Saturday, April 16, 2011

Scenes from the front office: "Excellence without Money" in action

It's registration time, and two days after it started, Required Course X is completely filled up for this summer and next fall. I've fielded my share of desperate emails this week and went to our departmental front office to see if there were any options. Nope--no options.

Students were coming through the doors as I waited, and the phone kept ringing. The message our administrative assistant gave was always the same:

"No, sorry, there aren't any more sections available."

"Sorry, but because of budget cuts, we only have so many instructors to teach that, and the sections are all full."

"I can put you on a waiting list for fall."

"Sorry, the sections are all full.

"Sorry."

"Sorry."

It's not the students' fault. I know that some of them have been trying to get this course for a while, and that others were ready to sign up but it was already closed when their registration time opened.

It's not my fault. I volunteered to teach the class this summer in part for the money, of course, but in part because it's something that students need to take. (Yes, this goes against the "put research first! Only teach your specialty!" ethos that we all get told, but I believe in this course and its benefits for students, so I'm teaching it anyway.)

In a way, it's not even the fault of the upper administrators, since after the state budget cuts, they may not have the money to pay for this, either.

It's a living example of Roxie's "Excellence Without Money" in action.

4 comments:

Historiann said...

This may be rather Stalinist of me, but I say that it's good that students know what strains the modern "public" university is under. I hope they share this information widely with their parents and friends and any other taxpayer/voters they may know.

undine said...

I think that's why our admin asst. was telling them about the budget as she explained it to them. Voters in our state voted down some fairly painless taxes last fall (various kinds of sin taxes) because they didn't want the gubmint to have more money. Well, now those chickens are coming home to roost. I hope they share the information, too.

nicoleandmaggie said...

I *always* tell students why they can't have things (like smaller classes or more frequent course offerings) when they ask or complain about them: I always say that we just don't have enough money to hire more faculty. I hope at least some of them get the message... and vote!

Ink said...

This is such a frustrating situation for everyone involved. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.