Extra summer classes stalled

Jared Blankenship and Jared Blankenship

Faculty and administrators are at odds over a second session in Summer 2007 and what it would mean for enrollment, student success and professors’ sanity.

The two groups need to find common ground by December 2006 in order to give students the option for more than one summer session in 2007.

Student support for an additional summer session has been strong. Dr. Jack Friedlander, executive vice-president of academic affairs, said that a survey conducted last spring showed that 34% of students polled would most likely attend both summer sessions if two were offered.

The survey results also showed that 60% of students would consider attending a winter intersession if it was offered.

Dr. Barbara Lindemann, director of the Planning and Resources Committee said, “The question is, will we have enough students to fill the seats?”

That question concerned the Academic Senate in its conversation about the dual summer session proposal.

The faculty senate characterized its concern as “cannibalization of enrollment,” where offering a course during a new session merely takes away from regular semester enrollment numbers.

There are also concerns about students’ ability to master basic English writing skills over a shortened period of time, said Lindemann.

Lindemann also expressed concerns about the strain the dual session could place on faculty and department chairs.

There will need to be more class scheduling and shorter windows between sessions to complete grades.

Friedlander said that these concerns are legitimate, but lack consideration of the student’s perspective.

“The colleges that offer the additional intersession do so to provide their students with the opportunity to complete their educational objectives in a more timely manner,” said Friedlander. The same would be true for City College, he said.

Friedlander encouraged the senators to contact their faculty counterparts at other colleges that offer dual summer sessions and start attempting to answer these questions on their own.

“[Other schools] have been doing it successfully for a long time.” said Friedlander.

He stressed the importance of using other colleges as resources for faculty to find real solutions rather than speculate.

The administration does not foresee enrollment cannibalization as an imminent problem, and argues that the students filling the additional, second-session seats will not be current City College students.

In the college’s ongoing commitment to student success, the second summer session promises enough benefits to keep the issue on the table.

“Offering an additional summer session will increase the number of students that achieve their educational objectives.” said Friedlander.