Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is it final? SAAS Closure: Dean sends out statement

The official word of closure from UCI Division of Undergraduate Education Sharon Salinger, emailed to "UCI Campus Community" 24 August 2009 at 6:01 pm:

Dear Colleagues, Students and Community Partners,

As a result of the unprecedented fiscal crisis facing the University
of California and the resulting permanent budget cut of 16 percent
allocated to UC Irvine Division of Undergraduate Education, a decision
was made to close Student Academic Advancement Services effective Aug.
31, 2009. Services offered by this unit including study skills
workshops, academic counseling, career planning, and tutoring will
continue under the direction of the dean of undergraduate education.

Funded in part by a grant from the US Department of Education, SAAS
programs are designed to increase retention and graduation rates of
first-generation, low-income students. Among these programs, Freshman
Summer Bridge is the most visible and engenders the most comment from
past participants for its critical role in their success at UCI and
for its lasting impact.

To minimize the effects of this closure on students, DUE plans to
partner with existing units across campus to continue services
formerly offered by the program. This restructuring plan is based upon
recommendations from an outside review team that visited UCI in spring
2008. It includes the appointment of a faculty member committed to
working with first-generation, low-income students who will be
responsible for academic oversight of Summer Bridge and other
workshops and classes. DUE will continue to partner with Summer
Session on administration and co-curricular activities for the Summer
Bridge programs. Further, if the U.S. Department of Education renews
its partnership with DUE, the restructuring will allow the
continuation of the two-unit course on Graduate Education as well as
this year's pilot program for a Transfer Summer Bridge. Moreover,
the continued partnership will result in a 62 percent increase in
Summer Bridge financial aid available annually.

DUE intends to continue to provide physical space as well as
professional staff and a peer mentor team devoted to student support.
Additionally, the Learning and Academic Resources Center within the
DUE will offer tutoring and study skills workshops for eligible
students. Watch for future announcements on the DUE website as we make
this transition.

Along with many colleagues, past and current students, and community
partners, we extend to the SAAS staff our thanks for their years of
service and their dedication to the programs: Joe Maestas, director;
Audrey Al-Hamd, associate director; Stephen Domingues, coordinator,
Summer Bridge and program development; Angelita Salas, counselor; and
Ashley Melton, administrative assistant.

The unit's closure is a regrettable consequence of these budgetary
times. DUE is confident that students still will receive excellent
support through vibrant programs and the commitment of professional
staff and faculty.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

The questions we have are still not answered. What is going to replace SAAS? Why was SAAS closed so abrutly without being given much warning? Why did you promise on June 20th (the first day of 2009 Freshman Summer Bridge) that SAAS was going to be there for the students? Why were these students and their parents lied to when you knew since Spring that this program was going to be shut down? What are the exact plans? What specific programs will be offered to these students?
Why was this blog posted only six days before the office is terminated? This is not fair to the SAAS students nor the dedicated administrative staff that dedicate their time and efforts to ensure that their student succeed in college and beyond. SAAS can not be possibly duplicated.
Where is the rest of the grant money going towards if that grant money cannot be used by the university? Who will host Summer Bridge in 2010 if SAAS isn`t around?
How can "outside recommendations" say that SAAS should be shut down when the U.S Department of Education made and independant study that has recognized SAAS as a model SSS program nationally and within the UC system?
We are asking for you to take a second and realize that by shutting down SAAS you are putting in danger UCI diversity and commitment to education. Hear the thousands of voices that are asking to be heard.