Saturday, February 13, 2010

Anecdotal but Logical

I was talking to a university student yesterday about her graduation plan. Last Fall quarter, she had three more courses left until graduation. One of those courses was offered last Fall. She took and successfully completed the course. Another of those courses was offered in the Winter quarter, and she's taking that one now. She has one remaining course to take in order to earn a Bachelor's degree. It's not offered in Spring or Summer. So she has to wait until next Fall to take it.

So to recap, the student with three courses remaining last Fall will graduate next Fall.

Many commissions and studies are launched to work on the problem of Bachelor's degrees taking 5-6 years to complete. However, let's just look at this logically.

When you cut budgets from instructional departments, you lose courses and sections. Students can't get the courses that are listed as required for their degrees. Then they can't graduate. (Yes, administrative budgets were cut more sharply than instructional, but instructional budgets were cut significantly too.)

The Professional Actors Training Program said that they will not admit any new students. Heartbreaking, but oh, so fair. The program is flatly stating that they can't serve them, so they won't admit them.

That's one solution. Another solution is one that the community colleges use frequently--course substitution. Okay, you don't have Chinese History, but we'll accept the History of Asia course you took. (Again, not ideal, but big picture, people, look at the big picture.)

Working in student services, I just despair when the students don't get what they need from their educational institution. (And I've worked for several, so this is not a reflection on just one.)

If a course is going to be required, if it's that all-fired important, offer it. Period, end of sentence.

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