An Open Letter on Class Size to Fresno State's History Dept.

An Open Letter on Class Size to Fresno State's History Dept.

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United Students Against Sweatshops started this petition to Fresno State Alumni and

Fellow Bulldogs, 

     Students in the History graduate program are facing unprecedented class sizes hovering around 20 students! With an increasingly competitive job market that demands graduates be prepared for the professional world, large class sizes are counterproductive in achieving the best possible education. 

     The History Department's faculty provides a rewarding experience and a quality education for students. The current faculty-to-student ratio leaves faculty overloaded and students deprived of the necessary attention and mentoring. This deficiency in our education is affecting our current status for personal and professional success.

     The state and the school have the money to alleviate the obstacles we face in achieving quality education. We must voice our concerns to ensure that we secure a bright future for us and for those to come.

     In view of the extreme faculty-to-student ratio, we need a 15-student cap on masters-level classes. To achieve this we need the support of students, faculty, and alumni in the History department. In the near future, a call to action will be sent out to students to have their voices heard. Together we will draft a petition to finalize and send off. Here are some potential solutions that should be discussed:

  • Hire additional tenure track professors. Students appreciate the recent hire of Dr. Danny Kim as our new historian of Asia, but how can we call ourselves a history department if we are not only neglecting the period of Ancient history, but we are neglecting the entirety of the African continent? Our department desperately needs an Africanist and an Ancient Historian.
  • Add additional classes. By hiring in these fields, we would be able to add additional classes which would ensure that our 15 student cap will never again be exceeded.

     To ensure a rigorous program and to meet the faculty halfway, there should also be a discussion concerning admission requirements. This discussion should maintain consideration for the appeal of the program as well as ensuring a diverse and equitable student body. To achieve these goals, we believe the following discussions are necessary: ​​*

  • Adding a foreign language requirement
  • Implementing additional sample writing requirements.
  • Nurturing / fostering our cohort system by limiting admissions to the Fall semester
  • This should NOT include reintroducing the GRE or any standardized tests

* The suggestions listed above should NOT be considered as a definitive list, NOR is it suggesting a total implementation of these suggestions. Rather, these suggestions should serve as a starting point for a much larger conversation about the workplace and the livelihoods of the students and faculty. *

     Lastly, we should consider, that as one of three departments in the College of Social Sciences to have a graduate program, we need to take the lead in making our department rigorous and rewarding by living up to the History department's mission statement which reads:

“The mission of the Department of History is to provide a rigorous, deliberate and directed study that increases the knowledge of students and prepares them for careers in the discipline of history and the social sciences”


     A call to action to meet and draft a formal petition will be sent out once sufficient signatures from the student body have been collected.

     After students come together to draft a formal petition, we plan to present the student concerns to the department chair Dr. Skuban and work our way up to the interim dean of the College of Social Science Dr. Segun Ogunjemiyo. 

     If you want to see change and agree with these concerns please sign the open letter. We will be in contact with you when it is time for further action.

 Thank you!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!