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Editorial

Student compassion for faculty lags with economy

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November 12, 2009

UW-River Falls, like all UW schools, is the unfortunate victim of economic hardships. The University was recently told to give $3 million to the State as part of windfall budget cuts, a fiscal blow that has left UWRF reeling trying to restructure budgets and fairly divide what money there is left. Campus instructors, therefore, have been denied an upcoming pay increase and, in turn, been forced to suffer a three percent pay decrease.

As a possible solution to the stagnated campus economy, UWRF has slightly increased its enrollment numbers. With the country’s job market shrinking, more and more people are flocking back to classrooms, and it seems that UWRF is more than happy to keep its doors wide open to all prospective students. But that enrollment increase is tempered with a state-wide hiring freeze that forbids any Wisconsin University from hiring any new faculty or staff unless prior approval from the State is obtained.

The result here at UWRF is that instructors are being asked to teach larger class sizes, advise more students and incur the work of a larger faculty and student body. In essence, the student population and workload are increasing, yet the faculty is remaining static. This causes the faculty to become overworked and exhausted, fatigue that is sometimes more apparent in later classes when professors have had to teach all day with little breaks.

The Student Voice Editorial Board would like to commend the professors and instructors here at UWRF for the admirable job they are doing in these tough times. It cannot be easy to continue meeting this University’s high academic standards while struggling with classes bursting at the seams with inpatient and unappreciative students.

It is becoming far too commonplace that students, ignorant to the blight instructors are facing, are disrespectful towards their professors, setting unrealistic expectations, such as demanding assignments be returned by the next class period. Our instructors, bastions of knowledge, don’t deserve to be ridiculed for not exactly being speedy with their feedback given their present state of affairs, so before you criticize a professor for being tardy think about the pressures they are under.

It is easy to attack what one doesn’t understand. But before you lash out at an instructor, take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. The faculty here at UWRF is doing the best they can to make it through the economic recession, budgetary cutbacks and booming class sizes. Instead of finding ways to complain about your professors, take a moment to shake their hand and thank them for being here every single day, providing you with a future.