Ivory Towers

Posted on September 22, 2016

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http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2016-09-22/parkland-trustees-approve-553-million-budget.html

“Trimble insisted that the quality of education at Parkland, where enrollment is down 3 percent from last fall, ‘will not be affected.'”

“I would guess that as a student you may have to stand in some lines longer, especially at the beginning of the semester when you’re trying to pay your fees, or things like that. But as far as the quality of instruction and what the students are getting out of the classroom, I don’t think that’s been negatively impacted at all.”

There are many places outside of classrooms that provide lots of really important student support.

One example of that is where I work,  The Center for Academic Success.

It is not where people are paying for fees.   We provide vital support for students:   tutoring, advising, help with writing, computers and rooms for studying, and even special courses… and more.

Our experienced staffers who left because of the budget problems have not been replaced.

We just can’t do what they did.   My full-time co-worker could work 1:1 with students who needed help planning out and organizing their learning, and help with their academics — specializing in the needs of students in pre-college courses.  It worked.

Students who would have dropped courses stayed, passed the courses and graduated. Some have graduate degrees now.

Now we have a less-than-half-time person in the middle of the day.

No.   We cannot provide the same level of service.

We’ve also lost a full time advisor.

No, one person cannot do as much as two people.   You don’t “wait in line” for advising.   There are people whom we just can’t serve now.

I’m sorry.   Quality is, in fact, being affected.

That’s only my department.   Cuts in library staff and our technology crews mean other things aren’t getting done that we could have done before these cuts.   We just don’t have the people to keep up with the demands.

I fully understand that we need to make cuts in the budget. I’m willing to make sacrifices — but they are *sacrifices.*  To imply that the cost is merely inconvenience (waiting longer in lines to pay fees) is misleading and wrong.

Now,  this is just an article — I wasn’t at the meeting.  I don’t know if these particular quotes truly represent the attitudes and beliefs of the board.   I hope that they do have some understanding of the many, many ways that staff support the college and the students– but that they can’t do if they’re not there. I hope they will strive creatively to *restore* our budget so we can continue to excel and improve.   Then we might not face these drops in enrollment.

… And our cleaning crews — they’re *amazing.*  Just saying .

 

 

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