A proposed policy that will allow students to audit courses was presented by Tad Carpenter of the Performing and Communication Arts Division at the Feb. 11 Academic Senate meeting.
According to the proposal, students will be able to audit up to six units during primary semesters (spring, and fall) and up to four units during summer intersession for a fee of $15 per unit per semester, a fee set by the California Education Code.
Even with the $15 per unit fee, students taking at least 10 or more units for credit in the fall or spring will not be charged a fee for three or fewer audited units. Students will still have to pay the fee during the summer semesters, no matter how many credited courses they are taking.
According to the proposal, audit students will not be officially graded and will not receive college credit for taking the course. Because of this, instructors that provide audit seats will not be required to grade or even give homework or tests to students who are enrolled in audited courses, nor will these students be required to take them if given.
“Auditing classes allows a student to sit in on a class. But they don’t get graded, they’re just collecting the information,” said Carpenter. “Enrolled students get first priority, and only if there are seats available will [audit] students be allowed.”
However the proposal requires that auditing students follow the same rules as enrolled students, and students cannot change their enrollment from audit to credit or vice-versa once the course is completed.
Members of the Academic Senate seemed to be in favor of the proposal.
“Given the changes in repeatability and given my experiences as a classroom instructor for almost two decades, it’s probably in the best interest of students to have something along these lines,” said Academic Senate President Dustin Hanvey.
“I have high school students who just want to come in and sit in on a college class and get a feel for it, and right now I have to tell them no. With this policy change I can now allow them to sit in, and even more importantly for the performing arts, they really need this to keep their programs going.”
However, others seemed to be on the fence.
“I don’t know if it would work for me because I want to see some clarification of what the instructor’s obligation to the [audit] student would be,” said Andrzej Bojarczak of the Languages Division “So until these things are clarified I don’t have a position for or against. I would just like to know all of the specifics, what the students can expect and what the instructors can expect.”
Melissa Michelson of the Languages Division was concerned are about the duties of instructors. “It is not clear here,” she said during the meeting. “I feel this creates a two-tier system where some students are responsible for certain things and others are not, and some students are benefiting from the class at a lower price level than others.”
In the end of the discussion most of the Senate agreed that the language of the policy needed to be cleaned up before a final vote can be made. Currently all divisions are reviewing the policy and a final vote will be made at a later Academic Senate meeting.