TA union files complaint against UC over growing class sizes
- University of California, Santa Cruz, teaching assistants like Lisa Beebe say they are often assigned to classes with over 350 students, and that, at that size, the work becomes overwhelming and students slip through the cracks due to a lack of individual attention.
- The University of California Student-Workers Union wants to address the issue across all campuses in the system and has demanded in a complaint against the UC Office of the President that class size be part of contract negotiations.
- The union has also filed a complaint with the state's Public Employment Relations Board, which administers collective bargaining statutes for public employees, but the UC president's office says it will issue a position statement in February and questions the complaint's merit.
According to Shelly Meron, a spokeswoman for the president's office, class size is an academic issue, not one addressed in labor negotiations. Regardless, a study by the system found that the students-to-faculty ratio increased over 10% between 2005-06 and 2010-11, and 350 students or more is a large class size for any instructor, let alone Ph.D. candidates who are completing their own coursework while teaching these oversized classes. It's not just an issue of whether those teaching assistants can handle the load, but of whether students even get their money's worth in a class of that size. Don't expect this issue to disappear any time soon, at least not without even more noise on the horizon.
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