Home / Fall 2015 / Held in the lowest regard: budget cuts hit honors students

Held in the lowest regard: budget cuts hit honors students

Photo Illustration: Kayla Stroud/THE SPECTATOR

Written by Jyrell Wynn, Staff Writer

Earning the recognition as an honor student or teacher is seen as a remarkable achievement for students and parents. The title represents the best traits of determination, persistence, and honor in academic pursuits of excellence. Unfortunately, the title comes with a receipt for many Valdosta State students and staff as they witness the value of their contributions becoming worthless.

Budget cuts have caused many honor courses to be cut, teachers to lose their jobs, and have left many students without classes to take.

Associate Professor of history Stephanie Hinnershitz is one of the professors that lost her job. She specializes in 20th century American history and immigration/public history.

“Going to be a lot of classes not offered. History minors and majors will take longer to get a degree,” said Hinnershitz.

Hinnershitz was hired to build up the public History program and offer courses for students, but her only focus will be on her resume.

“I have to take time away from teaching opportunities to find a job. If I get a job interview, I have to cancel classes, “said Hinnershitz.

Dr. Owen Jones, the associate professor of Latin American history, and Jimmy Taw, lecturer of American history, were also among the history professors who lost their jobs.

Dr. Owens has said that she worries that layoffs will become the norm because the Faculty Senate isn’t objecting strongly enough.

Non-renewals will start in 2016.

Dr. Thomas Aiello, associate professor of history and African American studies, sees the cuts as a huge blow to students interested in expertise of the fired faculty.

According to Dr. Aiello, the biology department will be losing several people, the English department will lose five, and the history department will be hit the worst.

No specific courses will be lost.

“I offer alternatives to department to save money,” Dr. Aiello said. “The Faculty Senate has completely failed at its job.”

Professors have searched for solutions such as investigating possibility of censure by the American Association of University Professors, but Dr. Aiello continues to try to find money in budget that would save jobs of colleagues.

“The Honors College may resort to individual contracts with individual instructors to assign extra work to Honors students in regular surveys to compensate,” Dr. Dixie Haggard, professor of history said. “But this does not really provide the honors experience we promised these students when they came here.”


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