Friday, February 17, 2006

Santa Monica College Spring 2006 Cancelled Classes

Here's the breakdown for classes that have been cancelled at Santa Monica College for Spring 2006 semester by department. The information is taken from an SMC document entitled "Spring 2006 Class Changes."

Spring Semester begins: Monday, February 13, 2006
Spring Semester ends: Tuesday, June 13, 2006


23 for English (ENGL)
11 for Psychology (PSYCH)
10 for Math (MATH)

9 for Business (BUS)
9 for Entertainment Technology (ET) (Academy of Entertainment & Technology)

6 for Computer Science (CS)
6 for History (HIST)
6 for Music (MUSIC)
5 for Art (ART)

4 for Computer Information Systems (CIS)
4 for Philosophy (PHILOS)
4 for Physical Education (KIN PE)
4 for Theater Arts (TH ARTS)

3 for Early Childhood Education (ECE)
3 for English as a Second Language (ESL)

2 for Economics (ECON)
2 for Sociology (SOC)
2 for Speech (SPEECH)
2 for Photography (PHOTO)
2 for Political Science (POLI SCI)

1 for Astronomy (ASTRO)
1 for Biology (BIOL)
1 for Dance (DANCE)
1 for Journalism (JOURN)
1 for Occupational Therapy (OT)
1 for Spanish (SPAN)

Compare this with the breakdown for Fall Semester 2005 in our blog article "
Pruning the Tree of Knowledge." In both semesters, English is the top loser with Math coming in third place. Business still sees 9 courses cancelled.

Here's the specific breakdown for AET's cancelled courses:
ET 12: Principles of Web Design
ET 30A: Animation Project I
ET 41: Advanced Digital Editing
ET 44A: Game Design/Interactive Play Mechanics I
ET 47: Web Design Project
ET 49: Game Development Project
ET 62: History of Visual Effects
ET 95: Costumed Figure and Animal Drawing
ET 97: Advanced Figure in Motion

Last semester, ET 62, 95, and 97 were cancelled as well. ET 62 is a new course that apparently cannot make the grade. Both ET 95 and ET 97 are valuable courses that students need. SMC has revised its Entertainment Technology course listings to erase these cancelled classes. Fortunately, I had saved the original page before it was modified to remove these courses. Here's the cached versions of both the
original Entertainment Technology course offerings for Spring 2006 and the revised Entertainment Technology course offerings for comparison.

AET sees fewer classes cancelled this semester. However, the Entertainment Technology department found a backhanded creative way to circumvent cancellation of classes. At least two AET classes simply closed their doors to students far below the minimum requirements.
ET 13 Game Authoring I is apparently running its course with only 13 students. Professor David Javelosa's course was moved curiously from the Academy satellite campus to SMC's main campus. I spoke with a student who is enrolled in the ET 13 course and he confirmed that there were only 13 students present on the first day of class. Since this class doesn't have the maximum capacity filled, it should still be listed as an open course but is not. You can view the Open Course listings HERE.

Jim Keeshen's ET 20 Visual Development course was struggling to make its mandated minimum enrollment numbers. In fact, AET placed a bright pink flyer on its walls that stated in part: "Don't risk this class being cancelled before the start of Spring semester due to low enrollment. Register NOW." AET had similar flyers for other courses as well. According to two students at AET, Professor Keeshen went on a campaign to recruit students in an attempt to allegedly pad enrollment to meet the minimum numbers for this course. Currently, the course has 18 students enrolled pursuant to SMC's Open Course listings. Since the course maximum is listed as 24 students, this class is still listed as an open course. Remember that last semester, ET 20 did not meet its minimum enrollment and was cancelled as a result.

One of the ET 12 Principles of Web Design course sections was cancelled this semester. According to our blog article "
How AET Manipulates its Curriculum & Certificates," this course was repackaged with a new name and two less units. Given the fact that is now only one unit, it seems that it was not as appealing to students as the old 3-unit course. It could not make the minimum numbers and was thus cancelled. Did AET's restructuring of the course benefit students? Apparently not.

Santa Monica College's
Final Faculty Contract, section 6.11, governs class sizes. There is not only a maximum size per class, but a minimum size as well. Many of the AET courses close out around 24 students. According to this section:

The minimum class size on opening day of each semester or session shall be eighteen (18) students. Exceptions to this guideline may be made by the administrator in consultation with department chairs. If there are no students enrolled in a class, it may be canceled at any time during the semester. If the instructor is hourly, no further compensation shall be paid after the date of cancellation. If the instructor is tenured or probationary, the LHE for the class shall be prorated for the length of the class. Any loss of LHE shall be balanced as indicated in Article 21, Banking of Assigned Load.

