Adult students to protest at Cal Poly Tuesday

November 9, 2010

Dr. Brian Tietje

Cal Poly students enrolled in a special, and apparently cost-beneficial, Cal Poly adult education degree program are set to protest Tuesday afternoon.

Dozens of students from the school’s Adult Degree Program (ADP) are gathering outside the Administration Building between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. to try and save the program from being cut.

Cal Poly currently offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies through ADP. Adult students, many married with young families, take evening and weekend classes as they work towards a university degree. The average age of an ADP student is 41.

However, Dr. Brian Tietje, appointed last July to serve as Dean of Continuing Education, recently told ADP students that he would be phasing the program out.

“He admitted that the ADP program was self-supported and didn’t cost the taxpayers any money, but he doesn’t think the program can sustain itself in the future,” said Cece Teniente, one of the protest organizers.

Tietje said in an interview with the Mustang Daily that the ADP program could be moved to another college that could support it rather than discontinuation.  He is “asking the deans of the academic colleges to evaluate whether there is an appropriate programmatic and budgetary rationale for bringing (ADP) into one of their colleges.”

The Dean justified his decision by saying he did not feel Continuing Education could support ADP effectively. “Cal Poly Continuing Education is not an academic college, so it is not equipped with the faculty and staff necessary to provide these supporting elements,” Tietje said.

Teniente, who works at Allan Hancock during the day, is concerned that many of the ADP students are now losing their only shot at getting a Cal Poly degree. “We work full-time during the day. ADP offers us a chance to come to school in the evening. It’s a great program.”


Excellent comments! Smacks of age discrimination to me. Does his 2009 salary reflect July-December, or is it for the entire year?

eradicate ignorance

I am graduate of this program back in 2009 and was in the second cohort admitted to the ADP program. I have attended both on-line universities and the traditional universities. while on-line universities have their advantages, nothing beats going to class at an excellent and well-respected university like Cal Poly.

The beauty of the ADP program was that it provided working adults a chance at something that had become impossible to achieve, a Cal Poly degree. And the program is self funding. It is not cheap by Cal Poly standards as students pay the equivalent of out-of-state tuition since it is not funded by tax payer dollars.

this is an opportunity for Cal Poly to reach into the community for a common good. This is a second chance at an education for many people. It was for me, a degree 20 years after I originally started after high school. I am glad that Tiejte was not the dean when I was in the program. Thanks Dean Parks for getting this program going.


The Dean of Continuing Education has stop admitting students to the ADP program. This action may make the program unviable in the near future. He says that the discontinuation process is lengthy, but his actions are assuring that the program in not viable in the near future. I does not appear to be the actions of a true educator with the correct priorities to serve the San Luis Obispo community. At the very least this makes his methods and motivations very suspect.


I am a current graduate from this great program 2010. I would hate to see this go onto the trash heap of academia. This is a REAL CAL POLY degree and I am 56 years old. I recently retired from the phone company ( 30years) so I could complete my dream and I can tell you that there is no feeling like sitting down on the field with the graduating class in a brick and mortar institution. It beats the feeling of sitting in front of a computer screen and pretending you are in a “second life” game. I took classes from a community college, state universities, Colorado tech online university and you know what? I have my degree hanging on my wall. I am proud of what I did and think its a shame that after 2012 no more OLD people will be on campus unless they are drawing a pension from the bankrupt state worker fund. I will be at the CAL POLY ADP LOVE-IN AND PROTEST. “SAVE THE OLD PEOPLE ON CAMPUS!!!”


What is to say that this move will not trickle down to the whole university? This Dean is devaluing the education of a brick and mortar. Why isn’t his philosophy relevant to other undergraduates. Sad to see.


I’d say college administrators like this make earning a degree online much more appealing. A friend of mine has done this. She got a BS in psychology through an online school run through Cuesta and managed to work full time during the day throughout the whole thing.

