Tag: Academic Senate

April 23, 2018 Article Published

Apologies in advance if I happen to sound as tired and scatterbrained in this post as I feel in real life. Or in tomorrow’s post for that matter, which I’m probably going to start working on after I finish writing this.

Spoiler alert: It’s Fire Emblem again. Intelligent Systems is on a roll right now.

But that’s obviously a story for another day. Today there are Daily Titan things to discuss.

There’s a little bit of back story behind the article I have out in print right now, but frankly it’s a little too in-the-weeds to get deeply into so I’ll try to make it quick.

There was some confusion last Thursday where people had assumed I would be going to an Academic Senate meeting when in reality I was going to a hematologist appointment that morning and was unaware the Senate was believed to be on my shoulders.

Insert obligatory Star Wars prequel meme here.

As a result of that confusion, I decided to make sure our page didn’t fall apart on the first day of Comm Week by gathering this piece together post-meeting.



Editor’s Note:

Comm Week, for those of you who are uninitiated, is the one week a year that the College of Communications at Cal State Fullerton invites a heaping helping of guest speakers to come talk about why the field of study is awesome as a way to encourage people to join in and appreciate it.

Basically lots of people with connections come to campus and it would be embarrassing if we had lousy papers to show to them.



While the minutes for each Academic Senate meeting aren’t put out until at least two weeks after a given meeting (as they’re approved at the following meeting), we did have access to the agenda ahead of time.

Based on a cursory look through that agenda, I reached out to the Academic Senate chair and the chairs of the University Writing Proficiency and General Education Committees as those were the groups that appeared to be the most involved in this meeting. Considering it was a Saturday when I began my hunt, I wasn’t expecting much response, so I also planned out a possible crime log-based story as back-up.

Luckily I didn’t need that back-up (as I later found out the University Police Captain Scot Willey was AFK all weekend) because the Writing Proficiency chair got in touch with me.

As chance would have it, she also happened to be the person who led a big presentation on general education requirements following adjustments to Chancellor Timothy P. White’s Executive Order 1100. That, naturally, wound up being the focus of my piece.

So if you’re interested in learning a little bit more about the CSUF Academic Senate’s General Education Task Force, their 34-page preliminary report on the effects of the executive order and all sorts of other background research I’m sure you’re all just DYING to hear about…

Check out my story here. Frankly I’m proud of how this one turned out considering the circumstances surrounding it. Plus I was able to do a cool thing by attaching the full report to the article online as we had somewhat advanced access to it.

You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

If all works out, I might just have more to share later this week as Comm 471 attempts to roll out some big stories for Comm Week.


P.S. For those curious, the hematologist was good and we extended my between check-up visits window to six months rather than three like we were on. Can’t complain about that.

 

February 12, 2018 Article Published

So my original plan was to get this little post out before my first two classes of the day. Unfortunately, I wound up having a more stressful morning than anticipated when I realized at about 10 a.m. that I had forgotten to print the assignment that was due in my 11 a.m. class.

Needless to say, after that there was a good amount of time spent running around in the library working to print the assignment out in time. Didn’t really help that the two computers I tried first did not work, which just kind of compounded the stress.

Seriously Pollak Library, I really appreciate your open computers and print options, but I would appreciate them a lot more if everything worked correctly.

But that’s enough complaining for now. After all, anyone who isn’t reading this post while it’s still timely and relevant would even notice the later posting time.

So let’s jump into the meat and potatoes: Academic Senate.

Though I had not expected to go to last Thursday’s meeting until… Well, last Wednesday I believe… It wound up being a relatively straight forward meeting to cover.

After about 45 minutes worth of continuing the conversation started at the body’s last meeting that covered department faculty evaluation committees (a topic I might dive into once more concrete decisions are made), a substantial portion of the time was spent discussing changes to university general education policies.

See, last year CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White put out an Executive Order requiring sweeping changes to general education policy across the system as a means of improving student graduation rates. Some of these mandated changes were widely disapproved, such as the elimination of certain remedial courses, but others seem to have more positive ramifications.

