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Campus Current

The award-winning newspaper of Anne Arundel Community College.

Campus Current

The award-winning newspaper of Anne Arundel Community College.

Campus Current

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Minimum class size rises to 12 students

Zoe Brunton
The college has started canceling most classes with fewer than 12 students.

College administrators made more last-minute class cancellations than usual before the first day of the semester.

The college raised the minimum number of students required for a class to run from 10 to 12. Last semester, classes ran with a minimum of 10 students, and in years past, classes ran with just eight. 

Vice President for Learning Tanya Millner said small class sizes do not use faculty time efficiently, calling the decision to increase the cut-off  a “resource allocation issue.” 

“It’s very difficult to spread a finite amount of human resources over, you know, 5,000 sections of two people in each of them,” Millner said. “That’s an exaggerated example.”

Millner added: “Is it better for you to be teaching five sections of two students in each of those? Is it better for the students? Is it better for the faculty? Is it better for the college? Is it better for the budget?”

Millner said the percentage of classes that are cut compared with the number offered will remain about the same.

“We’re making sure we’re meeting student … demand,” Millner said.

Some small classes, however, might be exceptions to the 12-student minimum.

For example, a course with only one section or a class that runs only once a year and is a requirement for graduation might not be canceled for low enrollment, Millner said. 

“Who’s in the class?” Millner asked. “Who’s teaching the class? How many times is this class offered? Who needs it for graduation? Who needs it to move on to the next highest level of their program?”

Courtney Buiniskis, who teaches communications part-time, said course cancellations are “stressful” for adjunct professors who lose classes after working up to 30 hours on syllabi and assignments.

“You’re not getting compensated for all of the work that you did to prepare for the class,” Buiniskis said.

Plus, when full-time professors’ classes are canceled, they are sometimes assigned  to take over adjuncts’ classes.

Callie Harvilicz, a fall cybersecurity graduate, said she had hoped to take an American Sign Language class before the college canceled her class because of low enrollment. Harvilicz said she never took the course.

Harvilicz added that compared to universities, small class sizes are “one of the charms of AACC.”

Buiniskis agreed.

“Financially, it may not be effective,” Buiniskis said. “But I’ve taught a class with five students and let me tell you something, every student’s life was changed after that.” 

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