Office of Testing and Evaluation feels the effects of limited staff

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Though originally suspended on March 15 because of a lack of staff, the Testing Center will now be available through finals week with the help of a temporary extra help clerk.

Before this, the services were still offered, but students who needed accommodations had to go through faculty to get them.

Wendy Long, director of the Office of Testing and Evaluation, said they were able to generate money from testing fees to hire the temporary employee and they received President David Glassman’s permission to do so.

Glassman said he approved this temporary hire because the Testing Center has provided and continues to provide an extremely valuable service for our students and faculty.

“I am pleased we have been able to keep the center operating during this difficult time,” Glassman said.

He said until a state budget is received, the university is doing their best to maintain important campus operations such as the Testing Center.

“As we continue to assess critical short term and long term needs across campus, we will continue to use different types of staffing arrangements as we have always done,” Glassman said. “This includes working with the civil service system and various unions as we work together to provide our students with the excellent academic experience they expect and deserve.”

Michelle Falada, a senior family and consumer sciences major, was angry when she heard the Testing Center was suspended, so she set up a petition online to bring the center back and met with Glassman.

A week later, she received an email, saying the services are being set up for the rest of the semester.

“I cried, and sent (the email) to my friends,” Falada said.

As a student with ADHD and generalized anxiety, she said she needs the Testing Center and that it has been a helpful resource to her during her time at Eastern.

Falada had people contact her, telling her that they wanted to keep the service going for themselves or their children.

She even went to Springfield, where she spoke on the importance of the Testing Center in her life.

Though the Testing Center is reinstated until the end of the semester, Falada said there is still work that needs to be done.

“In order to find the money to keep the center open, we need to make it clear- this is why we need this,” Falada said.

The Testing Center will only be able to accommodate a limited number of students during finals week because there is only one person working there.

While Glassman said he expects the university will receive a state budget soon so the Testing Center can operate normally in the fall, Long said a lot depends on the budget situation.

Long is not able to help in the Testing Center as she will be doing exam scanning and faculty evaluations during finals week.

Because of the budget impasse, the Office of Testing and Evaluation is getting used to having less staff as well.

Although there were originally six people working in the Office of Testing and Evaluation, because of the last round and this round of layoffs and position eliminations, there are currently only two full time people working in the office, including Long, who is getting ready to retire. After she leaves in May, Carrie Gossett, an Operations Support Specialist, will be the only one left in the office.

Long is trying to get everything done before she retires, and said this can get overwhelming.

She said the budget impasse has forced her to retire earlier than she thought she originally would, as she does not want her monthly pension to be reduced, especially now that she has had to take furlough days.

“I’m not willing to take the risk,” Long said.

Gossett said to prepare for when she leaves, Long has been showing her different things she will need to do.

Gossett said if there is something she is not able to figure out on her own, there are people across campus she can also ask for help.

“Basically we have to push through and get things done,” Gossett said.

Gossett said though it could be stressful, this was no different than the stress felt all over campus as other take on new positions and are bumped somewhere else.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]