Consecutive class rescheduling leave continuing studies students frustrated

Students await a new instructor while their class is put on hold

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By Nicholas Naylor

Students in an animation course at Langara finally have a new instructor, four weeks after their initial instructor abruptly quit.

Janos Sitar, who taught introduction to animation industry in continuing studies at the Broadway Langara campus, emailed students after class on Sept. 23, saying he was quitting after hearing students “bad-mouthing” the course.

Students left hanging

The month-long search for an instructor left students without a class, wondering when their course was going to resume and whether the entire curriculum and learning outcomes could be covered in the remaining time.
Policy outlining how continuing studies instructors are hired in a short time frame or open information regarding instructor pay-scales is not publicly available. This is because most continuing studies instructors are not represented by a union such as the Langara Faculty Association which represents most of the Langara regular studies instructors.

Students asked the college when the animation course would resume but did not receive a clear answer until an email was sent just before an Oct. 21 class, informing them a new instructor had been hired.

Jordan Go, one of the students who called the class “boring,” says he would be fine making up for the missed classes at a later date.

“I’m OK with that, I think it’s gonna suck a little bit, but I think that’s all they can do,” Go said.

Introduction to the animation industry is one of the core courses of the 15-month 2D animation program costing domestic students $27,600 and international students $31,675.00.

Instructors have to juggle between jobs and teaching

Sitar sympathizes with those students who “did actually enjoy the course materials” but stands by his decision. He said preparing for the three-hour classes was a “mental drain,” and he was underpaid as a sessional instructor.

“Why am I doing that when the pay isn’t good, and the students are jerks,” he said.

When instructors cannot show up to classes within the Langara continuing studies department, it is unclear how or where students should voice their concerns.

Brianna Bates, a continuing studies student, said only one of the three expected instructors showed up to a continuing studies program orientation for massage therapy, and she was concerned about missing out on course information.

“We weren’t able to get all the information that we needed to fully understand our clinic shift,” she said.
Magdalen Farley, continuing studies massage therapy instructor, said she has not been informed of any specific policy regarding student options when it comes to concerns about instructor attendance.

“I’m not aware of any options, I think they generally will try and find a place to get the class done,” Farley said.

She said she makes her primary income outside of continuing studies, considering her teaching a passion rather than a wage.

“We are not paid anything like what we are paid in our professional life,” Farley said. “We are here because we love teaching and we love education.”

Langara continuing studies policy

Pablo Vargas, dean of continuing studies, could not be reached for comment on policies on instructors quitting mid-term. In an email to The Voice, interim vice president academic Margaret Heldman said faculty sometimes leave without notice, but Langara is “committed to finding a qualified instructor to step into the classroom as soon as possible.”

VIDEO: Magdalen Farley, massage therapy instructor, talks about her experience as a teacher at Langara

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