LET’S EXCHANGE THOUGHTS: THE COLUMN THAT ANSWERS YOUR DEEPEST QUESTIONS
Sarah Marlow ’08 and Melanie Steinhardt ’09
To rescue the BHSEC student body from the post-midwinter-break blues, Smarlow and Msteinhardt bring you their fourth fabulous installment of the wildly popular column, L.E.T.!
Listen up, because this month’s questions range from prom dresses to Facebook addictions!
I cannot detach myself from Facebook. What do I do?
Smarlow and Msteinhardt feel your pain! They spend far too much of their free time playing Scrabulous or sending Hatching Eggs to everyone they know. Keep in mind, this separation may be painful, but together, WE CAN DO IT! The first step here is to sign out. Go do this now. We’ll wait….Back? Okay, good.
Distraction is very important when embarking on a quest such as this, so once you finish reading this fantastic issue of the Bardvark, read something else! It’s fun, we promise. While we can’t offer a real world alternative to the Hatching Eggs application, we do recommend a good old-fashioned game of Scrabble.
Of course, you could also listen to Steve Jobs and perpetually check your Facebook on your iPhone. We’re probably more trustworthy, though. And we’re better bakers. So take your pick.
What’s the difference between the SAT and the ACT?
Basically, the SAT and the ACT test your ability to take tests in different ways. The SAT is graded out of 2400 points, and tests you on your critical reading, mathematical, and writing skills. The ACT (which is more popular in the Midwest) uses a 36 point “composite score,” and has English, Reading, Math, Science, and Writing sections.
Both tests are accepted by nearly all colleges, and it really comes down to personal preference; some people do better on one test than the other. Smarlow swears by the ACT, but you should take a look at each test for yourself before deciding. Study guides, registration forms, and sample tests are available in the College Transfer Office, Room 406.
Please explain the difference between a prom dress, a graduation dress, and a dress you have in your closet but don’t get to wear often. I think it’s a clothing industry ploy to rob young women everywhere.
A prom dress is usually a sparkly, badly sewn piece of pink satin which should actually never be seen in public. In reality, it’s exactly the same as a graduation dress; in Msteinhardt’s opinion, both should be understated, yet make a statement. This dress falls somewhere between “potato sack” and “audience with the queen” on Smarlow’s dress-appropriateness scale. But a dress in your closet which you don’t wear often is just you being silly! Smarlow has many a spring frock which she wears to school with pride (and she’s mentoring Msteinhardt, too). So wear your dresses, they’re always in style! The clothing industry robs young women blind everyday. If it’s your wallet you’re concerned about, relatively inexpensive dresses are not too hard to find. Vintage dresses are always great if you want a blast from the past, and can be found at places like Beacon’s Closet for a reasonable amount of money. If you’re still having doubts, just remember that you only graduate from high school and college one day after the other once in your life; if that doesn’t deserve a nice dress, we don’t know what does.
Remember, if you have any questions about how exactly Msteinhardt makes that delicious spice cake, where exactly Smarlow gets her dresses, or why exactly BHSEC is void of toner, don’t hesitate to ask!
Love! Smarlow & Msteinhardt
email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
DOCTOR, ENGINEER OR LAWYER? A LOOK INTO THE TURKISH EDUCATION SYSTEM
Zoe Chaves ’09
Burcak, my Turkish exchange student, would like to be a musician. She plays piano and electric guitar and likes Metallica and Jimi Hendrix. She studies with a celebrated Turkish pianist who emphasizes proper form and posture. When she goes to college, however, she will study engineering, because being a musician is not a well respected profession in Turkey.
Burcak wants to attend Bosporus University, a very reputable institute of higher learning, and then she wants to dive straight into a career. Music will always be a pastime, but science will come first.