One of those changes was the primary subject of one of the two documents that were amended at the meeting: University Policy Statement 411.202 to be exact. There was a back-and-forth about clarifying the fact that with the Chancellor’s changes, you can take a given upper division course so long as you’ve taken (at a minimum) the “golden four” core competency classes and whatever prerequisites are listed, whereas before you needed to have at least 60 units no matter where you were in terms of preparedness.

The second document, University Policy Statement 411.200, essentially just received a clause saying that all general education courses which haven’t been offered in at least five years must have their GE status taken away. A smaller change, but one that I believe will just make the classification process easier, if I were to postulate on the subject without actually doing any interviewing about it.

Really, that’s about the breadth of what I covered. Governmental meetings are always a little complicated and dry, even at the school-level, so I’m overall I’d say I’m pretty proud of how my piece turned out. Granted, there were some edits I had to make on it that I personally feel detracted from the story a little bit, but that’s just part of the job in the end.

Luckily, online I was able to rectify some of those issues by linking out to all the documents specified in the piece. So check out the story online to see it with some extra research detail involved.

Speaking of, if you want to read the article in its entirety, you can see it here. Or you can check out my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

Seems like Academic Senate is slowly but surely becoming my beat this semester, so we’ll see how that goes going forward.

February 8, 2018 Articles Published

I had another pair of articles published in the Daily Titan today, which is frankly a pattern I’m liking so far this semester. Based on the chart Harrison has been keeping, I’m at the top of the newsroom’s byline record so far, and I’m happy about that.

I’m a little bit busy at the moment between doing some homework and preparing to cover Academic Senate again, so I won’t spend an exorbitant amount of time writing about these recent articles.

For the most part, they should speak for themselves.

The first story holds the very special distinction of being my first ever piece of journalistic writing for a sports desk. Of any paper.

As I’ve mentioned before, part of my experience in Comm 471 will involve trying out different desks through a rotation. Given that sports has been my first stop of the semester, it makes sense that I’d have a story out for the desk eventually.

What I wrote isn’t necessarily anything flashy. It’s a preview for two men’s basketball games happening this weekend, only about 300 words or so and entirely based upon research into some team-related statistics. There aren’t any interviews for the story because it was originally supposed to have quotes siphoned from an interview someone on the sports desk was going to do, but that interview was cancelled.

So… No quotes.

It’s also a little more jargon-y than I had originally written. After all, I’m clearly not a sports writer, so there are bits of terminology I would not have picked up on by myself that our desk editors had to implement so it could be more natural for their regular audience.

Even so, my buddy Jared told me he was really impressed by the information I was able to pull together and said the edits were very minimal, which I’ll take as a big win for my first sports article.

If you want to check that out, you can see it here. For my fellow non-sporting persons out and about, I assure you it’s a short read.

My second article of the day is a little more involved.

At the Academic Senate meeting two weeks ago, one of the subjects brought up by the body’s Graduate Education Committee was their support for a new database being created to house the theses and dissertations written by graduate students.

I thought that sounded interesting, so I started to do some digging.

Very quickly I found myself a bit more over my head than expected. I first spoke with Mark Bilby from the Pollak Library (who, serendipitously, I met last semester at the Pollak Library’s holiday party). We had a 30 minute conversation about open source data repositories.

That was a joy to transcribe, let me tell you.

Perhaps that sounds a little harsh, as Mark was actually a pretty good communicator of technical issues. He’s one of those people that can make something complicated sound sensible for non-technical people, which is something I’ve found with others I talked to for Gladeo. But that’s a story for another day soon.

I then talked with two members of the Office of Graduate Studies, the current interim director (who started about three days before I spoke to him) and faculty mentor Sandra Perez, who is also the Director of the University Honors program.

Retrospectively, I was at fault trying to include information from Dr. Perez considering it’s a bit of a conflict of interest to talk to someone I know in that fairly personal sense. So everything I had included from our talk was cut out. While that’s a shame considering I liked some of the stuff she said, it’s something I can have someone return to in the future now that I know about some discussions she has been a part of.

