Department heads and professors for kinesiology and personal financial planning presented their cases to their respective tuition committees Tuesday evening in hopes of persuading committee members to vote in favor of their proposed course fee increases.
Before its introduction to the tuition committee, the proposal received unanimous support from the department’s advisory board and student ambassadors. A survey sent out to all kinesiology garnered a nearly 60 percent response rate, Harms said, and revealed that 78.3 percent of students support the proposal.
Harms said the fee proposal was based off the concerns of students. These concerns included limited opportunity to get to know faculty, enrollment bottlenecks, inadequate preparation for professional schools and desires for more research opportunities and clinical classes.
“Our whole point of this course fee proposal is dealing with the student experience, student opportunities,” Harms said. “So, if we look at, in terms of opportunities, what students had here even 10 years ago compared to what is is now … you remember that list that I showed in terms of students, what they felt was missing? This is certainly reflecting that. The opportunities are lost.”
A majority of the funds generated by the fee would be put towards salaries for two full-time instructors. The remaining balance of nearly $25,000 would boost others’ salaries and prevent the elimination of graduate teaching assistants and class offerings.
The two full-time instructors would increase the number of class offerings, accomplishing one of the department’s goals for the future: a new curriculum inspired by leading kinesiology programs.
“You steal from what works,” Harms said. “This is exactly the approach that they are taking. So, we decided to take the approach in terms of a career focus curriculum, and by that I mean we’re offering three concentrations.”
The proposed concentrations — made possible by instructors hired with the funds from the fee increase to teach more varied and clinical classes — include health pre-professional, applied exercise and physical activity and health promotion sequences.
“We don’t want just another one-size-fits-all curriculum,” Harms said. “We want it more tailor-made to what’s going to prepare [students] for what it is that they want to do, either professional school or getting that job.”
Kristy Archuleta, assistant professor in personal financial planning, made the case for a $50 per credit hour course fee increase within the Institute of Personal Financial Planning implemented over the course of three years. Per the proposal, the fee would increase by $20 per credit hour in the first year, $15 in the second and $15 in the third.
The fee would provide necessary support for graduate tutors and faculty to lead irregularly staffed courses, ultimately maintaining the personal finance program’s national rankings, retaining faculty and providing more resources like internships and networking opportunities to students.
“We can’t continue to operate a nationally recognized program if we do not have the resources to do it,” Archuleta said. “Year after year, we have seen budget cuts that have had great impact on all of us, and we cannot operate a program if we have no resources to retain the top faculty we have.”
Archuleta added that the program is currently in a hiring freeze.
“Someone leaves, and we’re in big trouble,” Archuleta said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Archuleta and John Buckwalter, dean of the College of Human Ecology, both cited overwhelming support for the fee increase from its general student body and advisory board.
“It’s the only advisory board meeting I’ve ever been to where I had a current student say, ‘You guys are charging too little for this program. You need to be charging more,'” Buckwalter said. “I kid you not, that was one of the comments.”
Both fee proposals will be debated in their tuition committees next week.