Pierce renews large-class contract

Pierce College agreed to renew its large classes contract until the end of 2016 to fulfill the high demand of student enrollment and lack of class space within the campus.

The large-class agreement was signed to continue to have classes with 80-plus students.

“The large-class option is nothing new. We have been doing it for years,” said Chair of Political Science, Economics and Criminal Justice, Kathy Oborn.

Large classes accommodate more students, so they can register and enroll in more classes. But it is uncertain if large classes truly benefit the student.

“From an educational perspective, to have a large class doesn’t make much sense,” said Professor and Union Chapter Chairperson, Fernando Oleas.

The large class arrangement seems to be a double edged sword, as the agreement can be a benefit and a detriment to both professors and students.

“As a leader of the union, I support the effort of having large classes at the moment because of the lack of space,” Oleas said. “There is a lot of construction going on, so there isn’t much space in sections of classes.”

Upon renewal, double the amount of space should be filled.

“This is the only college that has, somehow, these lecture-hall-style classrooms that were built years ago,” Oleas said. “Because of that, we want to make sure we maximize the use of space in our facilities in our college. If we keep the large classes then we give more opportunity to students to enroll in those classes that are in high demand and are necessary for people to transfer.”

The goal of this temporary agreement is to accommodate and give open opportunities to students.

“Large classes don’t bother me, but I feel it benefits the teachers more, because they can teach students all at once,” said nursing major Alyssa Mendoza.  “For students, I think smaller classes would be better.”

It was a crucial situation for Pierce College as they made the decision to renew the large class agreement.

“We should be thinking smaller classes, greater participation between instructor and student, and it would be more appealing,” Oleas said. “From that perspective it’s not good, but its good now because what do we do if we say no to those large classes. We will be turning away 40-50 students that possibly could enroll in that class. I don’t think that at this time we can’t do that.”

Large-class professors have double the work with 80-plus students. But they earn twice the money with a large class as they do with a standard-sized class.

“The point here is anything that we do in this college should always be the concern. How are the students benefiting from this,” Oleas said. “We’re here because of you (the student) not because of us, and we’ve got to make sure that’s in the forefront of our minds in anything that we do. That’s the purpose of the institution. We cannot lose focus in that.”