At Burcak’s high school, Kabatas Erkek, students declare one of two majors in their junior year: science or non science. Students must choose carefully because their decision limits the universities they can attend, which in turn affects their career prospects. Because Burcak wants to be an engineer, she declared herself a science student and consequently has to study biology, physics, and chemistry simultaneously for the rest of her time at Kabatas.
But science isn’t the only area that students at Kabatas have to master. The standardized university exam, which all Turkish students wishing to attend university must take, tests geography, mathematics, and history in addition to the three sciences. Non-science students are not responsible for the science portion of the exam, but science students are responsible for all six portions.
This university exam, called the O.S.S., is the sole criterion for admission for Turkish universities. No grades, no extracurricular activities, no interviews. Applicants do not send in transcripts, write supplementary essays, or obtain recommendations for universities. They sit for the O.S.S. in June of their senior year in August they find out which (if any) university their score allows them to attend. Only a miniscule ten percent of students who take the O.S.S. are granted admission to any university.
In order for Burcak to get into Bosporus University, she will have to answer at least 177 questions correctly out of the 180 on the exam. Turkish students who are truly serious about attending top notch schools such as Bosporus begin taking O.S.S. study courses in the fall of their sophomore year in high school. These courses cost anywhere from 1,000-2,000 dollars per term, and financial aid is available only on a demonstrated-merit basis. Thus, it is possible to spend many thousands of dollars and still fail to win entrance to any university.
Burcak’s career choice may puzzle some BHSEC students who do their best to not let money and prestige affect their interests. When asked what career they wish to pursue, a stereotypical BHSEC answer would have something to with writing or making movies or doing good in the world. In contrast, all of the Turkish exchange students to visit BHSEC this year said they want to be a doctor, a lawyer or and engineer.
But beyond these vague responses are many of the same forces driving Turkish students to choose engineering over music: desire for job security, wanting to make enough money to live in an expensive city, a job that will make parents proud.
So while it is easy to criticize Turkey’s rigid education system and career expectations, it is important to remember that they just make explicit that which we like to keep implicit—that money matters, and that only certain careers offer hefty salaries.
And even though Burcak would rather be strumming a guitar than examining the structural integrity of a bridge, hopefully she will someday grow to love engineering while still enjoying her music.
STUDENT COMPILES BHSEC “TEACHERISMS”
Nathan Miller ’11
Ninth grader Dominique Veconi has only been at BHSEC for a semester, but that has been more than enough time for him to realize that teachers here say some pretty wacky things. Whether they are clever, shocking, or embarrassing, these quotes, or “teacherisms” as he calls them, are always entertaining. That is why Dominique thought it would be a good idea to compile all of these quotes and put them into a large calendar in which each day would have its own amusing “teacherism.”
Apart from chuckle value, the most exciting part of this project is its ability to enlighten students about the humorous side of their teachers. Although everyone has seen Mr. Peterson roaming the halls on administrative tasks, few are aware of his wry sense of humor. When 9th grader Caleb Madison asked Mr. Peterson what percent of applicants get into Bard, he responded that there were 4,000 applicants and 150 seats. “Well, that’s a real ego-boost” Caleb remarked. “We often make mistakes,” Mr. Peterson replied. Dominique says that none of the teachers that he has spoken to have had any problem with the distribution of their quotes. In fact, some of them seemed almost flattered that they were being recognized as humorous. However, on the website, only a handful of teachers appear to have given permission for their quotes to be used, and it is unclear whether instructors have looked over each quote attributed to them.
If anyone has any quotes that they would like to add to the calendar, don’t hesitate to join the Facebook group or email Dominique at email@example.com.
COMMUNITY COUNCIL TO STUDENTS: “YES WE DO CARE!”
Melanie Steinhardt ’09
The BHSEC student body and its Community Council often seem like a stormy couple, with each party accusing the other of indifference, lack of commitment, and failure to put in the necessary effort. And, as with many troubled relationships, many of the problems can be traced to a lack of communication.
