Cuts could hurt WNC Fallon campus; Fernley campus could close |

Cuts could hurt WNC Fallon campus; Fernley campus could close

Nevada Appeal News Service
Kim Lamb/Appeal News Service Western Nevada College Fallon campus sophomore and Ashlee McGarity, an elementary education major, works on a computer in August.

Gov. Jim Gibbons’ proposed 8 percent cut to state agencies including higher education would severely impact the Western Nevada College Fallon campus, university officials say.

While some rural WNC branches would close due to the cuts, the Fallon campus would stay open. However, the branch would be severely impacted.

Helaine Jesse, vice president of development and external affairs for the college, said the Fallon campus will lose some teaching positions.

Compounding the problem is that the Fallon location would be catering to more students since the Fernley campus could be one of the branches that is closing.

Jesse said residents of Fallon could wind up not getting the classes they want because courses will be available on a first-come basis.

While the WNC Fallon campus will attempt to handle as many students as possible, it’s likely that sections will have to be eliminated.

The teaching positions eliminated will mostly be part-time faculty, and Jesse said those positions are more numerous than the 18 full-time positions.

She said there is no doubt Fallon residents will have to register early and hope the classes they need are available.

“It depends on what classes they want,” she said.

The college will probably keep classes with full-time instructors, but Jesse said there are prerequisite courses – like English – that have full-time and part-time professors.

“A teacher can only teach so many students. There are only so many seats in a classroom,” she said.

Jesse said the campuses knew about the proposed 5 percent cuts and were stunned to learn it had increased to 8 percent. When the proposal was 5 percent, the campuses decided to not fill vacant positions.

“At 8 percent now, they are talking about critical services,” she said.

At smaller college campuses like Fallon, it is not uncommon for some sections to have one employee or instructor.

An 8 percent cut, she said, would result in a loss of 20 positions, five which are full-time, and 37 academic courses.

“It’s brutal. If you are not able to travel to Fallon or Reno, you will only end up with Internet classes,” she said when talking about the effects upon Fernley.