Sunday, November 15, 2009

Madison Area Technical College embarks on series of changes, not all of them popular

That is the headline from this Wisconsin State Journal Online article. It looks like the community at large has a lot to say to the MATC Board of Directors.

But inevitably, the public has pushed back against some of decisions leaders are making at MATC, now known as Madison College.

As the college struggles to manage an 11 percent increase in enrollment this fall, it has had to make some tough cuts.

That includes quietly eliminating some adult continuing education courses, which are non-credit, skills based courses. Sometimes considered hobby courses, administrators say they need to make room for programs that will help people get jobs.

The P/t Union also had a voice at the November Board Meeting.

If administrators hope to convince the public to fund a major facilities expansion, they need to make sure not to alienate the people they count on for support, said Mike Kent, president of MATC's part-time teachers' union.

For instance, many of the people who take the continuing education courses are seniors - the same people who pay attention to community issues and vote in local elections.

"The college needs to be sensitive to the needs of all the different stakeholders in the community," Kent said. "The folks taking these courses are definitely a group the college needs to be sensitive to. People who are paying property taxes. People who are going to be voting in every election."

The college is also butting heads with Kent's group, which argues that the pay gap between part-time and full-time teachers is too large.

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