Editorial: Physics is all about supply and demand
March 16, 2006
When it comes to physics, it’s all about supply and demand. At least that’s how it is at Lake Tahoe Community College.
With low attendance and low enrollment in the school’s physics courses, the administration decided to drop the program. Total enrollment among three physics classes in winter quarter this year was a paltry 17 students. It makes sense then, from a supply-and-demand perspective, that physics should be dropped, at least until student interest picks up.
But, as the laws of physics dictate, whenever there is an action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, the students who need physics for four-year school transfer credits, and the teacher who spearheaded the physics department, want the program to stay. Even with limited enrollment, they say, the classes should be offered.
The college though needs to deal with reality. If fewer students are using the science/math offerings here, or even attending the college with the goal of graduating, then the school has to provide the courses that are in demand. This quarter LTCC is offering a class on the anthropology of Star Trek, and it has been criticized for doing so in light of the cuts. But if Star Trek is what students want, that’s what the college should provide.
With its high cost of living and limited housing, South Lake Tahoe is a difficult locale for a full-fledged community college. The same forces that have resulted in declining enrollment in the K-12 system are affecting LTCC. As more students enroll in classes for fun rather than out of necessity, the college will reflect that shift.
While we would like to see LTCC continue to offer a full menu of courses, we can understand why the college has made this cut. In the end, it’s all relative to what students want.
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