Students should not be penalized by low enrollment, cancellations

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Every semester, students register and pay for classes with the expectation of taking the courses they have signed up to take.
They do so after making adjustments in their schedule and arrangements with their families.
As students paying for their education, they expect a certain quality of education and then to be qualified for work in their field of study and to get what they paid for.
What these students do not realize is that the deans of the college can cancel and combine classes at any moment, compromising the quality of our education and our faith in our school.
It was decided that both ARCE 1452, Structural Drafting, classes offered at Southwest Campus would be combined because they were each at only about 75 percent of the required enrollment.
This meant one fewer instructor and twice as many students.
The main reason this is unfair is it is not enforced in all classes or even in all departments.
Many classes are run at 75 percent; some are run at 50 percent and some are even run as low as 3 percent.
The reasons it goes unenforced are illogical and baseless.
If they did impose the rule across the board, there could be a significant drop in classes and possibly in students.
Additionally, it is unfair and bad business as well to promise classes and then drop them when the enrollment numbers are not as high as hoped for.
Students should not be penalized for the outcome of enrollment in their class, and the administration should wait until the new semester and take it into account then.
The administration should also keep in mind that as people go through their education process, things happen, minds change and graduation rates become lower than enrollment rates; the upper-level classes are still needed for those still enrolled to graduate.
Students need and deserve the education the community college has promised them and is supposed to be focused on.
As a college of the community, with students from all scenarios of life, St. Philip’s is supposed to be dedicated to the success of the students; its motto is, “A Point of Pride in the Community.” How can students be proud of a college that is not treating them right?
Financially, as long as a community college isn’t losing money, there should not be an issue of running small classes. Research has proven for years smaller classes provide for a better quality of education.
The state pays the college for classes depending on the amount of contact hours per student. Every class has a different number of contact hours, and, therefore makes a different amount of money per student.
This makes it unreasonable to judge every class with the same percentage of enrollment.
Even more important is that many classes are run with more than enough students to break even.
The classes with surplus should be used to offset the money lost by the smaller classes. This would be good business and more expected from a community college.
All this said, let us go back to the previously mentioned problem at hand.
As of now, two classes have been combined into one class with 18 students to one instructor.
This would be less of a problem if it was just a lecture class, but it is much more involved than that.
The Structural Drafting class covers history, procedure, concepts, program software, design and critical details.
It requires one-on-one attention and visuals when questions are asked.
In previous semesters, we have held classes together with two instructors and there still was not always enough help for everyone.
With the class run as it is now, approximately 40 percent of the class is behind.
The instructor is only able to help a quarter of the class on a daily basis and the questions keep piling up.
If Dean Maureen Cartledge does this again to our second flex class, there will be 20 students to one instructor.
The students tried to do something about this.
They tried to schedule a meeting with Dean Cartledge and were told she was out and that it probably would not do any good.
Then, a meeting was scheduled without the students’ knowledge and so they missed it.
Finally, it was requested that a second instructor be hired as a lab technician at a cost of less than $2,000; the class makes enough to cover this with its new numbers, but it was still denied.
This was wrong and unappreciated.
It seems as though the college does not believe the quality of our education is worth that much.

Katina Hoag is a computer aided drafting for architecture freshman at St. Philip’s College.

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