Computer Department Forced to Cut Classes

Valley College’s budget crisis leaves the Computer Applications and Office Technologies Department in danger of cutting classes.

By Edward Ruano, Copy Editor

Due to the $5.5 million deficit towering over Valley College, the administration has been forced to cut the track team, part-time instructors and 31 classes for spring semester.

The Computer Applications and Office Technologies Department; however, is getting the biggest hit of any department. For Annette Jennings, the department’s chair for over 20 years, it has been the worst cuts she has ever seen.

“During the other cuts, when it was the state cutting out budgets, they gave a notice of how many classes needed to be cut in advance,” Jennings said. “And as a chair, you can decide what two or three classes to cut. You can prepare. This was totally different. This wasn’t just ‘cut classes’, this was ‘cut specific classes’.”

The Computer Department, which teaches students competency in computer skills that are becoming increasingly vital to employment preparation, is being torn apart. Students who want to take niche courses with low enrollment sizes, such as classes teaching Microsoft Excel or the Linux Operating System, are especially out of luck — a good majority of these classes will be gone by spring.

“One way [administration] think they can raise more money is to raise the class limits,” Jennings said, referring to the new derivative from the district which mandates that the average class size must be 38 students or over, beginning spring 2014. “For each person, there is money that is given to the district from the state. So the idea is that if we get rid of low-enrolled classes, and we offer more high-enrolled classes, then maybe we can get out of this deficit. It tears programs up.”

According to the spring 2014 spring schedule, CAOT 009 has been cancelled, a course dedicated to computer keyboarding movements, along with CAOT 047, an applied office practice course. CAOT 085, a course dedicated to learning how to use spreadsheets, has also been axed, as well as CAOT 108, which was presentation design for the office.

Meanwhile, students are left with many questions that remain unanswered by administration.

“This is a very difficult place Valley finds itself in,” said Alma-Johnson Hawkins, the interim president for Valley. “You have heard more than I have heard.”

“This is only Valley… it is not Pierce, it is not Mission, it is not City College. They’re all in good shape,” Jennings said. “This is a cut because Valley is in the hole.”

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