MSUM changes affect students, faculty, staff

Everyone has a favorite teacher. What makes them his or her favorite differs from student to student.

What makes your teacher your favorite?  Is it how they engage students? How much academic freedom  they allow you? Is it the intriguing class discussions? Is it because they actually care about you and your success?

It is easy for a college to advertise how their teachers care about their students. It is another thing to actually have caring teachers.

My experience with this is mostly due to my busy schedule, which includes an almost full-time job and school. The result is that I’m too busy to complete larger assignments on time, and my teachers understand that. They work with me and allow me more time, so I can submit quality work with over half the efforts completed at 7 a.m. after staying up all night.

I started this year completely expecting teachers to say, “You know what you signed up for. Deal with it.” Maybe that is just my own harsh train of thought, but I still hear comments over the radio directed at us:  “Best part of college is to not have to work. Kids, enjoy your time before you join the real world.”

The reality is college kids are no longer blessed with the ability to go to school without working and not worrying about a thing. Besides paying for school, we have to worry about our quality of education.  I know many students, including me, do not think about this on a daily basis.

We might not think about it at all until someone approaches us and points out how a recent decision could, and probably will, affect our education.  Many decisions, hidden from the common eye or simply unnoticed by it, affect our lives. Here at MSUM, there are many decisions being made that affect our lives as students.

One of the recent results of such change, the layoff of 34 faculty members and four staff, deeply concerns me. This is a large number of faculty cut at once, and it is the result of a budget deficit. From what I understand, this decision of removing faculty is the last in line of trying to clear the deficit.

The deficit has been a problem for MSUM for some time now. And after the tuition freeze, MSUM is forced to make drastic changes to balance the budget.

At this point, MSUM may be out of options and can only make cuts in faculty in order to balance the deficit. On a more human scale, this means of the 34 teachers being laid off, one of them may be your favorite teacher. While this will not be a random drawing, I am still concerned.

The teachers close to retirement will be offered a package deal to encourage them to retire early, and the new teachers could be simply removed as departments are cut down (not randomly). Besides potentially larger class sizes, this means that there will be less professors here at MSUM and more adjuncts.

A good portion of adjuncts are fresh out of graduate school. While it is great that MSUM is providing them the opportunity, they do not fully understand what works in a class room and what doesn’t; what is best for the students and what is not.

The ending result: We’re removing experienced teachers and adding often more inexperienced teachers, and our quality of education could decrease.

As an MSUM student, what you can do to help is “like” the Facebook page “Save our School: 125 Years More,” and follow them on Twitter.  Want to help to prevent this from happening again? Participate in Student Senate meetings, talk to Student Senate officers and contact your legislators about school funding. We need to get our voice out there to truly save our school.

BY JESSICA WIERZCHOWSKI
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