March 22, 2001, Thursday

Section A, page A3

Advanced-degree plan pushed
CSU wants to remove monopoly UC has on education doctorate

Matthew Tresaugue; The Press-Enterprise

California State University is pushing a plan to offer the doctorate of education, a move that encroaches on the University of California's claim as the state's only source for such advanced degrees.

The Cal State proposal, if approved by the Legislature, would be a break from the state's 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education, which awarded the UC system sole responsibility for granting doctoral and professional degrees.

But Cal State leaders suggested Wednesday that the 22-campus system, which already trains more than 60 percent of the state's teachers, could do a better job of providing accessible and affordable doctoral programs for educators at a time of surging enrollment and higher standards from kindergarten to college.

"We're going to have a tremendous need for leaders who can promote California school-improvement efforts, many of which involve new ideas and concepts that other states haven't even yet tried," David Spence, CSU executive vice chancellor, told the board of trustees in Long Beach.

In a recent letter to Cal State Chancellor Charles B. Reed, UC President Richard Atkinson agreed with the call for expanded Ed.D. programs but asked him not to take on the responsibility. Atkinson has pledged to double capacity for producing education doctorates over the next decade.

To do so, Atkinson has made a priority of a proposed joint-doctoral program with UC Riverside and a number of Cal State campuses, from San Bernardino to Northridge. He also would like to add similar programs at UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley and UC Irvine.

Cal State leaders, however, said they are skeptical, noting that only four joint-doctoral programs in education have been established since the master plan authorized them 40 years ago.

Negotiations for the joint-doctoral programs have involved such issues as weekend and evening classes, locations, distance learning and the use of faculty members.

In making the case for separate programs, Cal State leaders said students would pay a fraction of the cost for a Cal State Ed.D. compared with one from a UC or private university. Also, about 56 percent of the state's population lives within 10 miles of a Cal State campus, while 21 percent live within the same distance of a UC campus. Finally, they said Cal State programs would focus on applied areas such as budgets and curriculum development.

Cal State's push comes on the heels of a December study by the state's Postsecondary Education Commission. The report stated that the University of California and private universities produce enough education doctorates. But more than two-thirds of those degrees were granted by more expensive private schools.

The study also found that the education doctorate has lost value because of "diploma mills" and school boards that are looking for leaders with "a wealth of experience," not only advanced degrees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.