a terminal master’s degree to the already existing BA program allows high performing students to earn advanced training with interdisciplinary theories and methods for social justice-driven research and direct involvement with local, national and global Asian American communities.

If approved, this will be the first-ever “4+1” BA/MA program in Asian American Studies in the nation. This proposal cited high student demand for the program, with recent survey data showing over 50 percent of Asian American studies majors stating that they would apply for the program. The long-term aim of the program is to offer students a pathway to continue scholarship in Asian American studies in graduate school.

The future of both proposals are set to be determined by the committee before the academic year is over.

Meanwhile, the Council on Faculty Welfare analyzed the first report from the Negotiated Salary Trial Program (NSTP). The NSTP was created with the goals of meeting immediate recruitment and retention needs on three campuses of UCI, UCLA and UCSD, including more competitive salaries for participating faculty, collecting information on the use and effectiveness of the program, and positioning University faculty leaders and faculty administrators to make a decision about the program after the four-year review.

The report’s executive summary included that in its first year, the NSTP for general campus faculty was used by over 150 faculty members on three campuses. The negotiated salary component for these faculty members resulted in $3.7 M in additional salary. The program was most heavily used by faculty in public health, biological sciences, physical sciences and engineering divisions.

In survey data, including comments from participating and non-participating faculty in the same departments and schools, participants offered favorable responses 80 percent of the time. Nonparticipating faculty offered comments that were two-thirds neutral or positive and one-third negative. Survey data also show that the campus faculty administrators were pleased with the trial program’s positive impact on recruitment and retention.

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