In February, the Council recently surveyed advisories, asking for suggestions, comments, or complaints about the school. Among the litany of responses, one in particular hit the mark. The student scrawled, “Stop pretending you care!”—a statement that succinctly describes the result of poor communication between the student body and the Council. Many students interviewed in BHSEC’s halls agree with this response, or are simply confused about what Community Council does.
CC Chairwoman Emily Edahl says, “From the surveys that were taken seriously, I got that many students really seemed to want a bit more organization and a lot more communication. I’ve always thought that part of Bard’s loopy appeal is its ability to shift around, changing agendas and systems, but I do agree that communication is incredibly, incredibly important and that it just isn’t happening.”
Edahl, along with as the rest of the Council, aims to enhance communication by—not surprisingly—building community. One of CC’s primary goals is to fill the well-known school-spirit void with Bard’s “atypical” spirit. To achieve this goal, the council has created subcommittees focused on specific ideas: Advisory Subcommittee, Community Activities Subcommittee, Environmental Subcommittee, and more. The council has organized and been involved with both school dances in the 2007-2008 school year, and has collaborated with the faculty and administration on the new advisory plan.
The annual BHSEC Community Day is in the works and promises to be better than its previous versions. The Council hopes that innovative activities, like a screening of Freaks and Geeks (complete with a discussion led by Professors Clark and Ween), will breathe new life into the tired panel-and-focus-group centered Community Days.
The Council says that this year it has heeded the complaints and suggestions of the student body more so than in the past. After the poorly received Community Days of 2005, a Town Hall meeting was held, asking for suggestions from the students for the spring 2006 Community Day. Many of those suggestions were put into action: student-teacher sports, a talent show, no mandatory activities in the afternoon, and keeping the popular potluck lunch.
The Council is working other events as well. Because of the roaring success of Symposium Day (this year and last), another student symposium is being planned for the later months of school. Tenth grade representative John Iselin is working to get back the student lounge since its untimely demise last year due to construction.
The Community Council has also worked with the administration and architects on BHSEC’s master plan for construction. In an architectural meeting in December, BHSEC presented many ideas for future construction that will be executed as money comes into the school, including a main rotunda where the entrance to the gym is now to make it accessible for disabled students. Classrooms will be facing east on every floor, faculty offices will be in the corner rooms near the restrooms, and student recreational spaces will be on the corners (i.e Mr. Rubenstein and Dr. Mazie’s rooms on the fourth floor).
Other plans consist of a “green” roof with plants to keep heat in and water out, a greenhouse, and another full four-floor building in what is now our schoolyard. The extra building would house an extended library, an auditorium with lighting booth and backstage, and a full-size gymnasium.
Considering the work that the Council has done for the school so far this year, Edahl was disappointed with the apathy apparent in the surveys. When discussing this lack of interest, one Year II student said, “I don’t know why they sent out the surveys; we don’t know what they’re supposed to do.”
It is clear that more communication between students and the Council is needed, and a better system of communication has become yet another goal of the council since the surveys were reviewed. Actions taken toward this goal include compulsory registration for BHSEC emails and the planned establishment of suggestion boxes in halls. As always, CC meetings are held every Monday after school, and are open to anyone who wishes to attend.
In the end, however, it appears that the Council’s main objective is to prove to the student body that it does indeed care.
THE STORY BEHIND “FALLING SLOWLY”
Sarah Marlow ’08
It’s safe to say that neither Glen Hansard nor Marketa Irglova had any notion that they would be Oscar winners when they began production on Once in 2006. “What are we doing here?” Hansard asked in his acceptance speech. “This is mad.”
The Irish-made Once tells the story of a busker on Dublin’s Grafton Street (Hansard) and a Czech immigrant (Irglova), who are simply called “Guy” and “Girl” in the credits of the film. The musical is modern in every sense of the word, and manages to highlight many current issues (like the recent surge of immigrants to Ireland) in its plot. The main characters are undoubtedly based on the lead actors. Glen Hansard, founder of the Irish rock group The Frames, started his musical career by busking in Dublin. Marketa Irglova is a Czech immigrant, like her character. Hansard and Irglova are currently dating, as their characters in the movie do.
