With the construction and opening of the newest addition to the Yuba Community College District, the Sutter County Center has brought both pleasure and concern. While creating a facility that may be technologically advanced and desirable, the new campus has evoked a sense of misdirected and unplanned scheduling. Brian Jukes, Dean of the Sutter County Center, explained in a recent interview that the campus is a beautiful place to teach, but there is plenty of room for improvement. The new facility offers many great tools and gadgets for advanced teaching methods, as well as a new environment with “futuristic” features. The campus offers a full range of student services, from placement testing and tutoring, to financial aid assistance and dining.
As the Fall 2012 semester began, a few problems arose regarding textbooks. Not only was the Sutter County Center bookstore inconveniently located, it was also suffering from a lack of necessary books. Students attending the campus were required to either wait, buy online, or travel to the Marysville campus in order to purchase their books. Jukes informed me during our interview of the mishap and how it will be corrected next semester. The bookstore will be open for the first two weeks of each semester in the overflow section of the dining area. Also next semester, the bookstore will be more prepared with the necessary materials needed by students.
Although the new facility offers many advantageous features, the lack of planning has created issues affecting both students learning availability and accessibility. Many students attending the Sutter County Center for its first semester, fall of 2012, may have experienced scheduling difficulties. The courses needed by students would coincide with one another, making it nearly impossible to attend necessary classes in a systematic manner. This issue evolved from the scheduling being created and submitted through many departments, rather than the sole planning of one particular department.
Jukes has hopes of creating a more uniform schedule and better planning by the spring semester of 2013, but it may take more time, he explained. The issue isn’t one that can just be overcome miraculously; it requires careful and meticulous planning.
Starting Spring of 2013, the Sutter County Center will provide evening classes. The introduction of evening classes will create more flexibility among scheduling allowing for either more courses, or a better availability of existing courses. There is also speculation that the evening courses will attract more attention and attendance from community members who are unable to attend day courses.
For the new campus to be recognized and funded through the state of California there must be a minimum of 1,000 FTES, Full Time Equivalent Students, attending the Sutter County Center. As of now the attendance is below the expected projection, but not low enough to create a problem, as long as next semester sees a growth in attendees. If by next semester the Sutter Center doesn’t see any growth, the first place funds will be taken from is the Marysville Yuba College campus’ budget, an already struggling system.
Currently the only courses offered at the new campus are general education courses. Jukes mentioned the possibility of additional courses being added, allowing for certificate programs and specific majors. The process will require time and communication between the Yuba Community College District and educational planners. Due to course placement, students are currently required to commute between the Sutter County Center and the Marysville Campus in order to complete a degree program or certificate course.
In order for the full effect of the campus to take place, many improvements and changes must be made. One major improvement needed will be the allocation of full time professors exclusive to the Sutter County Center. Other needs include janitorial services and grounds keepers to maintain the beauty of the campus. The near future of the campus depends on the outcome of students within the next semester and minor improvements; as for the long term future, only time will tell.