Los Rios District adopts rotation strategy to keep classes available
Originally published in the Dec. 6, 2011 print edition of the Sac City Express
It’s the time of year when City College students are focused on both final exams and signing up for classes for the upcoming semester. Often, this task is met with disappointment when classes that students need are no longer being offered by the school.
Budget cuts, among other reasons, usually lead to courses being cut from the schedule but according to Mary Turner, director and manager of instructional services at City College, this year’s goal was to build the class schedule around the budget as opposed to letting the budget dictate the schedule.
“We’re not going to be able to offer everything students want, but we’re really trying to go about it in a very logical way to try to have the offerings there,” Turner said.
“In fact, because we reduced [fall 2011] so much, a little bit more than we really had to, spring 2012 is going to have more classes in the schedule than usual.”
According to Turner, the new strategy focuses less on cutting courses and more on how to make courses available. The strategy includes working more closely with the other campuses in the district, spreading out classes throughout the week or putting them on semester rotation, and reducing class size.
“The reductions that we have done have been a result of the challenging budget throughout the state,” Turner said. “We have maintained full-time faculty, we’ve maintained as many of our adjunct faculty as we possibly can but certainly when there’s reductions in the number of classes, there’s going to be reductions in the number of faculty.”
The schedule is decided based on the previous year’s budget and Turner said that’s an advantage that the Los Rios district schools have over other colleges.
Last year’s budget cuts came suddenly and Turner said the district had to react accordingly. She added that the quick action was something that all California’s colleges had to make and that City College was fortunate not to lose even more than it did.
Many students agree that this new strategy is certainly better, even if it means having to go to other campuses in the district to complete coursework. One student said he’s been doing that anyway and he is happy as long as he can continue to take the classes he needs.
“I’m fine with it,” said liberal studies major Mark Tuller. “I’m always trying to take a class [at City College], but they never have it, so I’ve had to take a few classes at America River College.”
Another student said it may be better to cut less popular courses if it means more opportunities in other areas for students.
“I think the schedule they have going on now is working out well,” said graphic communication major Alejandro Argumedo.
“Maybe cut out a tiny budget so that way we can put it towards new clubs and making clubs better.”
Still, even with this new strategy, scheduling may continue to be a challenge because the state’s budget can be particularly unpredictable. Turner said it requires a new outlook for the future.
“We’ve been in a growth mode for so long that this is a situation that is so different,” Turner said. “Because our revenues come directly from the state, we’re just going to have to think differently.”
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