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Opinion

Budget cuts threaten the effectiveness of great UWRF professors

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April 14, 2016

When society says, “You can’t,” I say you can. When someone doubts your abilities, confidently tell them, “Just watch me.” These are lessons taught and practiced within the walls of Professor Warren Johnson’s Marketing Communications classes. Johnson encourages the belief of, “You can do this, no matter what others say,” in all of his lessons. He approaches teaching with a practical opinion, and prepares students for professional working conditions. Johnson strives to make his students employable, and we as students value these types of tendencies in an instructor. Unfortunately, budget cuts continue to take away classes and instructors like Johnson, jeopardizing our education and careers as students. Unless we voice our opinions on the things we value as students, these reductions will continue to get worse.

This spring semester, Johnson introduced MARC 389, Personal Branding, to the marketing communications department. “I simply want to be a positive difference in students’ needs for the future,” says Johnson.  After writing up the course, conversing with other professors, and convincing the Steering Committee, MARC 389, Personal Branding was introduced in the spring of 2016. This class turned out to be the first to fill of any class offered in the entire marketing department. Obviously, his lessons and lectures are in demand by students.

“Mr. Johnson isn’t someone who comes into class each day, teaches his lesson from a text book, packs up his briefcase and leaves the classroom. Every assignment is thoroughly thought out and tailored to fit our real life needs,” said Madeline Steil, a freshman in Johnson’s Personal Branding class. Johnson’s classroom chemistry encourages progression and creates student involvement far more than any of my other marketing communication classes.

Throughout this semester, I have continued to build my public speaking skills in Personal Branding with Johnson. As an extension to his Persuasion class, I am again consistently challenged with new types of speeches. The syllabus calls for seven total. Overcoming the fear of public speaking is so critical for success in the professional field, and the requirement for speaking in front of classes is declining in this technologically influenced educational environment we live in. I challenge students, whether a marketing communications student or not, to take one of Johnson’s classes to enhance their personal speaking skills.

As I continue to experience the success of Personal Branding, I wanted to write this piece to express my thoughts and opinions on Johnson’s course. Ironically, while doing so, recent budget cuts have threatened to eliminate these classes. The marketing communications department is currently offering him 40 percent classroom employment next semester, two classes per week.  On top of that, no teaching appointment has been offered to him for spring of next year, and this course which my classmates are raving about, is not offered at all.

Students deserve to be informed on what is happening, and should be aware of the effects these budget cuts will ultimately have on our education. Professor Johnson mentioned in my interview with him that this has been happening since he was a student at UWRF in the 1970’s. “If you want to make a difference, you need to vocalize yourself in waves,” said Johnson. Budget cuts will continue to take our educational opportunities and great professors away from us, unless we voice our opinions.

“With recent budget cuts affecting the university, I’m concerned I will not be able to complete my major within four years here at UWRF. I know for many students, adding an additional year (or more!) of schooling is a big deal financially as well as personally, because we all want to advance to an adult life and real-world jobs after college,” said Janelle Olson, a sophomore marketing communications student and supporter of Johnson’s speaking courses.

This is why I write today, to inform the student body of these current issues, and to potentially save this professor’s job. Warren Johnson sees students as equals, and treats them this way, and I intend to treat respected professors the same. He has taught me to stand for things I believe in, even if others disagree. This is why I took the time to address and confront these issues, and this is the reason I will continue to fight to keep Johnson in the classroom, because expressing yourself in waves, truly is the only effective way to create change in our society.

I encourage all students to pay attention to budget cuts, and the changes being made in the educational curriculum during their time here at UWRF. If we to choose to remain unaware and excluded, we will continue to lose professors that make huge impacts on our education. It is our responsibility to voice our opinions on these issues, and to keep our brilliant, influential educators, like Professor Johnson, on campus.