Written and directed by former Frames bassist John Carney, the movie was filmed over 17 days, with a miniscule budget of 130,000 euro (about $160,000), and was shot using handheld cameras. It has since grossed over $14 million worldwide. Many permits required to film on the streets of Dublin were missing. However, it seems the legal and financial aspects of the film are trivial in comparison to its heart—music.
Hansard and Irglova are musicians by trade, and met several years ago when Hansard’s band played at a festival organized by Irglova’s father. The duo recorded The Swell Season in Prague, and it was released shortly after Once was filmed. Many songs from the album have appeared elsewhere, including a Frames album, and the Once soundtrack. Hansard and Irglova have toured with fellow Irishman Damien Rice, and more recently, with Bob Dylan.
Two years after filming Once, and after some controversy over the eligibility of “Falling Slowly” for an Academy Award (it was ultimately ruled that the song was written for Once, even though it appeared on The Swell Season, and thus was eligible for the award), the duo performed the song at the Academy Awards Ceremony. They subsequently beat out three songs from Disney’s Enchanted and one from August Rush to win Best Original Song.
After being unceremoniously cut off, Irglova returned to the stage to give her half of the acceptance speech. “This song was written from a perspective of hope,” she said, “and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are.” It was this hope that brought an Irish busker and a Czech pianist, 17 years and countries apart, together, and delivered their vision to theaters around the globe.
ADJUNCTS ADD BREADTH TO CURRICULUM
Michele Lee ’08
Harold Snedcof was initially attracted to BHSEC by its diverse student body and emphasis on writing and thinking. Dr. Snedcof’s interest was further piqued when he discovered the variety of classes in the college program. This semester, he is an adjunct professor helping to enlarge BHSEC’s college offerings by teaching an elective entitled Finding Truth in American Literature.
Given BHSEC’s small size and early college accreditation, the task of ensuring sufficient breadth of study can often be a daunting task. Psychology, a staple of freshmen schedules at many colleges, has not been offered for two years. The administration does not want adjuncts instructing Year I or II Seminars or ninth and tenth graders, but adjuncts do teach two to four college electives each semester, usually in the social sciences and humanities and arts.
So far this academic year, adjuncts have taught Introduction to Microeconomics, Applied Ethics I and II, Writer’s Notebook, Finding Truth in American Literature, and a slew of dance, music and visual arts classes, including Music in Film, Advanced Photography, and Intermediate Drawing.
Recent articles in national newspapers have examined the trend in American universities of using more adjuncts to teach full credit courses, usually in response to tightening budgets. Tensions have resulted on some campuses where adjuncts have little time to meet with students, and in some cases must shuttle between several institutions with no permanent home.
Associate Dean of Studies Michael Lerner said that BHSEC does not fit in this trend. The administration only hires people who would enhance the curriculum, he said, and the number of adjuncts teaching each semester has remained constant. BHSEC’s adjuncts are usually established in their disciplines, as opposed to recently starting their careers. Dean Lerner did feel that full time faculty are generally better for students in the sense that they are accessible during office hours.
Perhaps the most important distinction with BHSEC’s adjuncts is that they all want to be here.
“With my strong interests in American Literature and American Civilization, I became convinced that I could develop a course that the students would value and enjoy,” said Dr. Snedcof, who normally teaches at the New School.
Kate Manning, an adjunct professor who teaches Writer’s Notebook this semester, was impressed by the Writing and Thinking Workshops and English classes that her daughter took while at BHSEC. English professor Lori Ween invited Ms. Manning, an author and documentary producer, to talk to her classes about fiction. She liked the students: “The typical BHSEC student would be atypical everywhere else,” she said. Now Ms. Manning teaches a class that she hopes will make students “realize they are full of great material for stories, and develop their own voices as writers.”