So, from the above excerpt, 18 students is the accepted minimum. However, Professor Javelosa is allowed to run his ET 13 course with only 13 students. Either many students did not show up on the first day or AET Chairman Bill Lancaster is allowing this course to run with far less students than the minimum.

A worst-case scenario is what happened to ET 18 Storyboarding. This is a 2-unit class that meets for four hours a week. The corequisite is ET 2 Storytelling, taught by Professor Jim Keeshen. Previously, this course required students to be accepted into AET's animation program after review of a portfolio and application. You can read more about this course in our blog article "
The Decline of AET's Entertainment Technology Courses."

Now, ET 18 Storyboarding originally had one section taught by Professor Keeshen. Section 4550 was to meet Tuesday evenings. The maximum enrollment was set at 24 students. The course is taught at the Academy campus in room 102. The cutoff was set at this number, as this is an art course with a limited amount of drafting tables. Since this course is now open to virtually all students at AET, it is in demand. A second section, 3077, was opened up for Wednesday afternoon in the same room. The instructor was listed as "staff." Again, this "new" section was set with a maximum number of 24 students.

However, Professor Keeshen decided to switch himself from the original course that he was scheduled to teach into the new section. Part time instructor James Davis was contracted by AET Chairman Bill Lancaster to take over the original Tuesday night section. When I went to the Tuesday night section, there were over 30 students in the course. The room was packed, forcing many students to stand for the entire four hours. Additionally, many students were turned away from enrolling.

Despite this obvious lack of facilities and seats, Professor Keeshen managed to close his enrollment at 9 students, half the required minimum for a course that is supposed to accommodate up to 24 students. ET 18 section 3077 was neither cancelled according to the Spring 2006 Class Changes spreadsheet nor is it listed as a currently open course pursuant to the
Spring 2006 Open Classes list. When I went to this course Wednesday afternoon, Professor Keeshen made a point in front of the students to state that this class is "full." The room exploded in laughter. Over half the drafting tables were vacant. AET has now updated their course listings by changing Keeshen's name from section 4550 to Davis' name and to change section 3077 from staff to Keeshen's name.

This was a deliberate attempt to deny equal educational access to all students in a public educational institution. Since Jim Keeshen as a full time instructor earns far more than James Davis, a part time instructor, he now teaches the same course with one-third the students of his colleague. Not only is this not fair to the part time instructor, it is not fair to the students. Why should students be stuffed like sardines in a class over the maximum enrollment while other students enjoy the luxury of personal attention and space to work? Why is this section with only 9 student allowed to run this semester when other courses at SMC are cancelled? This is again not fair to the student body, but it is not fair to the faculty who are losing their course loads and equivalent pay. Why is Professor Keeshen allowed to handpick the students he wishes to teach when the purpose of a community college is to educate anyone who is willing to pay the fee?

Here's the two screenshots I made for the open enrollment for AET courses for Spring 2006, dated January 4, 2006:

Spring 2006 AET Open Courses part one Jan. 4, 2006
Spring 2006 AET Open Courses part two Jan. 4, 2006

As we've shown many times, AET has been unable to maintain enrollment figures throughout its history. Santa Monica College as a whole is struggling with enrollment recovery. Less students means less financial aid for the school. The purpose of the Academy as a vocational satellite campus is to provide skills for immediate employment. Storyboarding is a vital skill for job placement in the entertainment industry. Storyboard artists are in demand in animation, commercials, live action films, and the video game industry. Yet, students are now being denied this course that will lead to potential employment.

Does the Academy of Entertainment and Technology belong to the professors and administrators or does it belong to the students? Is Professor Jim Keeshen being paid to provide the students with an education or to run his courses with conscious disregard for his faculty contract and for the rules and regulations that other professors must follow? Who at Santa Monica College is allowing this blatant injustice? Most importantly, who will be accountable at the college to set things straight?

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis

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At 6:31 PM, Blogger jitpunkia said...

how can i check what classes would be cancel for the day

At 11:15 AM, Blogger phoenixgenesis said...

The easiest way is to check with the secretary assigned to the department at SMC where the class is held. For example, if you want the status of an English class, check with the secretary of the English department. This is the most current information. Hope This helps.


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