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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Co Op Ed: A thing of the past?

Due to massive cuts to the community college community in California, Pierce College has been forced to cancel many of its programs. But when the Cooperative Education website was taken down, some faculty members took it personal.


The website that was used by many students was created and copyrighted by Instructor of Business Administration Richard Skidmore. He, along with the Director of Cooperative Education Ronal Smetzer, believe that the website was taken down with malicious intent.


Earlier in the semester, the Pierce College Job Center was closed after 20 years of operation. The job center was run by Skidmore, and was a service provided to help students develop skills to find work. Skidmore also created and operated the website for the job center.


Before the center was closed, campus administration requested use of this copyrighted site for the Career and Transfer Center, according to Skidmore.


“When the Job Center closed,  [college president] Kathleen Burke-Kelly requested that Skidmore hand over the (job center) website,” Smetzer said. “Skidmore told them they could lease it.”


Shortly after this conversation, the Cooperative Education (Co Op Ed) website was taken down.


“They are angry because I copyright everything I do,” Skidmore said. “They are willing to burn students and faculty because of it.”


The Co Op Ed website was created by Skidmore to streamline the process of helping students and faculty in the program to communicate.The overall goal was to assess students’ progress.


Students would fill out information on the site, including student I.D. numbers, job location and their personal assessment of the job site in which they are working.


They would then include their hours worked, and feedback would be provided by the professor.


When the site was shut down by Pierce administration, students were unable to complete their assignments.


The site was taken down to be updated, Burke-Kelly said.


“The site has been up since the late 80s,” Burke-Kelly said. “After we had taken it down, we realized that the site was collecting information that violated the Right to Privacy Act.”


The Family Educational Right to Privacy Act refers to the “Conditions for availability of funds to educational agencies or institutions.”


“All the information that the instructor needed was given to him,” Burke-Kelly said.


But Smetzer maintains that the site is well within legal parameters.


“Richard had the website evaluated though a program created by Microsoft, and it came back 92 percent compliant, whereas our own Pierce College website was in the low 80 percent,” Smetzer said.


The website was taken down right before spring break. Smetzer met with vice president of student services Joy McCaslin during the break to discuss the closing of the site.


During this meeting, Smetzer said he informed McCaslin of the rating the website received.


McCaslin responded that there were different ways to measure ratings, Smetzer said.


“I’ve been told that the President has decided that the Co Op Ed program will be on hiatus for the fall, and a viability study has been approved of the program,” Smetzer said. “This is usually a precursor to a program being closed.”


President Burke-Kelly confirmed that the program would not be offered in the fall.


“It has been suggested to me that, if a student needs Co Op Ed for their program, there are faculty members that would be willing to offer it as a directive study,” Burke-Kelly said. “[This] means that faculty wouldn’t be compensated. They would be doing it on a voluntary basis.”


Skidmore believes this is a malicious attack, and that the college is doing itself a disservice. The Co Op Ed program is projected to bring in $290,541.34.


He estimates that the college will only save $39,000 in faculty revenue not offering the program, which means the college would be losing $251,541.34 by not offering the program.


“Co Op Ed has been very profitable for the college,” Skidmore said in an email sent to the Roundup staff. “Closing the department is not a financial decision, even in these hard economic times.”


The hours from the Co Op Ed program will be shifted to other departments, Burke-Kelly said.


“Any department can say they make this much or that much,” said McCaslin. “But if you shift those hours to another department the college has not lost anything.”



Revenue   and Cost Analysis of Cooperative Work Experience Fall 2010 to Fall 2012
**Projection   for Academic year 2012/2013          

Active Students at   Census

Student Generated   FTE Per Title V

Gross Revenue   Generation on Enrollment at Census

State Required   Faculty FTE per Title V

Estimated Faculty   Cost per Title V

College Provided   FTE

Estimated College   Paid faculty based on $65 per Hour

NetRevenueCollege& District

Lost Revenue

Fall   2010







 $     42,900.00    
Spring   2011





 $ 91,260.00


 $     42,900.00    
Totals   for Year







 $     85,800.00  $477,446.67  
Fall   2011





 $ 45,630.00


 $     35,100.00    $ (155,133.33)
Spring   2012





 $ 50,700.00


 $     35,100.00    $ (117,572.00)
Totals   for Year





 $ 96,330.00 


 $   70,200.00     $220,341.34  $ (272,705.33)



 $               –   


 $               –   


 $              –      $ (290,541.34)
          Academic   Year

 2010 : 2012


          Calculated   cost savings in reduced faculty hours  

 $     15,600.00

 $ 39,000.00  
Kevin Reynolds
Editor in Chief Spring 2012

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