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Old 10-19-2009, 11:20 AM
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Default College shedding course sections

College shedding course sections

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Southwestern to offset drop in state funding


By Maureen Magee
Union-Tribune Staff Writer

2:00 a.m. October 19, 2009

CHULA VISTA — To save money during these tough times, Cori Mendez stopped taking classes at SDSU and enrolled at Southwestern College to pursue her dream of earning an English degree.

But attaining that goal might take longer than expected as classes become scarce at Southwestern and at other two-year colleges throughout California.

Southwestern College will cut an estimated one-fourth of its course sections next semester to offset state reductions in education spending, administrators announced last week.

That means students such as Mendez will have fewer selections to choose from. It also means that adjunct instructors who get paid per class will lose income.

“It doesn't seem fair,” said Mendez, 34, a stay-at-home mother from Chula Vista who hopes to transfer back to San Diego State University soon. “I'm worried about getting classes. But I'm also concerned that some classes taught by great teachers won't be offered at all.”

To save about $1.6 million, Southwestern College will eliminate 429 course sections next semester. Faculty groups say that represents a quarter of all sections offered.

The School of Math, Science and Engineering will be hit hardest, with a 21 percent reduction in sections, and the School of Health, Exercise Science and Athletics is getting off easiest, with a 9 percent reduction.

California's community colleges are seeing a cut of $800 million in state funding this year. Many have slashed their course offerings. Palomar College cut 270 class sections this fall.

The state funds most colleges based on enrollment of full-time students. California will fund Southwestern for the equivalent of 15,481 full-time students; more than 22,000 people attend the school. The college will absorb the cost of an additional 593 students so it can serve the same number of students in the spring as it does this fall, said President Raj Chopra.

Chopra said the college is eliminating courses because many do not attract enough students. He said courses that are needed to graduate, transfer or earn vocational certificates would be protected, as would those that offer basic skills.

The cuts will help the college avoid laying off any full-time faculty members. The reduction in course sections also will mean some students will be turned away from classes in the spring, Chopra said.

“There are more students that want to come here than the college has funding for,” Chopra said. “I wish money were not an issue. I feel really bad about it — there is nothing more hurting than to say ‘no’ to students who want to get an education.”

The cuts at Southwestern have stirred more than a debate over a loss of adequate funding. The massive blow to the spring course catalog has reinforced a rift between faculty and the administration.

Many instructors have criticized Chopra for making important decisions without consulting faculty. They also claim that a $5.3 million reserve account could be used to protect classes from the chopping block.

“There is no faculty input around here. Decisions are just made,” said Andrew MacNeill, vice president of the faculty union and chair of the English as a Second Language department. “The administration has one motive, to cut payroll. Granted, no full-time faculty will be let go, but adjunct faculty — 50 percent of them — will be gone next semester.”

Patricia Pollack has taught speech and communications courses at Southwestern College for the past 13 years. Pollack is among about 780 adjunct instructors who will lose work next semester.

“I'm worried. I'm worried about paying my rent, and I'm worried about the students,” said Pollack, who lives in La Mesa.

“What's going to happen to people who get laid off? They need to take classes to bone up on new skills. Where are they going to get into a class?” said Pollack, who also teaches part time at Grossmont College, City College and at California State University San Marcos. “What about the students who can't afford to go to a four-year college? Where are they going to go?”
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:22 AM
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And not one word about reducing or eliminating the racially divisive and money wasting Ethnic Studies classes.

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The School of Math, Science and Engineering will be hit hardest, with a 21 percent reduction in sections, and the School of Health, Exercise Science and Athletics is getting off easiest, with a 9 percent reduction.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:34 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Originally Posted by ilbegone View Post
And not one word about reducing or eliminating the racially divisive and money wasting Ethnic Studies classes.
My thoughts exactly.
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