While many students are very happy to study with adjuncts in areas that would otherwise not be offered, some are quick to point out the downsides. One Year II said that students “cannot foster a good relationship with [adjuncts], and a relationship is essential if you want to learn a specific topic” in depth.
Another student felt that some adjuncts do not comprehend how demanding students’ workloads are. “If adjuncts were here more then they would understand more,” said the student.
Dr. Snedcof has tried to adapt to the BHSEC culture in order to better gauge the workload of his students. He assigns work that can be accomplished during a reasonable period of time, with the students having the additional challenge of finding “‘truths’ for their own lives in the readings.”
SECOND EVER SYMPOSIUM DAY SUCCESSFUL
After June 2007’s successful student symposium, Jennifer Cordi, Rene Marion, and Jane Budimir organized a second symposium. This symposium’s goal was to present BHSEC students with a scholarly symposium featuring members of the academy who work outside of BHSEC.
Although Drs. Cordi, Marion, and Budimir were the principal coordinators of the event, development of the symposium was a faculty-wide effort. The broad spectrum of presentations and discussions that resulted was no less eclectic than the faculty’s interests as a whole. There were presentations on everything from social work to blogging to Kant’s Categorical Imperative, and panel discussions on a variety of topics including faculty recollections of the sixties.
A chemist from Merck pharmaceutical company gave a lecture on the drug industry, and a panel was held on the credit crisis. Max Heiman, a professor from Rockefeller University, lectured on the self-organization of cells. BHSEC Professor David Bally gave a listener’s appreciation lecture on John Coltrane. Several students also presented work they have been doing in Independent Studies, and the student acting ensembles performed.
Some students will remember the sixties panel in particular for art professor Tim Casey’s comments and delivery. When his turn came to share experiences from the turbulent decade, he rolled up his sleeves and jumped up on a table and ranted for two minutes about corruption in the government and disastrous foreign policy, employing piercing rhetoric laced with apocalyptic language. “That’s what it was like,” he said quietly when he was finished with the tirade.
The organizers called this winter symposium a success, and another student symposium is being planned for the spring.
THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER?
As springtime draws near, the field abutting BHSEC will yet again become littered with students eating lunches, throwing a Frisbee, reading Plato, or just soaking up some sun. Most people do not think twice about the fact that they are on a “field” made of plastic and rubber and not on real grass.
And why should they? An artificial turf craze has swept this city, with around 100 rubber fields laid so far. The Parks Department has embraced artificial turf because it does not need mowing, watering, or any of the same care that a grass field requires.
Unfortunately, new studies are showing that artificial turf may not be the golden solution it was once hailed as. A host of issues is emerging, including the intense heat of the fields, environmental impact, the possibility of noxious chemicals being released, and the actual cost and maintenance of the fields.
A study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences indicates that the temperatures of artificial turf fields are generally at least 40 °F higher than the temperature of the air, whereas grass fields are usually a few degrees cooler than the air. The high temperatures of artificial turf fields can cause discomfort and, in some cases, burns from the extreme heat. There have been reports of coaches getting blisters through their shoes from the heat of the artificial turf.
Besides causing burns and blisters, artificial turf fields also contribute to the “heat island effect.” The heat island effect is created when grass is replaced by material that absorbs lots of heat, like asphalt or roof-tops, instead of reflecting the heat of the sun, as plants do. The absorption makes surrounding areas hotter and thus they use more energy on air-conditioning and generate more air pollution.
Yet another public health concern is that potentially harmful chemicals are released from the “crumb rubber”—little black pellets made from recycled tires that stands in for dirt in artificial fields.
