To The Daily Sun,
I would like to write a letter explaining my thoughts on the recent layoffs at Lakes Region Community College. Here is a letter I wrote to college President Dr. Scott Kalicki:
I am a 2006 graduate of LRCC, graduating from the Electrical Systems Installations and Maintenance program. Because of the quality of the faculty and staff I was a member of the honor society and my GPA was 3.96, which landed me on the president's list. I achieved much more than I or anyone else anticipated considering I was 37 when I came to the college and was a horrible student in high school. Bad enough where even I don't understand how I graduated.
Among my achievements in my primary study, the electrical courses, I discovered a love of reading. Previously I had never finished a book — came close a couple times but never actually finished one. After completing American Short Stories class with Jay Plyler I discovered how much I enjoy reading. Jay was such an inspiration that I sought him out as a teacher to fulfill a sociology credit. I didn't search for a course, I searched for the teacher. That is how influential a good teacher is. In my last semester I took Critical Thinking with Mr. Plyler and again, was inspired and energized in learning the entire time.
Again, ESIM was my primary study and the main reason why I chose LRCC (then Lakes Region Community Technical College). But it was all the other courses that made me understand a good education and a good teacher. My last semester I studied American history with Scott Cracraft. His class actually made me disappointed that my time at LRCC was coming to a close. If I had the time and resources I would have stayed just to take every class that Mr. Cracraft taught. I cannot describe in all the ways that he as a teacher and his class positively affected my life. I hope that all students, regardless of where they go to school, can learn from such magnificent educators.
The beginning of my second year began in complete upheaval due to the nature and sudden resignation of Claude Allard. His last-minute departure left a void in teaching a critical course for the electrical programs, Industrial Electronics. The college scrambled to find someone qualified to assemble the lab (that summer the labs moved from the old facility near the jail to the new facility on the main campus) and teach Claude Allard's classes. Kurt Webber, keeping up with the classes that he normally taught, picked up for the absence of Mr. Allard and taught the Industrial Electronics course. This was no small feat and Mr. Webber did an amazing job. He was instrumental in correcting a total disaster.
My time at LRCC was an incredible experience. I excelled in tech math, physics, wrote papers that were published in P.H.A.S. Tracks, learned a trade in which I have been working in for more than 10 years and for the same employer the entire time. It's rare that someone in the construction trade lasts at the same employer for that long, steady and consistently, and it's all due to the quality education I received from highly skilled, quality educators like Scott Cracraft, Jay Plyler, Gary Barney, Kurt Webber, and Julie Morin to name a few.
The president of the college, Don Morrissey was receptive to correcting a grading problem I had with Claude Allard. His open-door policy and willingness to work with students was commendable to say the least. The staff in the library were extremely instrumental in my success as was the help from the financial aide.
Altogether, my experience there was exceptional and I fear that the recent layoffs of quality educators like Jay Plyler and Kurt Webber, among others, are going to rob future students of the experience that I received. The teachers that I had should be revered as the assets that make LRCC a great school. My electrical labs were severely lacking in supplies. What we did have was mostly damaged or so old they were mostly useless. But I had a quality higher electrical education because Gary Barney is an excellent teacher. I couldn't describe that classroom that my history class met in because it doesn't matter to me. The education I received from Scott Cracraft lives with me every day though because he is such an inspirational educator. I still read and have great communication skill at my job because of the education I received from Jay Plyler.
Claiming budget cuts to rid the school of great full-time teachers is the wrong move. It will only diminish the reputation of the school and lower the quality of education that it provides. I understand that there is a need and a place for adjuncts and that for all I know adjunct teachers may be good teachers. But is someone desperate enough to work as a part-time teacher going to have the desire and drive to actually teach to their fullest? Is an adjunct going to have any reason to go above and beyond? Is a teacher that is teaching part-time going to have the impact on students as one that is personally vested in making a difference? I highly doubt it.
I strongly urge you to reconsider this move to cut full-time teachers. It is the teacher that makes the school. It is the teacher that is the future of LRCC. The teacher that will be the reason why people will attend your college over another. It is the teacher that will turn a 37-year-old waiter that barely passed high school into a successful electrician that graduated with high honors.
Please, I urge you to keep the college I went attended something to be proud of.
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