Commentary by Doug Weiss, Advanced Technology Department Faculty
I know the Electronic Technology program is expensive and I know enrollment has been falling. That is why, over the last two years, I asked my dean on over three occasions if he wanted us to start efficiency measures. The requests were ignored.
Just to be clear, ET has been through several budget crises in the past where we survived by using proven cost-cutting techniques. But when we were told that we were being cut, of the four managers I talked to about increasing efficiency, no one would listen. On the basis of a report written by Andrea Newton, a now retired LCC administrator, our instructors were not keeping up with industry and there were not any jobs for our graduates. We were told that our program simply was not worth saving.
The report was supposed to be based on four interviews but according to Newton, it was actually three. Two that were interviewed, John Zemek and Jon Eeds have hired LCC ET graduates and gave us letters of support to present to the board. The third interviewee was Eric Scofield of Scofield Electric. He doesn’t hire electronic technicians like John and Jon.
He hires electricians which we also train (that is why Eric was on our now defunct advisory committee). But Andrea wasn’t interviewing about electricians, she was interviewing about electronic technicians. Eric does not employ electronic technicians. So why did Andrea choose Eric to interview?
She was given the name by my dean. That’s the same dean who ignored my requests for turning on program efficiencies. By the way, Eric was one of the interviewees who spoke in anger at the April board meeting. He didn’t like that his words were used against ET.
What many people don’t realize is that ET is tied to several programs on campus. Apprenticeship, Renewable Energy, CIT and Drafting all use ET classes which will continue to be taught. There were 17 classes in the ET program and nine of them will still be offered after the program ends.
Is it ironic that the majority of the ET classes will still be taught only without ET students? Possibly, but still the administration and board have closed a program for the cost of the eight classes that will no longer be taught. It would have been even less than that were we allowed to turn on our efficiencies.