The Norwegian Institute for Water Research conducted a study in 2005 concerning the actual amounts of harmful chemicals that were leached by artificial turf. Although the study found only trace amounts of chemicals and determined that the effects remain local, some opponents—namely parents groups—have worried that infants could be at risk if they ingest the rubber. The study also found that the levels of Zinc leached into ground water from these fields pose a noteworthy risk.
One of the most convincing arguments for artificial turf is the dramatically lower maintenance costs, but artificial turf detractors argue that in the long run, it will require just about as much care as grass fields do. As the New Yorkers for Parks’ special report on artificial turf points out, these fields need to be cleaned (removal of trash and other objects that need a solvent), fluffed, and watered at regular intervals to mitigate the intense heat. In addition, the cost of installing an artificial fields is many times greater than the cost to install a grass field. Repairs can also be costly: to fix a small seam a piece of the field has to be removed and replaced.
Public awareness has increased as more reports come in on the harmful effects of artificial turf. At the end of last year, the New York state legislature presented a bill to halt further installation of any more artificial turf fields until a study was completed on the effects of the new material.
Artificial turf does allow for athletic use in more seasons than dirt fields, and cleats cannot tear up artificial turf as they do to grass. These, however, are among the few advantages left that artificial turf proponents can point to. Once lauded as the best way to bring more green space to the concrete jungle, artificial turf has definitely expanded the “field” area in New York. BHSEC students have certainly enjoyed their field, which was a largely unused black top until 2005. The question, of course, is at what price does the postcard perfect greenery come?
THE MAVERICK MR. WEINSEIN: BOOK ROOM MANAGER TELLS OF HIS ADVENTURES AT BHSEC AND BEYOND
With its free Associate’s degree, collegial faculty, and diverse student body, most would grant that BHSEC is a singular public school that serves many sections of New York’s demographics, from the affluent to the needy. However, as Elias Weinstein puts it, those who attend BHSEC are “the students who will be the managers. I’d like to get one of those kids who would otherwise not be a manager to join this club.”
That is what Mr. Weinstein was doing until last June. He was an English teacher at the Program for Pregnant Students in downtown Brooklyn when it was shut down due to financial constraints—it cost $11 million per year to run the program’s four sites. He was notified only a week before school started that he would be transferred to another public school.
“I got ten choices and BHSEC was number eleven,” jokes Mr. Weinstein, who has been BHSEC’s Book Room manager and is now substitute extraordinaire.
During his three years at the Program for Pregnant Students, Mr. Weinstein had a unique opportunity to fulfill his dream—“to work with kids who weren’t being served by New York City.” In the small classes of fewer than 15 students, he felt that he was able to make a difference. He prides himself on his students’ 100 percent pass rate on the English Regents.
While he enjoys interacting with the students at BHSEC, and believes the faculty are “extraordinary,” he would prefer to be teaching himself. “I love the kids at BHSEC,” Mr. Weinstein says, adding, “But it’s sort of like seeing the fruit on the branch, but not be able to grab it.” Although English is his favorite class to substitute for, Mr. Weinstein gripes — tongue in cheek — that the English faculty is never absent. “Covering for Dr. Matthews is always daunting,” he adds. His favorite book is “The Grapes of Wrath,” because it teaches us that we could always end up being that other person––“someone who doesn’t necessarily have an education, or money, or a dignified job, but who still deserves the same respect that anyone does.”
His advice to the privileged students of BHSEC? Appreciate the luxuries of an education with qualified teachers. And when you leave BHSEC? “It’s what they teach you in kindergarten. It’s called sharing.” Mr. Weinstein encourages students to use their early college education and opportunities to help others.
On school breaks, Mr. Weinstein travels across the country, following the road where it takes him, bypassing cities to seek adventure in small towns. Last summer, his escapades ranged from working at an onion and garlic farm to living in a hippie van Volkswagen and painting an old-fashioned circus wagon at a junkyard/antique store. “I’ve picked oranges, planted watermelons, worked on railroads,” he says, “I’ve gone across America on freight trains.” Recalling a Mid-Winter Break stint picking grapefruits near the Mexican border, he remarked that it was “worse than working in the book room.”
