Editor’s note: This article was updated Wednesday, October 10 to include corrections. The original article stated that the repeatability regulations were approved July 2011 when they were actually approved last Spring. In addition, the original article’s headline stated that these regulations would take effect Fall 2012; they will become effective in the Fall 2013 semester.
If you were planning on retaking that art class, PE, or drama class you liked so much last year, think again. Due to the major budget pressures that have been placed on the California government, major cutbacks will be taking place. One such cut that has taken place recently is a cut of class repeatability, which not only includes the COS campus but all community colleges statewide.
“It doesn’t make sense for us to allow students to take the same physical education course four times on the taxpayer’s dime while we are closing our doors on those looking for a degree or seeking job skills.” says Scott Himelstein, President of California Community Colleges Board.
This means that if students are certain taking classes, such as Art 11AD sculpting, then students will now only be able to take that class once. The government hopes that this will push students through community college faster and cut down on extra classes. This was approved at the state level over the summer and goes into effect Fall 2013.
“This will affect several hundred classes.” said Stephanie Collier, Dean of Arts and Letters at COS.
Classes that have an AB, AC, or AD represent the number of times that a teacher feels a student can repeat the course. But these will have to be cut or limited to one class per student. The departments that will be affected the most are PE and the Fine Arts Departments.
Though, if a student does need to repeat a class then they are allowed to repeat it under certain circumstances. Rich Cameron from Cerritos College explained that classes that athletes need, or for competitions, are repeatable. In addition, if the classes are required for a Bachelor’s degree at a UC or CSU, they are repeatable as well. Independent study and work experience classes are also an exception. In rare cases, students may also petition for repeatability in certain courses.
“We can maintain repeated experience with multiple courses, but it is up to the departments to create the courses.” said Cameron. In order for teachers to allow students to take a class multiple times, teachers will have to create more classes in what is known as “families”. Families are certain areas in departments that encompass certain classes.
For example, in the Art department a family could be the sculpting classes. So instead of having Art 11AD, the class is now split into two, Art 11A, sculpting for beginners, and Art 11B, intermediate sculpting.
Students will only be able to take 4 classes within a family. With this, teachers can “stack” these classes so that they will happen at the same time. If the school is trying to cut community colleges budgets by cutting class repeatability, then isn’t it counter intuitive to add more classes, especially since COS’s budget is so poor right now?
“That’s where you have to be really careful.” said Collier, “Nobody really knows how [adding these classes] will affect us financially.” Collier mentioned that in order to cut down financially, courses will be offered less often to students.
“The other challenging part was the amount of time we had.” said Collier. Last spring, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors adopted the new regulations, and community colleges statewide received one to two semesters to adjust their whole curriculum to accommodate these changes. Curriculum changes were due at the end of September.”From my perspective, I’m proud of how the faculty has risen to this to give students the best experience possible.” said Collier.
Colleges that do not make these cuts, do not receive funds from the government. But though these class cuts are meant to help the California Community College budget crisis does this mean that students are now getting limited experiences? Does creating more classes to give students that experience hamper COS’s already poor budget? And will the new curriculum support the students in the end? Students will have to wait until the can register for classes again.