Support Liberal Studies

Letter from the Chair - 2016

Lola BerberGreetings from the Cal Poly Liberal Studies Department. The 2015-16 academic year was exciting for us in many ways.

We hope you’ll share the excitement at the first Liberal Studies Department Reunion during Mustang Family Weekend on October 21. The reunion will be a great time to connect with other alumni, share ideas, and of course relax with a glass of wine and a rooftop view of San Luis Obispo. Check our website for more information or register now.

Last year we had the largest graduating class in the last 10 years — 107 students, many of whom are now pursuing a multiple subject credential. We are so proud of our graduates!

The most popular concentrations in the 2016 graduating class were mathematics, Spanish and child development. Concentrations allow our teacher candidates to add an introductory subject matter authorization, pursue a bilingual authorization, or focus on special education.

Our student body was involved in a variety of teaching opportunities on and off-campus. They led summer camps all over the state and tutored and volunteered in local schools.

Through these activities, our students help us build strong partnerships with local programs like Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing Summer Academy, the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center’s Camp Expedition, and the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center.

Our students are also learning that teachers can be researchers. Several students participated in formal research on how students learn. Others joined more traditional science, technology, engineering and mathematics research groups.

Eight Liberal Studies students were awarded a Frost summer research scholarship. Some explored language acquisition with Professor Tanya Flushman. Others researched double-stars side by side with physics majors unider the direction of astronomer Russ Genet or worked on professional development for teachers through the Central Coast Science Project. These students are now busy completing presentations and publications based on their summer experiences.

A final piece of good news: the Liberal Studies Department has a new study abroad program in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Language and Culture in Mexico is an affordable four-week summer quarter program led by two Cal Poly faculty members. Students earn eight units of academic credit (four in Spanish and four in Mexican culture) and volunteer with Mexican school children. Homestay families provide housing and meals, and the program includes full-day field trips to the pyramids of Teotihuacan and to Guanajuato.

This low-cost Cal Poly program offers airfare travel grants to all students in need and additional scholarships to heritage students. We are looking forward to taking our first group of students in summer 2017.

Thank you for all you do to support the Liberal Studies Department. Stay in touch, and I look forward to seeing you at our first Liberal Studies Reunion!

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