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Amend SJSU's Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging Curriculum for BS/MS

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Essentially, we want to improve the Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging program at SJSU to allow students to graduate in a timely manner, receive the most relevant education that caters to their specific goals, and generate more support from the faculty in this manner.  We have outlined 7 main objectives that have caused major concern among the students in our department and that we would like the staff/faculty to address.

Please review entire petition which is outlined below, SIGN, and SHARE:

 I) Re-evaluate which courses are actually necessary within the program 

a. Rationale: SJSU has a requirement of 97 credits for the Nutritional Science track, which includes DPD coursework, however SF State only has 73 credits. This is a large discrepancy for two programs that have similar objectives. The immense number of requirements creates a lot of busy work for students, which negates the educational quality of the program. 

 b. Solution: Carefully compare the curriculum at comparable programs along with the AND's DPD requirements to assess which are the extraneous classes at SJSU and eliminate them to allow students to graduate in a timely manner and to produce graduates with a quality and focused education.

 II) Create a cohesive schedule where all coursework can be completed in a reasonable amount of time 

a. Rationale: Scheduling classes to complete the program in a timely manner is a constant issue. For instance, in Spring 2012, there was an abundance of classes scheduled for Tues/Thurs, however, Mon/Wed were fairly light. This means scheduling conflicts for students, which forces us to take summer courses, which are SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive! Also, there are no courses that have a consistent schedule over every semester. Furthermore, undergraduate students have a difficult time completing the program in reasonable time frame because they are unable to get into classes and have no priority. 

 b. Solution: Revise the current class schedule so that matriculation is easier for students. Also, classes should be scheduled at the same time on the same days each semester, unless there are extenuating circumstances. It would also help to possible have more sections of the classes in highest demand. This would make things easier and more predictable for both students and faculty. 

III) Combine NUFS 21 and NUFS 111L into ONE course 

a. Rationale: Graduate students have an already demanding schedule with very little time for extra courses, especially if they are completing DPD coursework. NUFS 21 hardly prepares students for the food science aspect of the program. It acts as an introduction to cooking, as opposed to a pre-requisite for a more in-depth food science course. Furthermore, both NUFS 21 and NUFS 111L teach essentially the same skills. Requiring students to take an extra course with the same subject matter only places more stress on the individual and further impacts their schedules. 

b. Proposal: Develop ONE culinary course that encompasses the cooking skills necessary for completion of the program. Remove the pre-requisite requirement from this course so that it may be taken at a time that is convenient for the student. Also, offer this course over the winter session so that it does not conflict with more relevant coursework, and so that core classes, such as 108a, do not have to be taken over the summer. 

IV) Implement curriculum that teaches students practical skills (e.g. Nutrition Consulting, Dietary Analysis) 

a. Rationale: The goal of this program is to prepare students with the knowledge and skills to be successful in their internships and careers. Clearly, one of the roles of a dietitian is to provide dietary analysis and nutrition-specific counseling. Due to the fact that the field of nutrition is constantly changing as research continues to develop, it is important to have a strong foundation and background in the key skill set required in this career field. This is critical so that as requirements and standards change, we have the ability to adapt. 

b. Proposal: We propose that the faculty implement more extensive coursework and training in the area of diet assessment and planning, as this skill is pertinent to our success as dietitians. If a course cannot be created in this topic, perhaps it can be added to a pre-existing course, such as NUFS 31. 

 V) Eliminate unnecessary class subdivisions 

a. Rationale: At SJSU, the professional requirements constitute 22 classes, while at SFSU, they constitute only 12 courses. Courses are often much more strenuous and time consuming than the number of units suggests, which is exacerbated by the fact that there are more classes to take because there are so many 1 and 2 unit courses. 

 b. Proposal: Combine classes that are currently designated as 1 or 2 unit courses and ensure that faculty are matching the workload with the designated number of units for the class. 

VI) Create a consistent advising plan 

a. Rationale: There is inconsistency within the advising department. Different advice is given not only by different individuals, but also by the same individual at different times. A student should be able to plan out their educational path and follow it without the need to constantly make revisions to their plan. With so many prerequisites and a high level of coursework in this program, one small hiccup can mean the difference of graduating an entire year later. 

b. Proposal: Have a clear and pre-designated advising plan and be consistent with it. It would also be helpful to have a consistent class schedule each semester to make advising much smoother. 

VII) Allow more time and support to complete a quality graduate project or thesis 

a. Rationale: Graduate students are overloaded with coursework and internship requirements throughout the program and are then expected to rush through the completion of a project or thesis during their last semester. This means that students are required to come up with an idea, develop a project, obtain IRB approval, perform a literary review, collect data, and generate a product within a 6-month time period in addition to their required coursework. 

b. Proposal: Students should be allowed (and even required) to create a concrete idea and begin the initial processes of formulating their graduate project or thesis at the start of the program, or when they are at least four semesters from graduation. This would give students ample time to generate quality research, which, in turn, will raise the standard of work that comes out of this program.


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