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Clark College officials recommend cuts

Proposal aims to trim $2.2 million

By , Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter
Published: November 3, 2015, 7:26pm

Clark College officials made their final recommendations for program reductions Tuesday, closely following cuts that were proposed in September.

Clark would save about $2.2 million by reducing eight degree departments for students planning to transfer to four-year colleges; reducing four career and technical education programs; eliminating all courses in six transfer degree departments; and eliminating five career and technical education programs.

The Clark College board of trustees will consider the recommendations at their next board meeting, at 5 p.m. on Nov. 18.

The reductions are intended to streamline and simplify the college experience, resulting in fewer choices but more pathways, said Tim Cook, the college’s vice president of instruction.

“For years, education has had a cafeteria model,” Cook said after the final recommendations were released. That means lots of choices that don’t always lead to student success.

Clark College's proposed cuts

• Proposed reductions: Addiction Counseling; Astronomy; Business Technology; Communication Studies; Drama; Family Life Parent-Child; Math; Music; Network Technology; Nursing; Physical Education; Political Science.

• Proposed eliminations: Criminal Justice; Reading; French; German; Humanities; Oceanography.

• Proposed eliminations after students complete program: Fitness Trainer; Medical Radiography; Nursing Assistant Certified; Paralegal; Surveying & Geomatics.

“A pathway might be health care, business, engineering,” Cook said. “This is a direction you can go. …This work is helping us define and clarify those pathways, and eliminate some choices.”

In a news release, President Bob Knight said he was pleased the Instructional Council was able to recommend changes in many areas that do not affect a student’s ability to receive a transfer degree or complete a program.

The recommendations are a response to shrinking state funding caused by declining enrollment.

The proposed reductions also would help Clark brings its faculty into balance. Right now, it’s heavier on the adjunct, or part-time, instructor side.

“Most of these jobs eliminated are adjunct,” Cook said. “It will get us a better ratio of full-time instructors.”

For faculty members facing layoffs, a committee will convene to talk about transferring them into other departments, Cook said. That’s part of the contract. Students currently enrolled in the five career-technical programs facing elimination will be able to complete their programs.

There were some adjustments in the recommendations following campus feedback, Cook said.

Addiction counseling has been moved from the elimination list to the reduction list. Second-year courses in Japanese and Spanish will remain, as well as classes in meteorology and geology.

“In pharmacy, we do two cohorts a year and proposed eliminating one; we will keep both,” Cook said. “In networking, we were going to eliminate the Microsoft program; the faculty streamlined the offerings and we went with that.”

Although officials still are recommending a reduction in the nursing program, they are hoping to boost the chances of those who do enroll.

“It is such a hard program to get into, and 20 or so every year don’t finish,” Cook said. “We’ve held out some funds from nursing savings to hire a retention specialist. Everybody who starts should finish.”