Letter to President of the University of the Pacific
Author note: I graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California in 1979. It was my third college, after flunking out of Oberlin college. it was a good fit for me as it was a student-centric small-medium sized University, mostly white in those days. Now it is about 55% white. It was expensive but I got some financial aid and worked on campus throughout my time there. I sent a letter to the President of the University via FB and Linkidlin this morning. These days there are real concerns whether universities in the U.S. will survive and many marginal universities will fail. I hope that does not happen to UOP which is the oldest University in California founded in 1854. Here then is my letter and concerns. If I get a response I will post an update.
I am an alumnus of UOP (COP 1979, BA in Political Science and Psychology (Human Development). After graduation, I served in the Peace Corps in Korea, then taught ESL overseas for three years before going to Graduate school at the University of Washington where I obtained a MA in Korean studies, and an MPA degree in 1988. I then taught at a Korean University and the University of Maryland in Korea until 1991 when I joined the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service officer. I served in ten countries over my 27-year career. I retired in 2016 and have been residing in Korea and Oregon since then. I have been blogging and writing fiction and poetry and have been published in over 40 journals. My blog is https://theworldaccordingtocosmos.com
Recently I thought back on my college experience and thought of my time at UOP, and thinking about the future of UOP.
This last year has been very challenging for all in the higher education community and many people are speculating that there will be a shakeout of Universities and many may go under over the next few years.
To forestall that fate from happening to UOP it is essential that UOP continues to be an innovative student-centered university and that the University continues to offer new opportunities.
In reviewing the UOP academic programs, I was struck by the strength of the general education program. I have only a few suggestions to make. First, it is important to ensure that all students take US, California and world history courses, and world literature courses. I would add a world religions course, and a personal financial management course as well, but otherwise, keep the program as it is.
And thinking about the future of UOP.
Revise the Cluster Colleges
cluster colleges – see below for more details
I would revive the old cluster colleges of the 1960-70 era. Raymond College, Callison, and Elbert Covell College, the Cluster Colleges were innovative colleges at the time. Raymond pioneered interdisciplinary studies, Callison pioneered international studies, and Colbert college pioneered programs focusing on Latin American students and offered classics in Spanish. The SIS could be renamed Callison International Studies, Raymond college could continue to pioneer interdisciplinary courses and could manage the general education program for the University, and Colbert College could be revived.
Require all Students to Study One Semester Abroad
I would require all undergraduate students regardless of major complete one semester abroad with appropriate language training before going overseas. I would let the new college of international studies coordinate the study abroad program for the entire university. The study abroad semester will take place between the second half of the sophomore year and the first semester of the senior year or could be done over a summer break
New Programs in Real Estate Management, Hospitality Management, Food Service Management, Construction Management, Arts Management and MFA program.
I would offer seven new major programs – real estate management, hospitality management, food service management ,construction management, arts management and MFA programs. All programs would require that their students take all the appropriate state-level certifications so that when they graduate, they are fully licensed as well as having the degree and both programs should require a mandatory internship. All programs would be housed in the Business College. These programs would include appropriate legal courses, (see below). The students in the Resturant management program will help manage food services on Campus, and the students in the Hospitality Management program will manage the alumnae lodge which will be converted into a hotel for visitors to the campus including of course alums. I would also reach out to the business community and seek corporate sponsorship. This would be especially appropriate for the real estate and construction management courses.
I would also expand the music management program to be an arts management program.
I would offer a MFA program in writing – that would offer both on campus, low residency and virtual options.
Embrace Virtual Learning Options
The university should offer some of their courses as video courses and should also consider contracting with Coursera to offer some of their courses as well. For the Coursera courses, a university faculty member will facilitate discussion of the course materials after the video lectures are completed.
And UOP should consider licensing some of their more innovative programs such as music management as to course courses as well. Finally students off site during internships could take a few courses via distant learning as well.
Require all students to do one internship and one community volunteer project
all students should be required to complete one internship and one community service project. the internships should be paid. the Business college should coordinate the program. the Pharmacy, Health Care, Education and Engineering programs should be exempt as they already have an internship requirement.
Offer Some Law Classes to Undergraduate Majors
I would offer some law courses to undergraduates as part of their field of study. This would include basic business law, real estate law, construction contracting law, music and arts management law, and engineering management law. These classes should be held at the law school in the evening and students would go to them via University shuttles (electric of course) leaving at 4:30 and returning at 8:30 with the courses being held twice a week from 6 pm to 8 pm.
Bring Back Football
Regarding UOP athletics, I would consider bringing back football. I would also pledge that all UOP student-athletes would graduate on time. I would work with other university leaders to work towards requiring professional sports teams to commit to only hiring students who have graduated from university (or perhaps require them to complete their studies within one year of becoming professional.) this is something that should have been done a long time ago and requires Universities to step up and demand that the professional sporting teams require college graduation before starting professional careers.
If you are complacent, UOP may not survive.
I believe that if you offer these new programs and continue to innovate, UOP will survive the coming shake-up of Universities in the United States. If you are complacent, UOP may not survive.
Thank you for your consideration. I would love to talk with your staff about any of these ideas.
Jake Cosmos Aller
Tel: 703-436-1402 Korea
Raymond College, a liberal arts and sciences college that had no letter grades and no academic departments, allowed students to earn a bachelor’s degree in only three years. Established in 1962, the curriculum was interdisciplinary, well before that became an academic buzz word. Students earned credit through teacher evaluations. Eventually, there weren’t even required courses, and students were free to shape their own course of study.
Elbert Covell College, a liberal arts and sciences college also, was unique because all courses were taught in Spanish. Half of the students were from North America and half of the students were from South and Central America. Most students chose to participate in a semester abroad in Costa Rica. Established in 1963, Covell gave University of the Pacific a head start in international recruitment, an area in which the University continues to excel.
Callison College, established in 1967, was dedicated to the study of international relations and required students in the sophomore year to spend a year abroad in Asia together with their fellow classmates. In the early years, the students went to India, and later they studied in Japan.
Raymond and Callison Colleges were closed in 1979, and the courses taught through Covell were finally transferred to other schools in 1986. However, their emphasis on global education continued in a new School of International Studies, established in 1986, the first university-based undergraduate school of international studies in California.
The learning community concept of the cluster colleges was strengthened in College of the Pacific, the liberal arts and sciences core of the University, recognized for preparing responsible citizen leaders who will contribute in lasting ways in their careers and communities.