Suspension of CNC Dental Programs “Disturbing” says Instructor
Prince George, B.C. – Disturbing.
That’s how Carole Whitmer, long-time faculty member in CNC’s Dental Studies Department, describes the college’s decision to suspend intakes into the dental assistant and hygiene programs this September.
“Well we were totally shocked by the college’s proposal and I guess our big concern is that there was no consultation with us,” says Whitmer. “So it was a total surprise and when we had talked to Henry (Henry Reiser, CNC president) he has not been able to give us a definitive date or year when they would start the programs again.”
(Reiser says the lack of consultation was due to a very confidential matter).
Whitmer also claims the college is basing their decisions on what she calls “some misinformation” when it comes to what the college says are the school’s lower than average tuition fees.
“They are not looking at total costs of the programs (when calculating tuition). So for example, if you just take the tuition fee from CNC and you compare it to Camosun College, CNC’s tuition is $9,914 and Camosun’s is $13,950,” she says.
“But the total cost of the program at Camosun, because there’s other fees (like glove fees, supplies etc) is $20,450 and our total cost is $18,000. But if our students purchase loupes, then our student costs are about $20,000.”
Reiser however, isn’t buying it.
“Well that’s not the finding of our dean. Our understanding is that when all is in, the difference (with comparable institutions) is $7,000.”
He says the difference is crippling to the college.
“Oh yes, absolutely. That’s one element, but the biggest component is our cost delivery. The length of the program is longer than anyone in the province and in addition to that, our ratios of working with the students in the clinics is one of the lowest in the province.”
And while both parties agree enrollment isn’t an issue, Whitmer says CNC could find other ways to deal with its $2.8 million deficit.
“If they are suspending two programs and no longer operating a clinic, why are they hiring an associate dean of health. Layers of management have also increased again.”
She says losing the clinic is a major blow considering it’s served over 13,000 patients since 1992 (including preventative services for retired people, services for children & single moms).
“Well we have to remember what is our core business,” replies Reiser. “I fully appreciate that outreach to the community because we are a community college but our primary business is education and not social support.”
CNC’s Board of Governor’s will be making its final decision on the future of the programs at its meeting on April 24.