The college tuition committees for the Department of Kinesiology and the Institute of Personal Financial Planning both voted to approve course fee increases proposed by their professors and department heads Tuesday evening.
Craig Harms, department head, said the fee will provide funds to hire two new instructors, which would, in turn allow for the department to offer new sources, certifications and internship programs through a revised curriculum.
“In terms of for the buck, the $15 per credit hour course fee that we’re proposing, we think that there’s a lot of opportunities to enhance the student experience,” Harms said.
In recent years, the kinesiology department has seen an enrollment decline in sophomores, juniors and seniors, Harms said. The benefits of the fee increase will go towards combating this drop and improving student retention.
Jesse Stein, the graduate student representative on the committee, said the career-oriented concentrations of the proposed curriculum will allow the department to keep with other program in the nation.
“I come from the University of Minnesota where they offer these career-based tracks,” Stein said. “In order to be competitive with these programs, to get students into the jobs they want to be in, these are the changes that need to be made in order to keep up.”
During the debate on the proposal, multiple committee members said the faculty that could be hired using funds from the fee increase will greatly improve students’ opportunities to get acquainted with their professors.
Mary Morrissey, senior in kinesiology, said she will apply to physical therapy school later this year. She said she is concerned about the quality of the letters of recommendation she will need to apply.
“I’m kind of running into the issue of, do I have good enough relationships with these professors to feel comfortable to go up to them and say, ‘I really need a rec letter?'” Morrissey said. “Do I feel like they will say yes? Absolutely. Do I feel that recommendation letter is going to portray me as the student that I truly am? I don’t know.”
Before the fee was introduced to the tuition committee, a survey sent out to all kinesiology garnered a nearly 60 percent response rate and revealed that 78.3 percent of students support the proposal.
“We have almost 80 percent of students who want this increase so they can have the opportunity to take the courses, to have these career-based majors, to have these scholarships that we’re going to offer,” Stein said. “The students have spoken. They want this.”
Also on Tuesday night, the tuition committee for the Institute of Personal Financial Planning voted 11-2 in favor of a $50 per credit hour course fee increase, implemented over the course of three years. Per the proposal, the fee will increase by $20 per credit hour in the first year, $15 in the second and $15 in the third.
Kristy Archuleta, assistant professor in personal financial planning, said last week that 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.
The proposal was met with little debate.
“I don’t think there’s a debate on the table,” Jack Giardino, junior in personal financial planning, said.
The discussion among representatives on the committee focused on maintaining the program’s national ranking in the face of decreasing faculty paired with enrollment numbers approaching capacity.
Christina Glenn, doctoral personal financial planning student, said the high student-to-faculty ratio is weighing negatively on professors.
“They only have so much time to spend with students throughout the day for teaching and research and all the extra things that they do with these students,” Glenn said. “They’ve planned career connection days, they take [students] to conferences, and, when it comes down to it, we don’t want our professors to be so burned out that they go some place else or that they’re not giving us the quality that we deserve. We have great quality now, but I can see where it’s starting to wear on people.”
The loss of top-level faculty would result in loss of students, especially those who are from out of state, Giardino, who is from southeast Iowa, said.
“I never heard of K-State,” Giardino said. “Don’t care about K-State. I got pointed in this direction solely because of this program. If you don’t sustain — if not improve — this program, you’re not going to see people like me coming to this program.”
The votes of both tuition committees will now be reviewed before being sent to the university president.