Sunday, August 16, 2009

This is what a Furloughed Education Looks Like

We've been saying for awhile that cuts in funding to the CSU system is resulting in students paying more student fees for less of a quality education, and that CSU faculty are being paid very little for increased class sizes and class workload.

Nothing illustrates this more than the furlough days faculty will have to take off this year due to CSU budget cuts. Gary Robbins from the OC Register's College Life has some examples of what guidelines CSU Fullerton professors are being asked to consider when putting together their courses for this fall:

Change exams to reduce grading load (more multiple choice, fewer complicated numerical problems or essays, …)

Reduce the number of assignments.

For homework in which you provide a detailed answer key, don’t grade the homework or just grade it based on how much work was attempted and then provide the detailed key for students to look at on Blackboard. A different option would be to only grade a portion of the homework when you provide a detailed answer key.

Put less effort in updating your courses or use them as is, if possible.

Refrain from developing new courses.

Reduce your number of office hours or let the students know when you won’t be able to answer their emails to reduce your time spent answering emails.
We strongly encourage you to have an alternative assignment for students when furlough days coincide with class days. These assignments should not increase your workload and can be as simple as having the students do the reading or homework that would have been assigned for that day. In this way, the students will continue to make progress, even while you are on furlough.

This is a very difficult situation for faculty--they are being forced to take an almost 10% pay cut, and to essentially teach 10% less to their students. Student fees have gone up 182% since 2002, and yet California is still failing to provide a full education to the students that have been able to shoulder these costs. The worst part? There are no signs that this is going to get any better, and it doesn't look like our state "leaders" seem to care at all.