Cuts to the fine arts classes at Lane have stirred up mixed emotions amongst instructors and students. Over the past several years, Lane has been cutting under-enrolled classes in addition to raising the minimum class enrollment needed to prevent a class from being dropped. Dan Welton, Lane photography instructor, believes that this has had a negative impact on his program.
“The mantra when I started at Lane was ‘come to Lane, inexpensive classes, professional instructors, small classes and lots of individual attention,’” Welton said, adding that the minimum class size has gone from 15 students to 27 during his time at Lane. “How much individual attention can I give the students when you’ve tha t kind of thing going on?”
Welton also explained that with larger classes, more students dropped out of courses due to the complexity of the class and lack of individual instruction time. What Welton used to be able to cover in two weeks could very well now take him months to cover due to the sheer amount of students to mentor.
Not all teachers find that the cuts have a negative impact on their classes. Dr. Brian Haimbach, head of Lane theater faculty, thinks that they have had a positive effect on the theater program.
Dr. Haimbach explained that, as a result of class cuts, enrollment in his six-course acting sequence has increased. He says that this gives him more time to work with, and help students become better in their respective fields. Classes that are a part of his transfer agreement with the University of Oregon are not cut, and transferability may have even increased, according to Dr. Haimbach.
“I don’t know if cutting classes will benefit Lane in the long run, but I do know it has given me the opportunity to refine and adjust the theatre curriculum in positive ways,” Dr. Haimbach said.
Lane music student Brandon Hall expressed that these cuts actually make things harder on students planning to transfer.
“I almost had to wait a whole year more to take one of my key classes in the music core — Sight Reading and Ear Training II,” Hall said. “I and many others wouldn’t be really happy about that.”
Hall went on to say that that he thinks that Lane should be providing more classes rather than cutting them. He believes that this will not only bring more students to Lane and expedite the transfer process for students.
Despite conflicting views on the issue, one thing many agreed on was that instructors reaching students was the most important thing.
“It’s frustrating to me because I really love teaching,” Welton said. “I could be retired, but the reason I keep coming back is because I like the students.”