Registration for the spring semester at Kodiak College begins for current students this week and for all others next week.
Listeners may recall that students were told the fall semester would be held as expected even despite massive budget cuts to the university system. Things would be re-evaluated prior to the spring semester.
Kodiak College Interim Director Betty Walters said concerns about the spring semester went away after the governor and the university worked out a much smaller cut of $70 million dollars– down substantially from the original $135 million cut. And those cuts will be staggered over three years.
Walters spoke with KMXT’s Maggie Wall about the status of the spring semester and the effects of the modified budget cuts on the local campus programs.
(Click triangle below to listen to interview, or scroll to transcript below.)
In other college news, Walters says university is reopening the search for a new director. She says she expects the search to begin within a week or so and to follow a similar process to last year when the other director was hired. That director withdrew her name after the massive cuts to state funding were announced by the governor.
Edited Transcript of Interview with Kodiak College Interim-Director Betty Walters
Walters: And we have absolutely watched the money through the summer and into the fall. And we’re going to be okay, we are going to exist and students are going to have a great semester, a wonderful semester in the spring, and we will continue on and do what we need to do to watch spending. That’s the problem. I mean, we just can’t spend like we used to.
Wall: Now you had mentioned before, and I am assuming this is still the case that the university had kind of been an umbrella for a lot of things where now a lot of things like legal it and human resources are now coming out of the local college budget.
Walters: That’s correct.
Wall: How is that going to affect things?
Walters: It actually does affect our budget. I mean, we have to be cautious because those are the kinds of things that you must have.
Wall: And so now it’s time to register for classes are the classes, the regular Ones. Were there classes cut? Anything changed because of that?
Walters: You know that I think that students who have been going to the college are following their siblings and the like, over the last few years, I’m not going to see significant differences.
The only thing that we have to watch is enrollment. I mean, if we do not have the numbers of students in a class to make, I cannot continue to offer that class. That’s why we would encourage people to enroll early and make that commitment.
Their fees don’t have to be paid as early as they commit. We would like them to pay those fees, of course, but there are ways that students who do not have that money right at this point in time can get their schedule set, and we will have a general idea of how those classes are going because I don’t want to cut anything that I don’t have to.
Wall: Right. And then in the fall once it all shook out, how did the registration end up?
Walters: Actually, it was almost as good as last year if you can imagine that. And we were down a little but then what I found was that every campus was down a little bit as well. And it was impacted by all of the rumors of losing the accreditation Thank you. And that was not true. We did not lose accreditation as a college or as the University of Alaska Anchorage. That was not an issue.
The issue was with some of our elementary and early childhood programs, and those are now covered by the University of Alaska statewide, just the same as they were–same staff, everything is going smoothly. And we’re continuing with those students that were already in the program, and will be doing this student teaching this coming spring.
Wall: Well, Betty, this sounds a whole lot more positive than when I talked to you before the fall semester. It must be a load off of staff, students, everybody.
Walters: It certainly is, I would say, generally speaking, absolutely. But we still have to watch the way we spend money because we were not comfortable. But we were able to say yes, when someone had an honest request. Now some of the honest and important requests that come to me I have to say no, and that’s hard. That’s hard on staff and students and faculty.
Wall: And so at this point, if you had to say something to somebody, and you can because we’re going to be on the radio, what would you say to students, or to parents of young students, to the community?
Walters: Absolutely. If in fact, your child or the students themselves are interested in getting an education at Kodiak College, they can get as good in education here as any place else as far as I’m concerned. And they certainly can move on if they choose to go elsewhere.
If they get their associate’s degree here, they may not be able to continue with a bachelor’s degree unless they were in nursing, which is the University of Alaska Anchorage program, or in education, which now is University of Alaska, but we can offer them that support. We have the people that are interested in them, you know, faculty members who are encouraging students to go on and get a bachelor’s degree as an example. Working with those students all the time, so that they make a great transition, a smooth transition.