Nov 062003
 
Authors: Christiana Nelson

After three years at CSU, Jason Duggan expects that class

section cuts will keep him from graduating for a few more

years.

“Art classes cut off at about 20 people because the room is so

small,” said Duggan, a junior open-option art major. “The classes

only have one or two sections this semester, and they will be full

by the time I get to register. I don’t know what I’m going to

take.”

CSU’s enrollment has reached a record high of 25,042 students

this year while colleges are simultaneously decreasing class

section availability.

Reduction in the number of class sections available to students

is attributed to budget cuts. All of the CSU colleges have

experienced a decrease in available funds since last school year

due to state budget cuts, and many students are feeling the

effects.

For Kyle Hassenstab, a sophomore chemical engineering major, the

combination of increased enrollment and decreased class sections

presents the possibility of a delayed graduation date.

“I basically take 18 credits per semester and will still get out

in four and a half years, so I have to stick to a tight schedule

and this could have a really big impact on me and when I can

graduate,” Hassenstab said. “If nothing else, it is hard to put a

schedule together with that many credits.”

University officials have confidence that budget cuts will not

delay students from graduating.

Nancy Hartley, dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences,

represented the viewpoint of many colleges on campus when she said

that CSU students have to be diligent if they do not want section

cuts to delay their graduation.

“Of course, these cuts impact section size and course offerings

in the college,” Hartley said. “Most of our students can complete

their majors in four years if they take full loads each

semester.”

The aspect of taking a full course load does not worry Joshua

Pickett, a sophomore open-option seeking technical journalism

major, but he is concerned that section cuts will prevent him from

enrolling in the course he needs to declare a major.

“I have to get into JT210 (Newswriting) before I can even

declare my major,” Pickett said. “I don’t think I’ll get in this

semester and then I’ll just have to keep putting it off. The cuts

are holding me back for sure.”

Colleen Wright, a freshman fashion and merchandising major, said

that she is lucky to still have core curriculum course options but

that limited class sections in her major do not provide schedule

flexibility.

“I have to take Textiles and there’s only one time available,”

Wright said. “A bunch of people took it this semester so I hope I’m

OK, but if I get in I don’t have a choice; I have to take it on

Monday.”

In addition to scheduling problems, Linda Carlson, interim

department head of design and merchandising, said that budget cuts

have created an inability to hire new faculty members and have

created larger class sizes because colleges have had to combine

sections.

“The larger class sizes mean that students get less contact,”

Carlson said. “We’ve had to be lean and mean with section cuts to

get the job done, but we are working really hard to do that.”

Gaye Digregorio, assistant director of the Center for Advising

and Student Achievement, said larger class sizes is the main

problem caused by section cuts and that the educational impact of

larger class sizes is difficult to determine.

“The student impact will depend on the class,” Digregorio said.

“There is a point where it is going to affect the learning, but I

don’t think we can make a blanket statement that covers all the

classes.”

Still, Steve Keysar, a cell and molecular biology graduate

student, is a teaching assistant for a biology lab and is nervous

that increases in class size will decrease students’ learning

experiences.

“I just know that the more you pack students into a class, the

more likely they are to get lost in the cracks,” Keysar said.

Despite concerns about graduation dates and class sizes, Donald

Samelson, an associate professor for accounting, said the

university is doing its best to minimize the impact of course

section cuts on students and that students and faculty will have to

work together to reduce negative effects.

“We all have to realize that this is an extraordinary situation

and the university is experiencing really, really bad budget cuts,”

Samelson said. “We all have to do what we can to get through what

we hope is a temporary crisis.”

 

 

 

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