Summer courses, faculty scarce

Registering for summer classes may appear to be a battle for some students this year. The summer budget has been reduced by about 40 percent, or $2.8 million, causing waves of frustration throughout USF.

Bob Sullins, dean for Undergraduate Studies, said he has received complaints from students about the slim options available for summer classes, and he refers them to their individual colleges.

“USF runs on a very lean budget,” Sullins said. “The cuts hurt more than other institutions.”

Sullins said the summer cuts were distributed equitably across all colleges. The individual colleges were left to decide what would be cut.

Priorities have been made to accommodate seniors who are graduating and then which classes could be taught with the highest number of students.

In order to aid in the offering of summer courses, the provost’s office granted a one-time reallocation of funds to the colleges. Janet Moore, associate dean for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, said before the extra funds, this college wasn’t going to be able to offer any summer courses.

“The reimbursement helped a lot,” she said. “It saved the day to have that.”

Moore said the College of Visual and Performing Arts decided which course would be offered on the basis of popular classes and classes required for students to graduate.

“We were concerned that we fulfill requirements so students can stay on schedule,” she said.

The recent merging of the dance and theater departments within the college helped somewhat with the courses that will be offered.

“It eased this some,” Moore said. “Some of the course requirements for a dance degree are offered in theater and vice versa.”

Bruce Cochrane, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, said the department has been forced to make a number of changes regarding summer, including program reductions, larger class sizes, less teachers able to teach and moving toward private funding for Botanical Gardens. Arts and Sciences, the largest college at USF, had to give a 5-percent cash give-back to the state legislature post-Sept. 11, and for this reason, the college was affected the worst by the budget cuts.

“The cuts affect the income of our faculty,” Cochrane said. “The quality of the faculty is going to affect the quality of education.”Many professors who were told they would be able to teach during the summer will not be able to because of the cuts.

Cochrane said Summer A was particularly hard-hit because it was part of the 2001 fiscal year.

Summer enrollment has been higher in past years, Cochrane said, because of the difficulties of finding a summer job, and he said it’s unfortunate that courses this summer will be sparse.

“Even with the cuts, we will have two-thirds the enrollment of last summer,” he said.

Other students in colleges, such as the College of Business Administration and the College of Marine Science, aren’t feeling the cuts as drastically this summer. The College of Marine Science doesn’t offer any lecture courses during the summer; graduate students take classes, such as directed residency and independent study.

Rick Meyer, associate dean for the College of Business Administration, said this college is able to fund courses this summer.

“We had enough in vacant money,” Meyer said.

However, Meyer estimated a $600,000 cut in next year’s summer budget.

In preparation, the business college’s advising department is advising students to take principle classes during the fall and letting students know next summer may be particularly hard to offer certain courses.

Another issue that has arisen regarding the summer budget cuts is the nine-credit-hour requirement of summer classes to graduate. Sullins said the university has the authority to waive the requirement if a student would be taking extra courses simply to meet this requirement.

“The whole idea was to make sure students weren’t hurt in graduating on time,” he said.

The Florida Bright Futures scholarship, however, has been eliminated for this summer. Sullins said he has been referring people to financial aid for assistance with money.

And while the budget has taken an enormous slash this year, administrators hope the situation will not extend into next year’s summer courses.

“I’m hopeful that this is a one-time thing,” Sullins said.

Contact Lindsay Fosterat