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Math may not add up for cutting German and Italian

Tobey Veenstra
The Broadside

While students studying German and Italian at Central Oregon Community College may know they won’t be able to continue taking these courses here, students and instructors are wondering if the reason for ending them was sensible.

After the college’s state funding decreased and tough decisions were called for, COCC’s administration chose to cut the programs with a lower number of enrolled students, according to Instructional Dean Diana Glenn.

“It’s unfortunate … but cutting the smallest programs allows us to help the programs with the large waiting lists,” said Glenn. “It’s all dollars and cents.”

The Italian and German programs had low student registration numbers compared to French and Spanish, COCC’s other language programs, which is why COCC decided to discontinue them, according to Glenn.

At face value though these numbers can be misleading, said Marlena Bellavia, an instructor teaching German and French at COCC.

During the 2009-10 school year, 712 students registered for first year Spanish courses, whereas first year Italian counted 79 students and first year German counted 65, according to documents provided by Glenn.

Bellavia pointed out, however, that the number of courses available for each language was not taken into account. The 712 Spanish students counted were from 42 courses, averaging at 17 students per course while the three German and four Italian courses averaged higher with 22 and 20 students per course respectively.

Bellavia also thinks that second year German’s registration numbers were low because the courses weren’t listed on COCC’s schedule.

“Those who have enrolled were able to do so because they petitioned for the course to be offered,” said Bellavia. “I believe that had the course been posted on the schedule there would have been a greater enrollment.”

Along with the registration numbers, Bellavia is also worried about the students currently registered in German and Italian courses.

“I wish the institution would have taken the students’ academic plans into consideration by phasing out the programs rather than cutting midway,” said Bellavia. “Students who are continuing on at a university will not be able to complete their second year requirement here.”

COCC German student Samantha Bainbridge has recently started a petition in order to retain the language programs until the current first year students finish their second year.

“We respectfully ask the [department of deans] to allow the current students to finish the second year and then phase out the programs,” reads the petition.

“I took it as kind of an insult … I was pretty upset about,” said Bainbridge. “At least let the students finish.”

The petition can be signed in front of Barber Library on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., or outside of the Deschutes building on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. It will available for students to sign until April 24.
Tobey Veenstra can be reached at tveenstra@cocc.edu

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