College Offering Sponsorships To Restore Canceled Courses

By Staff
September 2, 2009

The City College of San Francisco has launched a creative fundraising effort which offers sponsors a chance to revive canceled courses for $6,000 apiece.

"Our goal is to try to raise money to cover these sections, about $5 million," explained Don Griffin, chancellor of the college, who was quoted in The New York Times. "The $6,000 represents the minimum we'd be paying faculty to teach one section of classes, three hours a week for 17 and a half weeks."

The community college, which has about 100,000 students, faces a $20 million deficit and was forced to cut or postpone close to 800 courses this year as a result.

In June, Griffin announced that donors could have canceled courses revived and named after them. Board members, however, voiced concern about inappropriate donors, arguing that the policy could theoretically allow a tobacco company to sponsor a health course. Consequently, the new version of the initiative stipulates that donors will not be named, and funds will be allocated based on the department's discretion, although donors may request specific courses.

"I don't think that's going to stop people from sponsoring," noted Griffin. "The corporations and individuals I've been going to say they are interested in helping the college, not having a course named after them."

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that so far, eight donations have come in, including from Mary Allen, 76, who taught math and computer science at City College and has regularly taken courses there for the past 25 years.

"City College was good to me," she told the Chronicle. "Now it's pay-back time."

Allen requested that the institution restore a math class, which they agreed to do, although they couldn't tell her which one. "It does my heart good, knowing that a mathematics class will be saved," she said. "I hope it'll be intermediate algebra."

Inside Higher Ed reports that Frederick R. Chavaria, chair of the school's administration of justice program, is currently looking into donations from the local department of corrections and police and fire departments to restore four courses cut this fall.

"About 85 percent of the cops and firemen in California go through the community college system," he explained. "These police and fire departments are going to be asking, 'What's in this for us?' Well, for them, it's keeping that pipeline open for qualified police and firemen. They'll be able to see a real return on their investment sponsoring a course."

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