English master's degree available soon at SDSU

July 19, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Since its humble beginnings, San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus has worked to serve the needs of the Imperial Valley.

Recently the university committed to extend a helping hand even further.

Beginning spring semester of 2002, SDSU-IV in Calexico will offer a master's degree in English.

"It is the exact same program as in San Diego," said SDSU English professor Janette Shumaker.

"Students will be admitted to the San Diego program as well as in Calexico, so they will have the option to take alternative courses in San Diego if they want to," she added.

This is the first time a master's degree in English will be offered at SDSU-IV.

The Calexico campus offers master's degrees in public administration, business administration concentrating on international business, social work, and in education, with concentrations in curriculum and instruction and educational leadership.


Students petitioned for the advanced degree in English at the Calexico campus, as did Imperial Valley College.

"The impetus comes from IVC," said Khosrow Fatemi, SDSU-IV dean.

Fatemi added, "They've indicated they would like to have more people with master's degrees to teach."

Fatemi continued, "There's some light at the end of the tunnel for the students in terms of job opportunities at IVC."

The part-time program will consist of courses offered over five semesters, with two courses offered per semester.

SDSU-IV English professor Barry Stampfl said he expects the program to "move faster, incorporate more advanced secondary sources and generally be more challenging than our undergraduate program."

He added, "I hope and expect the new program ultimately will stimulate more advanced literary skills throughout the Valley."

The university hopes to have at least 25 students enrolled in the program for the spring 2002 semester.

"The critical factor is the number of students we get," said Fatemi.

Shumaker said the entire program depends on the number of students enrolled.

"So far we've had a good response. Over 30 people have expressed serious interest," said Shumaker.

She said admissibility to the program depends largely on grade-point averages at the undergraduate level and Graduate Records Examination scores.

Students also will have to submit a writing sample.

"We're going to offer both the courses for the American and British (literature) specialization," Shumaker said.

Fatemi emphasized the benefit of having local professors who are qualified to teach a graduate program.

"We have almost all the faculty we need," said Fatemi, adding, "Generally you need four or five faculty members in a discipline. We have three here."

He said the program will probably recruit one or two professors from San Diego to teach in addition to the three local professors.

"If we have to bring in people from San Diego it becomes very difficult and very expensive," said Fatemi.

Fatemi added he anticipates having a few graduate assistantships for the master's in English program.

"Generally they're teaching assistantships," said Fatemi.

Shumaker said the program offers both a master's with a thesis and a master's with a comprehensive exam.

She added an informational meeting about the program has been scheduled at the Calexico campus for Aug. 28.

"We'll go over the application requirements," said Shumaker.

Fatemi said the program will be offered on an "as-needed" basis.

"Generally with programs like that we offer it once every three or four years as the need builds up," said Fatemi. "It is demand-driven."

Fatemi concluded, "It's something that benefits everyone. It's a win-win situation."

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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