Opinions differ on academic impact of Fresno State's move to the MWC

FRESNO, California

Fresno State students scattered around campus were more concerned with class schedules than the Bulldogs' move to the Mountain West.

In announcing the conference switch, Welty said the school's academic programs stand to benefit. He said, "This invitation provides an opportunity for Fresno State to take a step athletically and also it's another step academically because the institutions that we join in the Mountain West are institutions that have quality academic programs. The Mountain West also has an alliance with academic officers that come together periodically. They work on faculty shared research and other common projects so that provides another opportunity for members of our university community."

Lisa Weston chairs Fresno State's English Department. She said a conference change wouldn't result in academic change. Weston explained, "I don't know what the particular academic advantage would be. It doesn't make any difference whatsoever. I'm already collaborating with people from those schools probably in one organization or another."

The campus is already reeling from rising tuition and constant cutbacks.

Weston worries how a multi-million dollar WAC buyout could further impact the school budget. "The number of courses that you could buy with five million dollars. The number of faculty and number of staff who could be employed for that amount of money."

Freshman Riley Zimmer supports the sports upgrade as long as student fees don't go up as a result. Zimmer said, "They'll play better teams and all but if it's gonna take money from the school that could hurt the students."

Weston says some prospective students may think more highly of Fresno State because it'd be in a bigger conference. But the quality of the education she says would remain the same.

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