It took a while to complete, but the advantages are enormous — no impacted majors, overcrowded schools, or full class schedules, none of the classes are closed because some teacher decided to go on sabbatical, no hassles with parking either.

Other costs like books and such are still as high as any other college, but when you subtract out the expenses, it makes a lot of sense, specially for an older student who has to work for a living too.

Now she wants to go for a Master’s online and possibly even a PhD someday.


An online degree is generally not nearly as valued as an in person degree, i. e. the ADP program. Furthermore, many students accurately feel that the intimacy of a classroom setting and the interaction between students and instructors is extremely valuable in education. Students in this area have the option to do online degrees but those enrolled in the ADP have obviously not chosen to get a degree online. We need to have access to education and different programs available as much as possible, especially when Cal Poly should be offering more programs to the local public, not just the younger students who pass through. This is a public University trying to shut more of the public out.


Since when did public education become about profit?

Regardless of it’s size small or large, you have a program that is paying for itself. However, you have a lazy administrator phasing out the program because he dose not think it will be profitable and worth his time in the future!

A adult student working his way through college while earning a living and real world experience is worth 100x more to society than Daddy’s drunk student who has yet to learn the value of earning a buck.

The discipline it takes for these full time working adult students to achieve success, develops them into people far more valuable and marketable to employers and far more likely to go on to successful careers.


If the program is not an academic program then what degree do individuals receive? It sounds as though the Dean may be looking for a way to make the program more robust by partnering with another college within Cal Poly, right? If that is the case, and if the other college within Cal Poly continued to hold classes during adult-friendly hours, everyone could actually win. This is an interesting dilemma, though…I write a monthly newsletter for adult students and their institutions. I just might use this issue as a basis for my lead article this month. (go to and sign up for the newsletter)

Good luck to everyone involved in this decision. Given the Lumina “Big Goal” (60% of Americans with post-secondary degrees by 2025) and other initiatives, adult degree completion programs are essential to the recovery and sustainability of our economy. I wish you all the best as you work through this issue.


It is an academic program. Students in the ADP receive a Bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, similar to a Liberal Studies degree. When the dean says he is looking to partner the program with another college, he is blowing out hot air. No college currently has money to add another program, the ADP is completely self-supporting, students pay a much higher tuition than traditional students and the Government does NOT subsidize tuition or costs at all. This new dean has a business/marketing background, and this doesn’t fit his “business plan” for the College of Continuing Education. Brian Tietje is the wrong guy for the job, he should not have been hired to run this College. I’d like to see this protest successful and the Dean’s proposal sent back to his desk, and then send Tietje packing as well.


The program is an academic program. By resolution and CSU executive order the program must be financially self-supporting and will not use any State General Fund monies. The program is financially self supporting and since inception in 2004 has been successful. Students enrolled in the program must apply for admission like any other Cal Poly student. Admission is not free. The cost is a hefty $300/unit (one class is 4 units). Classes are held on Cal Poly Campus in the evenings and weekends to accommodate the adult student’s schedule and ensures that adult students do not displace the other 18-22 y/o traditional undergrad student population.

According to Cal Poly “Working adults living on the Central Coast have limited access to an undergraduate, bachelor’s level degree program. Their options are to either attend a private university or complete their degrees via distance learning. The program … advances Cal Poly’s service mission by offering to the residents of the region a degree program designed specifically for working adults.” There are over 50 such degree programs currently being offered by other CSU campuses. This isn’t anything “new” or “different”. The only thing “new” or “different” is the Dean who arrived in July and wants to axe the program, although he is interested in replacing it with a master’s degree program at a higher cost to the student.

Hopefully Cal Poly won’t axe a program that does a lot of good work and doesn’t cost the university anything.


Lazy administrator. Get off your butt and figure out a plan to get this to work. These people are trying to better themselves while working full time and it isn’t easy.


At least the dean is looking forward rather than just reacting. However, if he truly believes there are challenges in meeting the needs of the program going forward, then plan for those challenges now rather than saying it may be too difficult so lets give up in advance. This ain’t rocket science!