Photo By: Rosana Liang
Until Feb. 20, students across all University of California campuses have been given a rare opportunity to quantify their frustration with class availability and crashing classes through a new survey titled Class and Lecture Availability Student Survey, created by fellow peers at University of California Santa Cruz.
Jessica Greenstreet, a politics and theater double major at UCSC and student representative on the UCSC Academic Senate’s committee on Admissions and Financial Aid, along with James Ramsey, Matthew Palm and Justin Riordan decided to create a UC-wide survey aimed at gathering statistical data about class availability after conducting a similar one specific to UCSC titled the Undergraduate Budget Crisis Impact Survey last year.
“The most appalling data came from the analysis of class availability at UCSC,” said Greenstreet. “For example, one in five art undergraduate UCSC students were not able to take a single class for their major during the period questioned.”
Ramsey, Riordan, Palm and Greenstreet, along with Principal Institutional Research Analyst for Institutional Research and Policy Studies at UCSC Anna Sher, changed some of the questions from the previous survey in order for the new CLASS survey to relate to all campuses.
Alfredo Del Cid, a fourth-year sociology Major and university-owned off campus representative on Associated Students Legislative Council at University of California Santa Barbara, brought the CLASS survey to the attention of fellow off-campus leg rep and Chair of AS Academic Affairs Board Stanley Tzankov, a third-year Political Science and Economics double major.
Tzankov prompted AAB to quickly mobilize and create a publicity campaign for the survey.
“High level administrators tend to care about nothing but numbers and data,” said Del Cid. “By compiling this information that is what we are giving them. Hopefully with this information they’ll understand what students need and are demanding.”
With an increase in student awareness and participation for the survey, the data gathered from the CLASS survey will become more statistically viable and relevant.
“The latest statistics placed UCSB at a 10 percent total response rate,” said Tzankov. “Our public education system has been the victim of a number of severe shameless budget cuts, and course availability has been one of the areas hardest hit.”
Though Greenstreet and the rest of the CLASS survey creators intend to make the results public to UC students, faculty and staff once its been tabulated, many students across UC campuses also hope to make the data public to policymakers in Sacramento during the Student Lobby Conference near the end of February.
“Depending on when the tabulation is completed, it might be used at the SLC,” said Del Cid. “However, the main use was to present it at the next Regents meeting.
Through the CLASS survey, students such as Tzankov and Del Cid hope to facilitate and encourage discussion along with collaboration between university administration officials and UC students.
“To my knowledge nothing this thorough has been undertaken thus far,” said Tzankov. “I see this information going furthest if the University of California Student Association, campus student lobbying groups, and other student advocacy groups utilize this empirical data to bring more credibility to their campaigns.”
By gathering data across all UC campuses, Greenstreet and the other CLASS survey creators will hopefully be able to compare and determine which campuses are being successful at managing their budget allocations, which aren’t, and why there would be such a difference.
“With continuous rises in student ‘fees’, we should not be subject to extended graduation dates due to a lack of class offerings which results in paying even more into the system,” said Greenstreet.
UC students can participate in the survey by going to www.uc-class.org and choosing their relevant campus.