Even with that said, I think the article turned out really great. It was re-arranged a bit to emphasize some points, but otherwise all of the stuff sans Dr. Perez that I had included was kept, so I feel good about how I was able to take a rather complicated subject and make it easier to understand for a wider audience.

If you want to see that article in it’s entirety, check it out here.

You can also find the full archive of my work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

January 29, 2018 Articles Published

Happy windy Monday everybody.

Seriously though, for just a momentary how the sausage is made, I’m starting to write this as I’m walking from my parking spot in Lot A to my first class of the day at the Humanities and Social Sciences building (which for those of you who have not been to Cal State Fullerton, is a literal cross-campus walk) because I was so awe-struck by the force of nature on display today.

The wind was so strong that not only was it making it hard for me to open my door, but it also slammed the door shut behind me. Like actually slammed it. Probably could have hurt me if I was in the path of the door!

Don’t know why that struck me so poignantly today, but I felt it was worth noting before I got into my articles.

That said… Let’s talk about my articles published today.

Once again we had a weeklong issue, our last one before we begin daily productions next week. So once again I took the extra time to write two stories.

The first was a much quicker project. It was a crime story based on a tip we received from our Layout Editor Tracy. I talked with University Police Captain Scot Willey about it, and though he did not know a lot about the actual incident, we did talk a bit about the procedure and recommendations surround it.

Essentially, the police got a suspicious person call regarding a non-student in the Pollak Library who was believed to be watching pornography on one of the library’s computers. The officers who responded did not find anything necessarily suspicious, but the call was enough that they asked the man to leave and he readily complied.

No super huge crime drama here, but it does include a good couple pieces of advice that I think could be applicable even outside of our own personal University Police jurisdiction. Plus, in some roundabout way, I got to write about pornography in the school newspaper. So that’s a pretty special occasion in its own right.

If you want to read that article, check it out here.

The second piece I wrote was far more involved and frankly became one of my favorite articles… Well, ever really. But probably more for the intrinsic reasonings behind it.

A mainstay of our coverage of Cal State Fullerton on the Daily Titan, as I would assume stands for all college newspapers, is attending and deep-diving into the Academic Senate. It’s essentially a governing body akin to a City Council after all, just with more of a direct impact on the campus proper.

In the past our Academic Senate writers have not been… Fantastic, in my experience. That’s not to say they’re at fault necessarily, it’s a touch subject to jump into for someone with little-to-know governmental reporting experience – or reporting experience in general for that matter. However, because it has such an impact on the campus, I’ve always felt bad that it never seems to get the care and attention it otherwise deserves.

So I put my money where my mouth was and covered a meeting of my own this last week.

It turned out that I picked a good meeting to cover at that, since the main decision of the meeting was plenty interesting. Easily passed on the consent calendar was a proposal requesting that the Asian American Studies program on campus undergo an administrative change to become a full-on department in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Now, just because it passed at the Academic Senate doesn’t mean we have a new department already. The decision actually acts as more of a recommendation to pass the proposal, with the president’s office receiving the documentation to make a final decision sometime about a week after the meeting according to Academic Senate Chair Stephen Stambough.

Luckily, I had preempted that this decision would be the most interesting part of the meeting judging by the agenda we received ahead of time, and I spent some time doing interviews with people like the coordinator of the program, Eliza Noh, to get a better understanding of its history and why the faculty hoped to move it up to department status.

In essence it was presented that shifting into a department would create no new burden on the school because Asian American Studies already operates so closely to a department. It would mostly effect things like the professors’ letterhead and allow them to be more widely recognized as an official mainstay at CSUF.

The coordinator and Thomas Fujita-Tony, the liaison between Asian American Studies and the Academic Senate, were quite happy about the development. As was most of the rest of the chamber given their cheer when the decision was made.

Also, just as an extra teaser, this article had probably one of my favorite little scene openers ever. So if you want to see that or are just generally interested in a small dive into a program meant to flesh out otherwise probably dull meeting coverage story, check out my article here.

I also quite liked this one because I went out of my way to get some extra visuals for online only, so I consider it an extended cut compared to the print version.

