University Senate endorses idea for associate degree program


The University Senate approved a motion Jan. 17 to endorse the concept of City College and the possible development of online associate degree programs.

City College was an adult and continuing education program that was abolished post-Katrina. The new concept, presented to the senate by Maria Calzada, interim provost, would potentially include the creation of online associate degrees in psychology, communications, interdisciplinary studies, criminal justice and business.

All of the proposed programs already have corresponding online bachelor’s degrees that are offered through the university.

“We can bring them up with almost no initial investment because they are the same courses we are already offering,” Calzada said.

She added that the associate degrees would allow students to transfer directly into four-year programs at Loyola either online or on campus after the completion of the 60 credit-hour program with a liberal arts core.

During the meeting, Calzada cited research the university had gathered that indicated a 74 percent growth in associate degrees conferred between 2000 and 2016.

Calzada said that the resurrection of City College would hopefully provide an increase in revenue for the university in the wake of Loyola’s financial probation and low spring registration numbers.

The motion to endorse passed with 22 votes in favor, nine votes against and three abstentions. Some faculty senators, including Nathan Henne, senator for the Department of Languages and Cultures, voiced concerns about the university’s focus on online and not physical classes.

“We’ve been waiting patiently to begin to see resources aimed back at where they are desperately needed which is in our on the ground classrooms. We’ve been told the dawn is coming. We’ve been told the budget is secure. (Acting Chief Operating Officer) Paul Pastorek said ‘mission accomplished,’” a representative for Henne said in a statement on behalf of the Department of Languages and Cultures. “This program will again divert resources. We would suggest that perhaps we have a more detailed conversation on this topic prior to official endorsement.”

Calzada said she understood the faculty members’ frustrations, but that the creation of more revenue is a prerequisite to the hiring of more faculty and accumulation of more resources for classes.

“We know we are all working several jobs and we have waitlists in classes. We know that we have to as soon as we can reinvest in traditional classes,” Calzada said. “But it cannot be done with the existing resources.”

Calzada said that the university still needs to conduct a price study about the cost of the programs and that the faculty must approve the curriculum for the online courses. The board of trustees will discuss the proposal in March.