Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Progress in New Orleans

Those of you who are in the Lakeview area might have noticed a small yacht sitting on the neutral ground for some time now; it sat near Benjamin Franklin and had been tagged in grafitti with "U.S.S. Katrina" on the side. Last week when I went to UNO, I had forgotten my camera; I wanted to take a picture and vowed to do so today when I went in to work on my financial aid.

Today when I went to UNO, the boat had completely vanished; the ship had simply been spirited away.

Things finally seem to be moving in the city. I wish I could say that it was the same for UNO.

Last week I headed in to speak with an academic counselor. I'm quickly approaching my final year, and I have to make sure that I'm headed in the right direction for a Fall 2007 graduation.

When I mentioned my own concerns about layoffs, the advisor assured me that things were not nearly as bad as they thought they would be. Still, I'm still unable to understand why I can't seem to be able to enroll in an entrance-level Biology course that isn't in Slidell; a graduating senior confided to me that of the seven classes she needed to graduate, only four are being offered this semester. Only one of the courses she needs is even open. Another friend is having difficulty getting into a third-level language course.

What's wrong with this picture?

I spent a good hunk of my spring semester contacting various departments at LSU, trying to get them to shove my transcript to my home institution. They told me that would send it over once my tuition was paid in full; they told me they would send it with the rest of the UNO students' transcripts; most recently, they told me that they had sent it--and to be sure that they did do so, I called two different departments at LSU and asked them to send my transcript to UNO.

Only to find out it never got there. Whether or not it's a mistake on the part of LSU or UNO, I'm not sure, but I'm frustrated.

They're sure making this "coming home" thing easy.

School begins in a week and a half; I'm registered for only 12 hours while I cross my fingers and hope my financial aid comes in before next Monday and pray someone drops the Biology course I so desperately need to get out of the way before I graduate.

It seems like this frustration is contagious; all the UNO students I've spoken to thusfar are visibly annoyed with the way things are running at their university. There are problems with WebStar, problems with financial aid, problems with getting the courses they need; some of these problems they had before Katrina, but now they're even worse.

People are talking of transfer; the only thing that's keeping them here is the worry that not all of their hours will transfer to another institution.

But I get the feeling that things are only going to get worse for UNO if the situtation doesn't improve. If things don't get better, students will leave. If they can't find the courses they need two semesters in a row, they'll look for greener pastures. If they continue to have the same problems with Webstar, they'll find another college to go to.

With the rising cost of living in the area at the moment, they really have little reason to stay, anyway.

8 Comments:

Blogger LisaPal said...

If it makes you feel any better, it's not just students who are dealing with difficulties. UNO is operating with a budget shortfall in the millions. It's hard to operate anything without the money required to do it and the administration is trying to perform loaves-and-fishes type miracles.

No one could confirm whether or not I would be back teaching this fall after being laid off since The Storm. I pressed for an answer and just got it, but with little time left to prepare to teach the classes. And to add to the frustration, without the certainty that the university would even be able to offer the classes, no books were reviewed or ordered and there's no way the bookstore can have the books stocked by the time classes begin. We'll have to wing it.

It's going to be an interesting semester...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Lisa, what do you happen to teach?

I'm glad that you're back. I was incredibly disappointed with their decisions to cut out some very intelligent and passionate professors in the liberal arts department.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 5:06:00 PM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Though I was a liberal arts undergrad, (anthropology and philosophy), I teach marketing in the College of Business. (I call myself the Marketing Antichrist because I have a hard focus on ethics in whatever course I teach. Actually, the academic side of marketing is very ethics-focused. It's the real world that abandons the lessons.)

I just got an e-mail from my department chair today saying the latest enrollment numbers were just under 10,000. That's down 7,000 from the pre-K figure and 3,000 fewer than they optimistically projected for this fall. My classes this semester (all electives) are running at about 1/3 to 1/4 of pre-storm enrollment levels. This summer, they had to cancel four required courses in the marketing curriculum. That's absolutely unprecedented. Everything's a mess, but I'm glad to be back. There's nothing I'd rather be doing. And on the bright side, small classes means I can deliver a much better learning experience to my students, and from my perspective, that's a big silver lining.

I hope everything works out for you with UNO. If you're on campus with free time on a Monday or Wednesday between 2:00 & 5:00PM, stop by my office and say hello. I'm in Kirschman Hall (the new business building) in KH 348. Or, if you come to Rising Tide, look for me among the organizers. (Do try to come, if you can.)

Friday, August 11, 2006 2:02:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

That's interesting! I'm an English major, though by the time I graduate, I should be out of here with a history minor. Anthropology is one of my many interests, and I was rather sad to see Dr. Sheknel leave after the summer session.

I'm going to try to make it to Rising Tide, if only for Saturday. I have another UNO student that'll probably stop by with me.

Friday, August 11, 2006 2:06:00 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Wow. I didn't know Dr. Shenkle was leaving. Not only did I have more than a few classes with him, but I attended the once infamous archaeology field school of 1981. That's an other story. (And quite a story.)

As Rising Tide goes, Saturday is the day. See you there.

Sunday, August 13, 2006 9:13:00 PM  
Blogger Zihuatanejo said...

You have a great website and it is great for the community. Thanks for all the great pictures too. You should join the disscusions here as well:

New Orleans community blog

Please join in the discussions there and link people back to your blog. There are already a lot of people participating daily. It is a great place to poll the communitie and see how people realy feel about the issues. This should serve to strengthen the new orleans community and NO online commlunity as a whole.

Monday, August 14, 2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Zihuatanejo said...

My belief is that to get real transparency in our government and in our planning process we need to get the young folks involved and up to speed on the new paradigms. Teaching only civics in school and not smart growth and new urbanism concepts is like teaching our kids to count to ten without teaching them arithmetic, algebra and calculus and then expecting them to make it in this world.

Help us get those concepts out there! Create an account on live journal and help build a community, an educated community.

Thanks,

Monday, August 14, 2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

And what's up with the Arena? Have they done ANYTHING with it? I guess we'll be back at the Chamber of Horrors this year.

Peace,

Tim

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 11:41:00 PM  

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