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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    Budget cuts will lead to ‘dumbing down’ of courses

    The Board of Regents suggested increasing the number of out-of-state students (higher tuition) while maintaining the levels or even increasing the number of in-state students at UA. We have had record freshmen classes in the past two years and that has not staved off this crisis.

    Each of the past fall semesters, I have actually taught two lectures of TRAD rather than one to accommodate 100 more students. This has required an increase in the number of graduate student teaching assistants, so that has been of some help to graduate students in need of support (almost all of them). But even with the extended TRAD courses, there are tens of students still clamoring to get into Gen Eds or any classes to make a full schedule. Anyone can see, and President Robert Shelton pointed out at the same meeting, that the result of firing lecturers and staff and decreasing the number of graduate student assistants will be a record number of students stuck in even larger TRAD and INDV courses and even 200 and 300-level content courses.

    Professors (real professors – because the lecturers will have been let go) will not focus on the intro classes dumped on their laps in addition to their regular teaching load. They will be forced to ease their burden. How? By dumbing classes down.

    Instead of two papers in a course, only one short one may be assigned. Or, making a comment in a D2L chat area will earn you the points previously earned by writing exercises for outside research. Even if the budget cut does not kill UA immediately (and it will kill some departments and whole colleges), it will deal a death blow. UA will implode in the coming years because they show no promise of economic rebound. I won’t be here next year and I fully expect that the TRAD class I teach will be gutted and content lectures will be replaced with a heavy dose of films, lame group exercises requiring no professor oversight, YouTube.com video fluff and D2L-run quizzes that are notorious for being done in groups or cheated on.

    On top of it all, the UA may begin doling out four credits for this watered-down education instead of three just so these record numbers of students can still graduate in four to five years. Sound like the kind of institution you feel pride in and want to contribute to as alumni? Sound like the kind of institution from which you want your child to “”earn”” an education?

    As an advisor, I already know of several quality undergraduates leaving the UA to attend an institution in their home state for the lower tuition, so just how are we supposed to be able to entice even more to come? The increase of out-of-state, higher-tuition-paying students will bring in more money only if students see the UA as a quality education choice.

    Christine Dykgraaf

    Near Eastern studies lecturer and undergraduate advisor

    State funding of universities leads to socialism, financial waste

    I find Heather Price-Wright’s op-ed piece a gross mischaracterization of the UA’s proposed budget cuts. (“”Proposed budget cuts would destroy the university we know,”” Jan. 23, 2009). She impliedly argues that it is the state’s obligation to support the university. Imposing that duty is not only socialist in ideology, but impractical in implementation.

    The state should limit its subsidies of public education. A drastic budget cut to UA almost guarantees that superfluous, unprofitable programs will be eliminated while encouraging private entities concerned with research and development to invest in higher education. Darwinian, no doubt. The onus, obviously, is on the university to solicit such support through its plethora of alumni and business contacts. It is surely not enjoyable for professors to be given the pink slip, but education at this university requires professors to bring in private funding. In essence they earn their keep by proving that their research is useful in the “”real world.””

    That is the nature of capitalism; marketable research will bring in private development. But a state throwing money at a university ultimately leads to waste and stymies productive innovation.

    Benjamin Eid

    Candidate for JD, Class of 2010 James E. Rogers College of Law

    To fight budget cuts, consider affect on all levels of education

    To win the fight to stave off the suggested cuts to school budgets, we have to do more than protest on the Mall and speak out at Regents’ meetings. We have to consider the scope of the cuts suggested.

    The cuts proposed for universities are damning, at best, but we can’t forget that the cuts will apply across all levels of education. Primary and secondary schools are facing $900 million in cuts, and they’re already in worse financial shape than the universities. We need to use the scope of the proposed cuts to strengthen our position and our arguments, as well as to avail ourselves of something the legislators might understand and fear: numbers of voters.

    We need to pool our efforts with those of the concerned parents, teachers, kids and administrative staffs of primary and secondary schools. Together, our numbers would be impressive. Statewide, the number of teachers, professors, parents, university students, elementary and high school students, staff and administrators has to far exceed the number of people with no interest or vested interest in the health of our educational system. We’d have numbers that legislators would not be able to ignore. ASUA, GPSC, and other university groups should actively reach out to and work with local parents’ and primary/secondary school groups: the PTO, PTA, teachers unions and the like.

    Likewise, we need to reach out to the business community. Their future is tied to ours, too. Together, our voice would be too loud to ignore.

    Robin Seibel

    Oro Valley resident

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