Posted at 1 p.m. April 6, 2017
Science lab coordinator elimination increases department workload
Budget cuts have taken their toll on the Laramie County Community College campus. As part of these cuts, the science department lost its Science Lab Coordinator, leaving faculty to take on these additional duties.
The college has seen budget cuts of $2.5 million that has been taken from multiple areas of both academic and support functions.
The science department was no exception when the Science Lab Coordinator, a position that entailed managing, ordering, and prepping for science labs, was eliminated entirely. This position was a valuable asset to the department faculty, who relied heavily on it to keep their classes running smoothly.
The Science Lab Coordinator was able to establish relationships with companies that supplied the college with lab kits and other lab materials at a low cost. With the elimination of this position, there was concerns as to how these relationships would be maintained to keep lab kit prices at a minimum. Fortunately, the loss of the position only created extra time commitment for faculty and has had little to no effect on student education or any foreseeable increase in cost in the future.
President Dr. Joe Schaffer explained the reasoning behind the elimination of this position in the Critical Optimization, Realignment, and Efficiency Initiative, the budget plan that outlined these reductions.
“Some faculty currently prep their own lab activities, and we believe that the utilization of part-time technicians can serve the same purpose at a much lower expense,” Schaffer said. “Therefore, we are recommending the elimination of this position.”
Ami Wangeline, the interim dean of math and sciences, said, “this will impact the science department directly in that the faculty now have to do the prepping of the materials for their own labs, which is an increase in the time needed to do their job. This has been particularly challenging for areas that make in-house kits for online lab sections due to the intense time commitment at the beginning of each semester.”
Although the cut has increased faculty workload, the vacant position is saving the college $60,000, and Wangeline explained the faculty have the expertise to pick up the slack and the loss has caused little to no impact on maintaining student education.