Class dismissed? More like class is cancelled!
By Christine Moukazis
Class cancellations, an ongoing issue since last spring semester, are still afflicting both students and faculty at Kean
This semester, a bevy of classes, including courses required for graduation, were cancelled, sending students scrambling to fill their diminished schedules with other courses.
Some of the cancellations are a result of several courses not being made available to students until mid-to-late summer, as they were marked as pending. When a class is listed as pending, it is hidden from students. Classes cannot fill if students are unaware of their existence.
Dr. James Castiglione, president of the Kean Federation of Teachers, which represents full-time faculty and professional staff, said he finds the pending issue particularly troubling.
“They are taking classes offered at premium times—classes offered Monday to Thursday at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. —and those are the ones that are pending. And instead, they’re keeping open the sections like Saturday afternoon or the Tuesday to Friday section — the times at which students don’t want their classes,” Castiglione said.
Dr. Richard Katz, an English professor, was supposed to teach Survey of American Literature II, a required course for sophomores on Mondays and Thursdays at 2 p.m., usually a premium time. But he said it was listed as pending until it was cancelled in late July.
To make matters worse, in an attempt to replace his cancelled class, the administration
gave the professor a course that he has never taught in his 30-plus years at Kean—and he was given just two weeks to prepare for it.
“They gave me a course that I have never taught in my life,” Katz said with a laugh. “You have to laugh because at this point it is almost comical. The administration has no regard for faculty or students. You can put a slogan on it and plant a bunch of pretty flowers outside, but there is chaos going on inside of these buildings.”
One concern is that if students drop below 12 credits, they lose their full-time status, which can affect their financial aid.
Castiglione said faculty members also are upset that students are being denied the courses they need to graduate and are doing what they can to resolve matters. In some cases, faculty members have taken on students for independent study.
Some faculty members have four to eight students, with whom they meet individually.
“It’s selling students short. It’s denying [the students] the classroom experience that they’re supposed to have in these courses,” Castiglione said. “Scheduling was removed from the control of the faculty and given to the administration. These administrators don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know our students’ needs.”
Robert Levonas, a senior English major at Kean, recently had two of his courses cancelled. For Levonas, maintaining his registered classes is not only crucial to his graduation, but also his livelihood.
“I’m a military veteran and in order for me to get paid my full BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing), I need to register for 12 credits,” he said. “Not only were they messing with my education, they were screwing with my pay.”
The cancellations, he said, left him scrambling to register for any random classes available — classes he does not care for — to avert dropping to part-time status.
Emails and phone calls to Kean’s media relations office, requesting comment by a Friday deadline were at first not answered. Then, on the Friday deadline, Dr. Katerina Andriotis-Baitinger, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, who oversees course scheduling at Kean, emailed a reporter and said “to schedule a meeting.”
The Tower, however, was about to go to press, which is based on a calendar and contractual agreements. The Tower will publish the remarks in a future edition, or online.