Students assemble

At noon last Friday, Missouri Southern students met at the flagpole on the oval to protest increasing class sizes to the Board of Governors.

“We’re out here protesting large class sizes, or rather affirming smaller class sizes,” said Emily Wooten, freshman theatre education major. “They’re talking about increasing class sizes and we believe that smaller classes equal quality education, so we’re out here just to let them know that we want the small classes and it’s important to us.”

Several students and faculty showed up to the protest and signed a petition that generated over 300 signatures. Teachers and students alike have said that they enjoy the benefits of being able to interact with their classes.

“Student success really depends on student interaction with professors,” said Dr. Holly McSpadden, associate professor of English and philosophy. “Particularly in the lower division classes, they need a lot of hands-on work because they come often times not as well prepared. We have nontraditional students that have been out for a while. They need some hands-on to help them get over that hump.

“Apparently students have been hearing the rumors of increased class sizes. Somebody told me there was a survey in their history classes about class sizes and some student talked to me about her biology courses. So I guess what’s happened is that students have decided that small classes are important to their success.”

McSpadden said the students heard class sizes would double, and flyers posted around campus stated class sizes could jump to as many as 60 students per room.

Denise Waack, junior English major, said she came from the University of Iowa, where class sizes easily top 300 students.

“You don’t get the attention that you deserve and you don’t get the quality of education,” Waack said. “I’m very disappointed to hear that they are going to try and enlarge these classes because this school is so special because of the small class rooms and attention that we get from the professors.”

She feels Missouri Southern’s dynamic would change for the worse if it were to increase class sizes.

“I can’t imagine having a larger classroom where it’s going to change the whole dynamic of the class,” Waack said. “We’re not going to be able to have discussions. We’re not going to be able to do all of the wonderful things we do. It’s all going to change. The students are going to lose. I have two kids who are going to come here in a year or so and I want them to have the quality of education that I have.”

Dr. Brad Kleindl, interim vice president of academic affairs, declined to comment.