As always, you can also see the full archive of my work for the Daily Titan over on the right.

Two articles published the week of May 8, 2017

So I suppose I should address the elephant in the room. Or at least I would if there was an elephant here, but there isn’t because the elephant has been on hiatus much like I have.

Does that metaphor make sense? Does it have to?

Probably not, it was just a silly way to transition into a thing that doesn’t have much to do with it in the end after all.

Yes, it has been quite a while since I posted anything here on my blog. I would go into the reasons why, but admittedly it’s not all that complicated. School has been extra busy, life has been extra busy… Doesn’t really leave too much time to talk about silly things like video games, as much as that’s what I do almost all the time anyway.

This post itself is a bit of a red herring though, as I still have finals next week and will probably be back on hiatus at least until those are done with. However, with two big articles of mine getting published over the last week, I figure this little quiet period over the weekend is a good a time as any to drop them off here. Everything else –  new card packs in Duel Links, the near release of a new Fire Emblem game, the fact that I just watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2, internships I’m potentially taking part in over the summer… All that kind of stuff can wait for later.

For now, let’s talk Titan. Early on this week, my co-editor Sarah and I worked together on an article about members of the CSUF College Republicans club creating a fake Instagram account parodying the Students for Quality Education (SQE) group on campus. The account wasn’t sanctioned by officials in the club itself, College Republicans club president Chris Boyle said, but he did acknowledge that he knew which members were responsible for act and had no intention of telling them to stop exercising their free speech. However, the story got tricky, as the fake Instagram account put out a fake advertisement regarding a fundraiser on Cinco de Mayo that was considered hate speech by some, particularly those in the real SQE, and it wound up going in front of the Academic Senate with the intent of passing a resolution against the account.

For as small and, frankly, hilarious a story as this one was to start with, it wound up getting a little hectic to pull together. We had to talk to all involved parties and get comments building upon the already complicated web or involved organizations, as not only was there the controversy behind the Cinco de Mayo post, but there was also other things happening concurrently like a whodunnit-style mystery behind exactly who was in charge of the account given accusations and denials across various individuals. In the end it was a fun article to work with alongside Sarah, and it was almost a last hurrah for us working together since she’s graduating. Though we did get some backlash from the Republicans on campus accusing our article of being biased, I think we did a good job staying neutral and just reporting what we were told and what we saw.

If you want to check out the article, you can see it here. It’s certainly a fun one to read, in my opinion.

The second piece I had published came at the end of the week, and it was a bit more of an adventure to put together. While the fake Instagram story came together in about a weekend, this article was quite literally a whole semester in the making.

As part of the Investigative Reporting class I’ve been taking, we have been collectively looking into homelessness in Orange County as our big project. Over the past couple of weeks, the stories we’ve written for the class have finally been coming out, including the one I wrote with Roxana Paul on the Mercy House emergency shelter in Fullerton and the Check-in Center that feeds into it. Admittedly I wrote most of the final article, since English isn’t Roxana’s strongest suit, but all of the work leading up to the end product was undoubtedly a group effort.

The article essentially follows a night in the life of the homeless who make use of these Mercy House services during Armory season (from about November to April). They can check goods in or out of storage at the La Palma Check-in Center in Anaheim during the afternoon shift (from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), take a bus to get priority registration at the shelter in Fullerton, spend the night there and then go back to the center once the shelter closes at 6 a.m.

We not only talked to officials working at the two facilities, we also talked to homeless individuals making use of the services and looked through documentation on the amount of people that are homeless in Orange County (courtesy of things like the Point in Time count I participated in early on this semester) to try and weave a narriative of how hard it is to support people who can’t easily support themselves as well as the immense amount of work people that are really passionate about helping are putting in.

Fun fact, this was also the very first article I’ve taken my own photos for, pretty cool right? I think so, at least.

I’m super proud of this article and think it’s a great way to wrap up a semester, and I’m hoping you’ll agree. I spent extra time setting up the online edition of this story in particular as well, so be sure to check it out here!

You can also check out a full archive of my work for the Daily Titan over on the right.