Sunday, October 18, 2009

Governing Board Meeting, cont'd

Among those speaking at Wednesday night's board meeting were several department chairs. Transcripts of two of their talks appear below.

Randy Beach, SWC Chair of English and Presiding Chair, Council of Chairs:

Governing Board Members and Superintendent President Chorpa, my name is Randy Beach and I am the
English Department Chair and Presiding Chair of the Council of Chairs. I’m here to help make clear for you the impact of the class cuts we’ve been asked to make in the English program.

In order to reduce our course offerings to the level of FTES mandated by the Vice President of Academic Affairs office while trying to maintain some integrity and diversity in our program, we’ve cut 21% of our Chula Vista campus English 71 classes, the first level in our
English sequence. Chairs and deans were not allowed to make cuts at any centers.

21% means 150 students are now stuck. They’ve worked hard to make their way through our ESL program or placed into this basic skills class through assessment. But there they will sit. That’s one out of every five students who needs
English 71. By the way, 821 students were on waitlists for English 71 in Fall 2009.

We’ve cut 21% of our
English 114 classes. Now, 270 students will not have an opportunity to meet the prerequisite required to move on to the next level of English. Nor will they have a chance to improve their basic essay writing skills which are fundamental to success in classes across the curriculum. 691 students were on the waitlist for 114 at the beginning of Fall 2009. These 691 students did not get into English 114 in Fall 2009, so the question now is what are
their chances now that we’ve eliminated an additional 270 seats?

We’ve cut 11 sections from
English 115 here at this campus. That’s 22% of students who may want to transfer or graduate who can’t because we decided to cut sections and fire instructors rather than find additional funding through creative methods even if that requires sacrifice from everyone on campus. That’s 330 students who won’t transfer to SDSU, Berkeley, UCLA or anywhere or get their degree after years of hard work. This should not be acceptable.

All in all 43
English sections were cut, 26% of our offerings. 1 in 4 students will not get an English class they need. Is this what we are willing to accept at Southwestern or can we go back to the drawing board and approach our problem with more creativity? I urge you to suspend any new administrative or director positions, put the aspirations we have for the centers on hold and shut one or more down for a year, and consider the budget-saving plan put forth by the faculty union, SCEA.

Finally, the Governing Board has yet to address the No Confidence resolutions put forth by the Academic Senate and the Council of Chairs back in Spring 2009. These resolutions, while they concerned Dr. Chopra, were expressions of frustration that the Governing Board seems to be willfully blind to the lack of shared governance and collaboration between all groups on campus that has led to an environment of mistrust and hostility. We’re still waiting to hear from you.

Thank You


Tinh Khoung, SWC Chair of Physical Sciences:

Members of the Southwestern College Governing Board and Superintendent/President Chopra,

The Department of Physical Sciences which includes the disciplines of Astronomy, Chemistry, Engineering, Earth Sciences and Physics reports the current and future impact of the mandatory 25% (28 sections cut of 109 total sections) course reductions made to the Spring and Summer terms in 2010 over the ~10% course reductions that have occurred over the past year and a half.

The academic impacts of the course reductions are:

1. Between 500 and 800 science students will be unable to take a course.

2. Evening courses have been decimated, leaving a significant segment of the community without access to highly sought, impacted courses in the sciences.

3. It will be increasingly difficult for students to complete coursework in these demanding and critical fields at a time when the President Obama himself has called upon community colleges to help produce graduates in these disciplines.

4. With the dearth of general education sections, it will be impossible to draw students to explore these disciplines.

5. The reduced number of adjunct faculty in these small disciplines will greatly impact the intellectual richness of the college.

6. Southwestern College’s ability to garner external funding could be adversely affected by a lack of success in important Career Technical Education programs such as Pharmaceutical and Laboratory Science and Geospatial Technology, the establishments of which were brought about by several hundreds of thousands of grant dollars from the National Science Foundation.

The human impacts of the course reductions are:

1. Career adjunct instructors with families are losing their jobs solely because they’ve been loyal to Southwestern College.

2. Budding teachers, many of whom are outstanding, will also be unemployed.

3. With the loss of these instructors, we will lose many years of experience and discipline-specific memory.

4. Industrial connections that lead to internships and jobs will be lost.

5. For the future, it may be difficult to replace them once courses are reinstated, as they surely will be.

Furthermore, the Department is dismayed that the community was led to believe that running a handful of course offerings over the summer somehow constitutes a Summer Session.


Tinh-Alfredo V. Khuong, Ph.D.
Prof of Chemistry, Chair of Physical Sciences

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