Posted on April 28, 2014

Letter to the Editor

English major criticizes cancellation of classes

Dear Editor,

I am an English major at Laramie County Community College and am writing this letter to communicate my struggles in attempting to achieve an English major at this community college. I am aware of a recent change in the minimum number of students who must be enrolled for a class to take place at the college. From what I am aware of, this number is 12 students. At any given time at LCCC, there are usually six to eight English majors. This poses a huge problem for students looking to study in the field of English. The English 1010 and 1020 courses are always pretty full because those classes are a Wyoming core requirement. Most 2000-level English classes, aimed more toward students looking to major in English or other various fine arts degrees, are constantly being cancelled due to the new low enrollment policy at LCCC. This, to me, is completely disheartening, demotivating, and absolutely aggravating. I have attempted to enroll in Kristen Abraham’s creative writing class for the last three semesters, and I, as well as other very passionate students, have been denied access to expand our knowledge in the world of English and composition. Last semester, I believe, there were six or seven 2000-level English classes offered at LCCC, and only one of those classes didn’t get pulled from the curriculum due to the new low enrollment standards. This class just happened to be a brief exploration in the literary genre of graphic novels, which was absolutely captivating and mentally stimulating. I believe the main reason this class ran was due to it being an online class, which for most classes and especially English classes, has major drawbacks.

The thing I love most about literature and analysis is the peer-to-peer interaction I get from simply interacting with students in the classroom. I love getting together with people who share the same passion in literature I do and hearing their many different and wonderful points of view on any particular piece. There is simply no way to replicate the classroom atmosphere in the online format; it cannot be done.

By ripping these classes from the curriculum, you are promoting the fall of the English major. You are robbing students attempting to better their communication skills and abilities to interact with others by denying them this unique experience, an experience we all pay good money for. You are revoking our “all expenses paid ticket” to opening our narrow world view to other cultures, points of view, philosophies and experiences. English helps develop an essential sense of communality with the people and world around us, communality we desperately need in these contemporary times. I am personally taking four independent studies in the English area this semester, and I have an absolutely incredible and passionate group of instructors going out of their way to share their knowledge and experiences in the field of English with me. I can’t say the same for the other students who have been dropped from the class because of a low enrollment. I bet most students have no idea what an independent study even is. I personally just found out this semester what an independent study was because I was fed up with being denied the opportunity that most other students don’t have to fight for in this college.

Placing higher importance on other degree areas and cutting funding and dropping classes from the fine arts school is anything but fair. I am not writing this to criticize other degree programs; I am simply fighting to save mine. I believe writing is just as essential as every other core element of education. Being able to effectively think, write and communicate with other people in the workforce is paramount. So, to me, cutting humanities classes that teach just this is absolutely absurd.

I am currently in my third semester of Spanish. This class ran and is currently running with seven students enrolled. When I asked my instructor why this class was allowed to run when enrolments were below the 12-person threshold, he told me third semester Spanish has to run because it’s a “degree essential” class. In order to reach my desired English degree, I must complete 12 credit hours of any 2000-level English class. These classes are “degree essential” classes for English majors, yet they all get cancelled because of low enrollment. I don’t see how this institution is differentiating between the two subjects. It feels a whole lot like discrimination.

It’s time to stop treating college like a business. College, and education itself, is a thing to be cherished. It’s a journey by which we can ultimately enhance the human experience. I strongly urge you to reconsider the recent flood of cancellations that has plagued me and my fellow students. We all pay hard-earned money for this unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Finally, I strongly urge you to reconsider your stance on the fine arts and humanities. These subjects are an essential part of strengthening and expanding our most intimate relationships with the human experience.

Brandon Duggan
LCCC English Major