By Nadia Smith
Trevecca is looking for an adjunct instructor to continue its art program.
The Department of Communication Studies made changes to the number of art classes offered each semester. As a result, Betsy Karounos, Trevecca’s part-time art instructor, resigned to look for a full time position somewhere else.
Starting in the fall, two art classes will be offered per semester instead of three.
Art courses are not listed in the 2014 schedule right now, but Lena Welch, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said the courses will be added when the university finds an instructor.
The decision to make cuts to the art program was because of the low enrollment in art classes and because it was a minor which would have less of an effect on students then it would had a major been cut, said Welch.
The university is reducing next year’s operating expenses by at least $1.2 million which has meant some departments had to make cuts in their programs and faculty.
“I suspect that what will happen, I hope what will happen, is that we will identify a good adjunct, that person will come, and then they may want to modify the art minor just so that it will look a little differently,” said Welch. “I hope that we will be able to continue with the art minor.”
Welch said she is sad that Karounos is leaving, but understands her decision.
“She has been an amazing teacher, a wonderful teacher and when we proposed these changes we did not want to lose her,” said Welch. “We were intending to move forward but it was going to be reducing her teaching load some and so I understand her looking at other opportunities.”
Having taught at Trevecca since 2007, emotionally, the decision to resign was difficult for Karounos; however, logically it made sense, she said.
“I have always tried to grow the program with the idea that someday there would be a full-time position and a major here. That was really my dream,” said Karounos. “To have a further reduction is so the wrong direction for me. I’m not retired yet. I can’t not have a sufficient income.”
Karounos will be missed by her students.
“It makes me really sad. I love her so much. I understand why she’s leaving, but it still just makes me really sad,” said Lauren Conway, Trevecca junior and art minor.
The loss of Karounos is not the only thing that art students are upset about.
“It kind of frustrates me that they decided that they needed to cut from the art program,” Conway said. “I understand that they are trying to cut costs, but up until now they were trying to grow the program which I thought was really great. Art is good for people. I think it does stuff to your brain that math and science and English can’t do.”
While Karounos hopes that art will still be valued at Trevecca, this decision is not the end of the world, she said.
“It’s certainly not the end of the world, although it feels very bad at the time. Sometimes there are things that you lose and you lose them forever. You can go on and all but it just was special and I feel that it was very special,” said Karounos.
Meanwhile, Welch is currently searching for an adjunct professor who will teach the art classes next year.
“It is a transition. We are losing one of the best professors, best teachers, and most beloved instructors on campus and that makes me sad, but I do believe we will be able to find another adjunct instructor in art and that the program will continue,” said Welch.