Mr. Weinstein says that he has been in more state police cars than taxis for two reasons: “What is this white guy doing here?” and “How in the world could anyone get so far into the middle of nowhere?” The Mexican border patrol thought he was either buying drugs or smuggling immigrants, he said. In another encounter with law enforcement, a policeman was so enamored by Mr. Weinstein that he volunteered to write a note excusing him from a day of work.
During the Martin Luther King Day weekend, as he was pacing freight trains and exploring ranches in small-town Texas, Mr. Weinstein passed a woman biking down the highway. He passed her as he was heading to park his Chevy Impala in the Wal-Mart parking lot for the night, and asked if she needed help. He ended up driving her 150 miles to Humble, Texas, and helped her look for a shelter to escape an abusive relationship.
Mr. Weinstein’s next escapade was pointing out a broken rail on the Union Pacific Railroad near Tucson, Arizona by running along the track and wildly waving his hands to catch the attention of the conductor of an oncoming train. His reward for preventing a possible derailment? A thank-you letter from the superintendent of the railroad service unit, and a cool fifty bucks.
Mr. Weinstein’s last bit of advice: if you have a chance to travel during your college years, do it.
“I’ve picked oranges, planted watermelons, worked on railroads.”
BHSEC GRAPPLES WITH BUDGET CUTS: 1.75% DECREASE, LARGER LSS EXPECTED NEXT YEAR; LECTURES A POSSIBILITY
New York principals awoke on January 31st to startling news: The Department of Education had shaved off 1.75% from every public school’s budget.
“There was an email at dinner time, and the next morning the money was gone,” says Principal Raymond Peterson.
The highly unusual midyear cuts are forcing school administrators across the city to carve away budgetary marbling and cancel afterschool programs, art classes, and, in some cases, the per diem salaries of staff.
BHSEC is no different. Although the school receives around $1.5 million annually from parent institution Bard College, most funding comes from the DOE, and BHSEC will lose about $58,000.
Mr. Peterson has stated that a surplus from this year’s original budget, which was set aside in anticipation of cuts next year, will be depleted now instead. It does not, however, fully cover the losses.
To make ends meet, the administration plans to decrease the book budget and cut back on per diem pay for extracurricular employees and overtime compensation. Mr. Peterson has said that these measures will put BHSEC in the clear for this year, but he is concerned about the future—principals are bracing themselves for further and steeper budget cuts next year, which could be as high as 3.5-5.0%. Furthermore, it is expected that less money will come from Albany.
When the larger cuts arrive, administrators will face tough decisions on how best to economize. “We may have to excess teachers,” says Mr. Peterson.
But if faculty size were to shrink, what would that mean in terms of college program offerings? Two options are to increase class sizes across the board—a highly unpopular idea—or to offer certain college classes as lectures, in which one professor would teach a hall of 50-80 students.
While that proposal surely would make some seminar purists shudder, there could be benefits to lectures. Bruce Matthews, professor of philosophy, points out, “We have to offer enough courses to justify our ‘early college’ label,” and lectures present an opportunity to do that.
Dr. Matthews further contends that a class such as psychology 101, which requires students to work through large amounts of basic reading, would be ideally suited for lecture. “I’ve had amazing classes in lecture format,” he added. Several administrators and teachers agree that lectures are a reality beyond BHSEC, and many students continue on to large universities where honed note taking skills prove valuable.
Michael Lerner, Associate Dean of Studies, asserts that other options could be explored. “We just have to be creative,” he says. “Perhaps courses won’t be offered as frequently.” Dr. Lerner indicated that the administration would not be hiring more adjunct faculty to cut overhead.
As for lectures: “It’s a wait and see thing,” says Dr. Lerner. “The lecture idea has been tossed around before. It’s a common part of higher education.”