Third-year transfer student Brittney Bevelaqua wants to be a philosophy and history professor, run for Senate and own her own coffee shop.
However, she can’t teach philosophy if she can’t even learn about it herself.
As a transfer, she has scrambled to make contacts with professors and get major requirements out of the way.
The philosophy department’s loss of three professors at the beginning of the quarter threatens her love for the subject. Her passion for learning and broadening her philosophical perspectives is not limited to her own education. She is concerned for the education of her fellow students and the quality of the philosophy department.
“It complicates students’ [education] because they’re not getting what they’re paying for,” Bevelaqua said. “It complicates professors’ [work] because they can’t teach the youth who want to be the future.”
Bevelaqua discussed why she wants philosophy to be a part of her own future.
“I want to teach philosophy because it can explain not only events, but inner monologues people toil with,” Bevelaqua said.
The dwindling exposure to different professors’ viewpoints and interpretations leaves Bevelaqua worried for the educational quality of the philosophy program.
“When you’re stifling education, you’re stifling a person’s future and what they love,” she said.
While her own educational experience is threatened, she maintains enthusiasm for the subject. She appreciates the diverse responses to philosophical questions, compared to those in math and science.
“You can approach [philosophy] with so many different answers,” Bevelaqua said. “That’s why I love it.”
Bevelaqua exudes adoration for the subject as she explains how her opinions on the English philosopher John Locke changed after what she was exposed to at UCSC. It is experiences like these that make her appreciate the quality of education she has received and the relationships she has developed with professors.
Bevelaqua is taking two upper-division classes in fall quarter of 2011. She noticed the upper-division classes offered in the fall were cut in half, from six to three, and fears the courses offered in the following quarters will be classes she has already taken.
Bevelaqua says the major is a cycle where fourth-years are always rushing until the very end of their academic careers to enroll in philosophy upper-division courses. Younger students are then left with a limited course variety to choose from.
Now scarce resources also threaten the learning experiences of philosophy majors.
“When you only have three professors teaching, you don’t have a full depth of perspective,” Bevelaqua said.
When she is unable to register for classes through regular enrollment, Bevelaqua said she must utilize her personal skills to get the courses she needs.
“I make lasting and positive impressions so I can create some kind of clout with them so I … can be granted with their grace of letting me take the classes I love,” she said.
She recognizes faculty members are doing everything they can to help their students, such as giving out permission codes. Unfortunately there’s only so much professors and lecturers can do, Bevelaqua said.
Philosophy’s limited course offerings leave Bevelaqua questioning her ability to double-major. She said she wonders if she will have to drop her history major in order to graduate with a degree in philosophy.
“It’s like pulling teeth to get an increase in units,” Bevelaqua said. “Maybe I’m an education masochist trying to do all these things at once.”
While Bevelaqua is doing anything to help her cause, she wonders if the administration is doing the same.
“Would they add another teacher if they could?” Bevelaqua asked. “Or would they just take the cut there?”