A shave too close: CTC cosmetology program gets cut
Jeremia Schrock /Sun Star Reporter
August 30, 2011
The University of Alaska – Fairbanks Community and Technical College (UAF-CTC) cosmetology program will not be renewed this fall. While Michele Stalder, CTC dean, believes the program had been successful, the cost of the program outweighed its benefits, she said.
Current and potential students were notified of the program’s cancellation by email June 7. If students wish to continue in cosmetology they need to seek apprenticeships with local hairdressers.
One reason for the programs was shutdown was the need for more specialized courses, Stalder said. These courses would require additional academic review. That is to say nothing of the need for additional faculty and specialized space (which CTC would lease), as well as the financial cost to students. Program graduates could run into a difficulties finding work. There’s not much room for employment in the Fairbanks area for those looking to start cosmetology firms or rent booth space in salons according to Stalder.
Existing CTC programs will use the money saved from the shutdown.
The program originated with a group of salon owners who asked CTC (then the Tanana Valley Campus) to begin offering cosmetology training. The campus agreed to offer a three-year pilot program and received a limited license from the State of Alaska Board of Barbers and Hairdressers.
For the first year, the salons provided space for the students to learn the practical side of the program. “This process was more difficult than anyone imagined,” wrote Stalder in an email. As a result, the next year CTC was forced to look for the money to lease additional room and pay for space modifications. They didn’t foresee these costs when the program started.
Despite the fact that most students who entered the program graduated, the unexpected financial costs led to the program’s demise.
Third-year student Susan Merrill is disappointed to see the program go, she said. For Merrill, being a cosmetologist had been a dream of hers since she was a young girl. The program helped her realize that dream, when she graduated from the program on Aug. 26. Merrill was part of the program’s final batch of graduates. “I did not feel good about [the program’s closure],” she said.
“The community itself needs the program,” Merrill added. “We need more cosmetologists in Fairbanks and the surrounding area.”
Merrill had nothing but good things to say about the program. “It was excellent,” she said, citing her teacher’s knowledge and the academic environment. She added that her time in the program was tough, considering Merrill is a mother of four. “It was a challenge,” she said. “It was a family commitment.”
While Stalder was concerned about students finding employment after graduation, Merrill has it all figured out. She’s preparing to open her own salon in Salcha and is ready to get to work.