An online petition is calling on the University of Lethbridge to address what it calls an “understaffing crisis in the department of psychology.”
The petition, started by student Fallan Curtis, is asking for a commitment from the university to give departments the resources they need to offer the education required to graduate.
The petition outlines how students could be forced to delay graduation or switch post-secondary schools to finish their degree because the U of L can’t meet its requirements.
The author of the petition said a recent comprehensive external review of the psychology department concluded a need for three to four more faculty members, and added since then, two more professors have announced their retirements.
The petition said without the changes, faculty will be operating at a 360:1 student-enrollment to faculty ratio.
The University of Lethbridge did not comment on camera Tuesday, but did issue the following statement:
The University of Lethbridge offers very flexible, high-quality Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and graduate programs in psychology and related disciplines.
Students are able to meet all degree requirements and graduate on time from any of our psychology programs. As a student-focused university, we value the opinions expressed and will consider these views very carefully.
While fiscal restraints and the move to online learning have created new challenges for our students, faculty and staff, we remain committed to providing an outstanding student experience. Student:faculty ratios will be a key point of emphasis in our decision-making.
The success of our programs is rooted in the success of our students, which is why we continually strive to provide an academic experience that creates the best opportunity for our students to achieve their goals.
Dr. Erasmus Okine, Provost & Vice-President (Academic)
The petition notes there are current financial restraints, and asks that, rather than hiring all of the needed professors, the university replace the two retiring instructors and hire one additional qualified instructor. The statement issued from the U of L did not address any of the specific requests in the petition.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had more than 450 signatures.