College Reinstates Classes for Spring

Bonnie Schindler
El Vaquero Editor in Chief

More than 120 classes were
cut from the college schedule
in the spring of 2003, but this
spring 98 of them have been
brought back in order to prevent
the college from losing funds.
The reinstated classes “included
classes in almost every one of
our 14 academic divisions,” said
Steve White, vice presdient of
instructional Services. “But the
concentration of classes added
back were required classes with
large enrollments and traditional
wait lists, such as math, English,
English as a second language
and social science.”

The previous reduction of
classes forced many students to
be put on waiting lists or to apply
to other colleges in order to meet
their educational goals. The
administration looked at the
enrollment figures and at the
long line of disappointed faces
and decided they had to make a
change.

According to White, there
were two reasons for the reinstallment
of the class sections.

“There [was] a significant
demand for classes from the
community and we needed to
increase the total number of students
served [that are full-time
equivalent students, also known
as FTES] to qualify for all of the
growth funds we are entitled to
from the state,” White said. “In
other words, we had to spend
money to open new classes (in
order) to gain sufficient revenues
to balance the college budget.”

GCC has an obligation to the
state to increase the total FTES
enrollment by 1.8 percent. If the
only way to achieve that goal is
to add more classes so that more
people will enroll, then that is
certainly a sound investment for
the administration. While the
college will benefit by getting
paid according the enrollment
numbers, many students on the campus will be also be affected.

“If you assume that each of the
classes will average 30 students,
then almost 3,000 students will
benefit from the added sections,”
White said. Fearing that many of
the students who were either
turned away from classes or put
on waiting lists would simply go
somewhere else, White said, “we
have recently sent out a mailing
to all current and former students
promoting the fact that we have
classes and open sections for the
spring.” Despite the additions,
there will still be a great demand
for more sections, as budget cuts
have slowed down enrollment between UCs and CSUs, and
other colleges and students are
simply scrambling to get in
anywhere.

Schools such as “PCC,
Pierce and Valley are all
experiencing the same
difficulties as us; meaning a
reduced budget, class cuts and
pent up demand for classes,”
White said.

“Students are
searching many classes trying
to find the right classes
available to continue their
education.” With an increase of
freeway flyers, a term used to
describe those students who
commute between schools in
order to achieve their goals,
White said the administration
hoped to keep both students and
teachers on GCC’s campus with
the new additions.

“It [the additional
sections]will add more hours
and a larger paycheck for some
of our excellent part-time
faculty, and it will also mean
that perhaps as many as 50 of
our part-time staff, who lost
teaching positions due to the cut
backs, will be called back,”
White said.

The additions seem
to help nearly everyone
enrolled or employed on the
campus, but he does remind
GCC that there is an uncertain
future with the budget, as “this
is a very difficult period for
higher education in the state.”