Gunsmith instructor’s recommends cutting course offerings
According to information provided by LCC Dean of Instruction Dr. Karen Grosz at the LCC Board of Trustees’ Tuesday, May 22 meeting, the program’s enrollments and student contact hours have experienced a steady upward trend every year but one since 2000-2001.
According to Grosz’ handout, the number of the program’s weekly student contact hours has nearly doubled since the spring 2000 semester.
In the fall 2006 semester, the program enrolled 419 students. In the spring 2007 semester the program enrolled 530 students.
The program generated 17,024 weekly student contact hours in the fall 2006 semester and 20,670 weekly student contact hours in the spring 2007 semester.
Martin said with the growth of the program, which runs year-round, it is impossible for him to do all the work the program requires.
“This program and its coordination are far more than any one person can handle,” Martin wrote. “The department currently holds approximately 100 classes annually. We do all of our own recruiting of both students and instructors with no release time, unlike athletics which I understand get at 50 percent release time just to recruit students.
“We do all of our own advertising, the gunsmithing guild pays for and ships fliers to previous students and parts suppliers for distribution. We do all of our own machine repairs and maintenance because we no longer have an instructional support specialist. We do all of our own clerical work because we no longer have a part-time administrative assistant. We do everything else that every other instructor does on this campus (committees, curriculum, syllabi, etc.). How many instructors schedule 100 classes, prepare syllabi, student learning outcomes, maintain machinery, counsel students, perform job placement tasks and order supplies for classes that are not theirs? None. And it cannot be done by one person. In fact, it cannot be done by two. I can teach or do administrative, but I cannot do both at the same time.”
Stevenson, who will return to his role as a math teacher next semester, said the office of instruction has not been able to find any part-time instructors to take on the load.
“The math is fairly simple,” Stevenson said. “If you have one less body, you’re not going to be able to offer all the classes you offered before.”
Stevenson said he discussed the matter with Martin before the gunsmithing instructor wrote the letter.
“I consulted with Mr. Martin,” Stevenson said. “He’s telling me what he can do with limited resources and with the staffing plan. He’s making a recommendation and saying this is the only thing I can do.”
“In light of the lack of support from the administration and the board for the replacement of the full-time gunsmithing instructor who is retiring, I see no other option than to cancel all first-year classes for the fall 2007 semester,” Martin wrote. “That will mean canceling 17 one-unit classes with the projected enrollment of 20 students in each class at this time.”
According to Martin’s calculations, this would cost the district 25.25 full-time enrollments or $110,266.75 this fall.
Then there are the night classes that will also have to be eliminated, at a cost of 33 FTE’s or $144,111.
With no beginning classes in the fall, there would be less demand for classes in the spring, so the numbers would double for a loss of $288,222.
“If the full-time program fails, due to the lack of students, the summer program will also fail.”
Martin said he’s not comfortable with all the doom and gloom, but he has no alternative.
“Do I want to cancel these classes?” Martin asked. “No, this is the worst thing I could possibly do to the college and the program. But I have no choice. I can’t teach two classes at the same time … The district has been advertising for more part-time instructors since March 2007 but has not received any response at this time. Let’s face it. We are tapped out on local qualified instructors and no one is going to relocate for a few thousand dollars a year … With the destruction of the Office of Instruction (our only support) and nothing but road blocks from administration, registrars office and human resources, our chances of finding qualified help and registering students is severely limited … This is nothing but a way to kill a viable, growing program by the continued intentional inaction of administration and the board.”
LCC President Dr. Homer Cissell said instructors do not have the authority to make decisions about what classes the college offers. He said those decisions are made by the college’s office of instruction.
Stevenson said the office of instruction recommended the college replace the full-time gunsmithing instructor who was retiring at the end of this semester, but that recommendation was rejected. The administration plans to fill those responsibilities with part-time instructors.
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