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Fall 2009       publication for alumni and friends of the department of journalism       CSU, Chico

Notes from the chair: state budget cuts severely threaten future of department

By Glen Bleske

Our visiting accreditation team sent the journalism department two strong messages in late October:

1) We are the "little engine that could." The team cited the hard work of faculty and the success of students and alumni as it recommended re-accreditation.

2) The future of the department is severely threatened by continuing state budget cuts. Further cuts, the team warned, would cripple the department.

I am as worried as the accreditation team. Since 2006, the department has lost about 25 percent of its budget. Declining state revenues suggest that a 15 percent cut is likely for the 2010-2011 school year.

The department, however, has nothing left to cut.

The cuts have already hurt us. Many valuable adjunct faculty whom alumni might remember have been let go. Leslie Layton, John Grant, Steve Metzger, Lewis Brockus and Kristen Petersen no longer teach for us. Our ethics class, once a small class with fewer than 30 students, is now a jumbo with more than 50. Elective courses we once taught are not being scheduled.

The pain is felt throughout Chico State and the CSU system. Degree programs are being frozen or canceled. Hundreds of part-time instructors have been fired. Layoffs loom for full-time faculty members.

Current students are suffering with a 30 percent increase in tuition this year. Enrollment cuts mean fewer students will be admitted to Chico State next year.

We have been searching for ways to save money and jobs. One suggestion has been for the journalism department to merge with the communication design department or communication studies. Modest savings could be found in administrative costs by eliminating one chair and office staff.

But such a solution comes with complications, frustrations and one big question. Would such a merger allow us to preserve the excellent program that has been created, the program our alumni know and cherish, the program that is "the little engine that could"?

Let me know what you think about our future. Contact me at gbleske@csuchico.edu, or join the discussion on Facebook. My wall is open to the public.

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1. In your opinion, which social media tool currently used by professionals in the communications industry will become obsolete first?


2. If you were a Chico State college student again for one day, what would you do?

Float down the Sacramento River
Hike in Bidwell Park
Embark on a bar crawl
Visit a favorite teacher
Take a tour of the campus
Spend time at The Orion
Spend time in TGC

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Produced By


Department Chair
Glen Bleske

Ashley Anderson
Jamie Kim
Haley McHenry
Tawnya Rojas

Megan Alley
Jennifer Lovelace
Marcia Miller

Ryan Horner
Brian Randle
Jasmine Roufchaie

Stephanie Brock