Skyline: a foundation, not permanent home
Lea Naqishbendi, TSV Staff Writer
December 7, 2013 • 194 views
The California Community College’s (CCC) changes to the Course Repetition Guidelines have implemented sports departments throughout colleges in California. This move was made in an effect to reduce Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) funding and relieve state wide enrollment pressures.
This means students who wish to further pursue courses in physical education, sports, dance, and others course have been impacted by the change, making it impossible for students to re-enroll in credit courses that students in the past could repeat without any regulations.
Sports departments throughout the state aren’t the only ones that have been impacted by this change. Arts and Journalism departments, for example, have been hit with this change. The decision was made by the CCC Chancellor’s Office with approval from the Academic Senate last year.
The guidelines came as a way to address something the State Legislative Analyst Office discovered when reviewing enrollment patterns at community colleges. They found that about eight percent of the FTES generated out of the system were students who were repeating courses in which they had taken before and successfully completed. They determined this as a “huge problem,” according to Dean of Kinesiology, Athletics and Dance Joseph Morello, Jr.
“We live in an environment where people are telling us that our decisions need to be driven by data,” Morello, Jr. said. “But sometimes what happens is data incorrectly analyzed leads to an improper conclusion.”
He went on to say that, “Data can be useful, but if not interpreted correctly, it can be dangerous. That’s why the Legislative Analyst Office worries me, and I’m not sure the CCC Chancellor’s Office or Academic Senate has the knowledge or background to really push back on why repeatability can [benefit], and is important from an instructional and system-wide perspective.”
There are a few exceptions to the general rule, but the majority of students wouldn’t qualify under them. Included in these are subsequent enrollment due to significant lapse of time, extenuating circumstances, occupational work experience courses, students with disabilities repeating a special class, and legally mandated courses, according to a draft of the guidelines by the CCC Chancellor’s Office.
Those who are members of a varsity sports team are allowed repeatability up to four times, unless they are eligible for exception, which would allow for them to repeat it an additional time.
The courses, which now have been structured as four levels from beginning to advanced, provides the opportunity for returning students to progress within the desired course, but only allowing for them to leave Skyline with a foundation of basic skills that they could master off campus, This is opposed to before where students have continued their development entirely at Skyline.
“I’ve had students that have been with me, starting as white belts and have gone to black belts which takes about four years,” counselor, professor, and Karate Instructor Eric Larson said. “But now, they’re limited to the amount of times that they could repeat the class. So, that has not been good for enrollment because I lost a lot of my continuing students. They just can’t take the class.”
Being that the state has yet to finalize these guidelines, instructors are unsure if they will even be able to continue offering multiple levels of a course, as well how long the current changes will remain in effect. Students who enjoy a particular course but are ineligible to re-enroll are being encouraged to continue taking courses within that department, but they have to get redirected to new courses. This is not without consequences.
“If the economy ever does improve to a point where unemployment drops below 6.5 percent, or students can’t get the skill or transfer progression they seek to meet their perceived educational needs, the system is going to miss all that FTES that came from repeatability and the political support from disaffected students,” Morello, Jr. said.