By Lourdes Espinoza and Veronica Hurtado
Although students will start to enroll for the fall semester soon, some classes will be cut from the course schedule. According to Kerrin MacMahan, dean of academic affairs, some of the classes that are on the fall schedule will be cancelled in accordance to the Enrollment Management Committee’s proposed reductions even though the schedule has already been sent to the printer.
The EMC is a shared governance composed of school faculty and some administration staff, whose purpose is to inform the college on how to best address enrollment needs to fulfill the school’s educational plans for the year.
Last week, the EMC met with Ryan Cornner, dean of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, which provides the administration with research to make decisions on strategic, educational, technology and facility plans, to recommend a 1 to 13 percent cut across departments for fall and for departments to decide which classes to cut.
The proposed cut for the fall fits into the six percent reduction East Los Angeles College is preparing to face as a measure to save money compared to the current 2011-12 budget. This six percent figure translates to about 413 hours that will not be offered this fall. The school is expecting to receive, under a best scenario, approximately $83 million from the district to run operations.
Pending November elections, the previously confirmed 36 percent reduction in summer courses, and now this six percent fall reduction, is the first step toward more serious cuts which will go into effect winter 2013. The depth of this cut will be determined by the November elections in California.
Governor Jerry Brown’s public education tax initiatives for the November ballot will determine if ELAC will cut a total of 1,719 hours (1.52%) under a best-case scenario, or 2,460 hours (7.08%) under a worst-case scenario for the 2012-13 school year. If this initiative passes, it will produce revenue of an additional $7 to 9 billion dollars a year by raising statewide sales tax and temporarily increasing taxes on the rich over the next five years to fund public education.
EMC’s recommendation was made in a meeting that took a little over three hours, where committee members, faculty chairs and administration leaders were present to vote and voice concerns on items of the rubric system’s point allocation to prioritize classes based on student needs. Among those present were Richard Moyer, vice president of academic affairs, Alex Immerblum, English professor and academic senate president and Steve Wardinski, chair of the Curriculum Committee.
Those present at the meeting were given Fall 2011 data gathered by Cornner regarding student demand and enrollment before the start of the semester to determine section cuts. After the EMC unanimously refused a six percent all-across-the-board cut, they agreed to recommend a spread of hours to be reduced varying from one to 13 percent for some departments for the fall semester.
The EMC based their decision on the proposed rubric, but also allocated or reduced points to departments with courses that under-qualified rubric expectations. Based on the data presented, the committee voted to award points to departments based on the number of offerings for degrees, certificates, skill certificates, and transfers, classes satisfying the Golden Four, Lab Science and American Institutions (includes Chicano Studies and Social Sciences); classes that satisfy Associate Degree competency requirements (excluding journalism and engineering); and those offering cohort classes.
The largest in-demand departments on campus are the Mathematics, English and Physical Education. However, after the allocation of points, the Men and Women’s Physical Education Departments were hit with the greater cuts.“We’re cutting six percent of the fall and it’s going to cut different departments differently. We’re trying very hard to preserve the Math and English as much as possible because that’s what everyone needs the most of and those are the gateways to everything else,” MacMahan said.
Due to the fact that final reductions are waiting Interim President Tyree Wieder’s approval, final numbers will not be available until then, said Cornner. The hour reductions presented below reflect EMC’s draft recommendations. The men’s department will approximately be reduced by 39 hours while the women’s department will be approximately reduced by 42 hours.
Although the Journalism and Engineering Departments satisfy the Associate Degree competency requirement, they lost points pushing them into a lower priority rank. Those points were transferred to the English and Math Departments. Foreign Language was among the departments to receive the highest cuts by having approximately 43 reduced hours.
Among others, the Art and Speech and Theater Arts Departments were hit with approximately 22 and 25 reduced hours. In the process of this decision making, cuts for honors courses are to be decided later. It was decided that departments offering such classes should have the department chair discuss cuts with the Honors director.
Furthermore, the committee decided to allocate shadow seats for international students in specific classes. Cohort departments like Nursing along with Basic skill courses, composed of varying English as a Second Language, Reading, English and Math courses, were suggested to remain untouched for the Fall. Under pressure, faculty was divided as to what and who constituted a basis for determining which courses were more valued than others.
Speech, Theater Arts, and Broadcasting Department chair Michael Kasnetsis said “The point system from EMC creates a new mission statement for the college where we favor some courses and disciplines and disfavor others. The new mission statement needs to be clearly explained to the entire campus, so that everybody, teachers, departments, disciplines know what the overall new goals of the college are.”
The EMC has only proposed hours to be reduced, but it is up to department chairs to decide which courses they will eliminate. The president will finalize these decisions after the department chairs decide which courses to cut. Fall course reductions need to be turned in by today in order to have the an updated fall schedule ready by priority registration dates which begin next week.
Corrections were made on this story from the printed version.