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Thinking in Print

January 31, 2022

Thinking In Print: Faculty layoffs reduced the quality, quantity of courses at OU

By Charlene Pepiot | For The Post

When one of my professors last semester told the class the university was forcing them to teach the course and they didn’t care if we dropped out, I was shocked. After all, I was paying for a college education and expected my instructor to at least want to teach. I hardly learned anything in that class, and I have to wonder how different my experience would have been if I had a professor who actually cared?

I can’t blame that professor, though. In 2020, Ohio University’s budget cuts prompted 53 instructional faculty members’ contracts to not be renewed, according to a previous Post report. This has forced the professors who remain to take on extra classes and, from my experience, to potentially water down the course to make it manageable for the instructor rather than educational for the student.

Of course, not all of OU’s courses could continue under new professors. Ohio University’s class roster has seen a reduction since the budget cuts. This semester, there are 140 English courses available to students, which is a drop compared to the 174 English classes taught in Spring Semester 2020, before the budget crisis cut staff. That’s 34 fewer classes to choose from. The 162 journalism classes from Spring Semester 2020 have also dropped to 145 this semester.

The downside to cutting those courses is that it limits students’ options and forces them to take classes they have little use for to fulfill their graduation requirements. As an English major specializing in creative writing, I’ve had my sights set on the ENG 4810 - Fiction Form and Theory course since I was a freshman. Last spring, I had fulfilled the requirements needed to take the advanced class and was looking forward to it. There’s just one problem: OU hasn’t offered ENG 4810 since spring 2019 when I was a sophomore, making it impossible for me to take the class before I graduate. This forced me to take a class on a writing genre I had little interest in to fulfill my requirement.

As someone with several pieces of fiction published, I came to OU to improve my skills in writing fiction, and I hate that I’m spending money to be educated on a topic I know I will not use in the real world when I’m supposed to have options on what courses I take.

Besides being an inconvenience to students, cutting professors has made it hard to take pride in attending a university that cuts staff whose loyalty served the university for years, especially when they were phased out during a global pandemic. Those professors speaking out about having a lack of support from the university, stress at securing a job and fears over losing their homes, as a previous Post report states, are sickening. No one deserves to go through that, especially in a time of heightened stress and uncertainty.

OU’s decisions to cut staff have hurt the quality and quantity of classes I’ve taken. I can’t recommend OU to others in good confidence knowing that course options are limited, my favorite professors are gone and those left are overwhelmed and struggling to pick up the slack.

Charlene Pepiot is a senior studying English at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Charlene know by emailing her

AUTHOR: Charlene Pepiot
EDITOR: Hannah Campbell
COPY EDITOR: Anna Garnai
PHOTO: Nate Swanson