Cancelled courses cause concern

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Low enrollment on campus effects everyone: staff, students and the school itself.

Many courses are cancelled due to low enrollment. One such course was the Philosophy of Religion course, PHILO 045, offered by Dr. Ramon Sewnath for Fall 2016.

The course, which is offered once a year, will not be offered the coming Fall due to low enrollment concerns and was cancelled last Fall as well. The course, however, will return in 2018 in the Fall.

Another course that wasn’t offered this semester was Asian Philosophy, PHILO 50. It’s slated to be offered again next spring.

The English department saw several courses cancelled as well, including Reading 99, which is separated into three sections, based on ability. A Shakespeare course, ENG 45,  and a Study in Poetry course were cancelled this semester.

These courses will hopefully be offered again after some revision, such as the name and descriptions, to make it more attractive to prospective students.

Dr. Sarah Antinora said the reason as to why these courses may not be filling up is due to students thinking they’re for “English majors only,” when that isn’t the case.

Sheli Ayers, Acting Dean of Languages, Library and Learning Resources, gave more insight as to why courses are cancelled.

“The minimum amount of students for a course is 22 students,” she said, but under circumstances a course with 13 may be allowed to run.

Thirty-five students is the optimal level as that is where the college breaks even in paying for running the course. Courses that fill up the forums tend to pay off for the other courses that don’t fill up as much.

As for online courses the cap is 35 students and its minimum 22.

As unemployment goes on a downtrend, enrollment falls with it. When unemployment rises, people go back to school to be able to educate themselves in new fields.

“In 2009-2010, during the recession, a lot of programs and courses had to be cut,” Ayers said, such as English Second Language “and are still being rebuilt.”

Contract courses with other schools such as adult education, dual enrollment, like with Middle College High School and other high schools, allow for more students to enroll into the college, giving it more funding and more options for its students.

Another issue that is found is that students tend to only go to school between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., forcing the college to cut out many of its afternoon classes. This may be due to the busy lifestyle of students with jobs and family to take care of outside of school.

Ayers also said there may be a coming economic downturn that may affect enrollment as some lesser filled courses may need to be cut. Ayers said community outreach and marketing towards students will need to be worked on in order to fill more courses.

As Kevin Chuor, a student on campus, put it; if it were a requirement like “English or math, I’d be irritated.”