U. of California Ill Serves Students as Class Sizes Grow, Teaching Assistants Say

Classes at the University of California are becoming more crowded and teaching assistants harder to find, even though students pay double the tuition of just five years ago, say graduate-student teaching assistants who released a report on Tuesday they call “Towards Mediocrity: Administrative Mismanagement and the Decline of UC Education.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the report comes amid labor negotiations between the university and the union representing some 12,000 teaching assistants, tutors, and readers. The union wants the university to create committees at each campus to deal with class-size issues and the dwindling number of teaching assistants available to help students. But university officials say class size is not an appropriate topic to discuss with the union.

“When you have one teaching assistant and 300 students, you can’t have one-on-one time with the students or even small-group time where they’re receiving individual attention,” said Michelle Glowa, 28, a graduate student at UC-Santa Cruz who described one of the nine classes she has taught in physical and chemical sciences. That introductory science class used to have five or six teaching assistants, she said. Since 2010, it has had just one.

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