All posts by Angela Fortuna

Cancelled courses reach all time high

by Angela Fortuna

More courses than ever have been cancelled this spring due to low enrollment at Central Connecticut State University.

“Cancellation of courses is the result of low enrollment a couple of weeks prior to the start of classes,” said Associate Dean and professor of biology Richard Roth.

The amount of cancelled courses for each academic department is different. Courses that are required in departments such as science and English see a smaller number of cancelled courses than ones students typically take as electives.

“We ended up having to cancel a couple of classes this semester due to low enrollment,” said Anthropology Department Acting Chair Kenneth Feder.

“Classes are generally cancelled when there is low student demand, and that isn’t the case for most [business] courses,” said Dean of the School of Business Ken Colwell.

According to Patrick Tucker from the Registrar’s Office, there were 124 courses cancelled this spring. In the spring semester of 2016, only 100 courses were cancelled, and in the spring semester of 2015, 85 courses were cancelled.

According to Kimberley Dumouchel-Cody, Advising and Career Specialist from the Center for Advising and Career Exploration (CACE), reasons why a course is cancelled include not enough students interested in taking the course, inconvenient times and the relocation of the professor. Often times, students and staff are not directly told why a course is cancelled.

At the end of the fall semester, students were given a day and time in which they were able to register for classes. Students with a higher number of credits were able to register for courses earlier than students with little to no credits.

“The big issue that we see all the time concerns timing. Students can’t always register in advance, usually it’s a financial issue holding them up, so some small classes are under enrolled by the time decisions are made to cancel,” said Feder.

Many students are unable to register for courses in advance because of holds on their account, which is mainly due to unfulfilled financial obligations. This gives the registrar the impression that only the students signed up for a class at the end of early registration want to take that class.

“Despite our best planning, enrollments fluctuate over time and sometimes our estimates are off,” said Colwell.

Even with the higher number of cancelled courses this spring, there are courses that are completely full in every day and time offered, leaving some students unable to take that class. Typically, these are the required courses like physical education and mathematics.

Many freshmen were unable to get into physical education courses this year, particularly PE 144.

Like a class can be cancelled, it can also be added, although the process is more difficult. For freshmen, transfer students and undeclared exploratory majors, Dumouchel-Cody said students have to go to the academic department for the class they are trying to get into. On top of that, CACE contacts the academic department to get more seats added to a class or to get more classes offered in general. The more students who go to the academic department, the better the chances are. Unfortunately, this process does not always work.

“It is so very important for students to register for their courses on time. That is the only way that we, as administrators, know what students need for the upcoming semesters,” said Roth.

Students and Faculty Fight for Higher Education

by Angela Fortuna and Sarah Willson

Students and faculty from across Connecticut rallied for affordable, quality higher education on the North Steps of the State Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 26.

The day-long rally involved hearing from legislators and expert panelists, as well as union and community leaders who were invited to voice their concerns about education, defunding and spending cuts.

“Today, in Hartford, groups of people from [Connecticut State Universities] and other various institutions are rallying together with the common goal of keeping the cost of tuition down and providing a better education,” said Central Connecticut State University student Teri-Lynn Bailey.

The rally, held in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol Building,  included lobbying legislators, a student panel discussion and a Q&A with film director Steve Mims.

Participants had the privilege of taking part in a student panel discussion and viewing of the documentary, “Starving the Beast.” The film, released in March of 2016, focuses on state funding of public universities and the increasing cost of in-state college tuition. It explains, “College costs too much and delivers too little,” due to its lack of government funding.

The government is, “Trying to attack young people who are just trying to find a way to educate themselves,” said Southern Connecticut State University Professor Stephen Monroe Tomczak.

During the Q&A, the audience voiced questions, concerns and comments.

“They’re designing the system to fail,” said a participant in the discussion of the documentary.

“The government wants to cut funding to public institutions of higher education which would result in students and families paying more to attend college,” said Bailey.

When two legislators were asked about the issue, both said they wanted to stop cutting the budget for professors and their students, believing that it negatively impacts students.

Students and faculty expressed concern about the quality of the high-cost education that young people are receiving.

Tomczak and CCSU Professor John O’Connor believe that the value of public education has remained the same, even as school tuitions continue to rise.

“The reasons are purely political, not economical,” said Tomczak.

Counselors and services have been cut at CCSU over the years. Tuition also continues to rise every year.

“We have to work together,” said O’Connor.

Events like the rally help raise awareness to the issues of education defunding, spending cuts and tuition increases.

“If you want something to change, the only way to do it is by banding together with people who have a similar passion,” said Bailey.