With the most recent round of registration having come and gone, University academics clearly is struggling to keep up with rising enrollment. With record high attendance and rising numbers of double major and multi-minor students, the registrar's office and heads of departments are in a bind. The University must increase the amount of classes available to students.
Registration for Spring 2013 continued a pattern known all too well by biology students: wait lists, closed course forms and eventually a compromise. Marine biology stands at negative 16 spaces remaining, Microbiology at negative 10. Thankfully the administration was able to add another Microbiology section next semester, but there are still students on wait lists for that and other classes. Every year the department goes through the same song and dance of endless communication between students petitioning to get into classes they want and the department asking administration for more sections. Soon other departments will sing to a similar tune.
Upper-division communication studies, English and many other majors saw the "remaining seats" column dwindle to zero on self serve in the early rounds of registration. With more students adding double majors and multiple minors there is simply a greater need for classes. Knowing this, the University should budget more money for more sections of popular classes.
With academic expansion on the horizon, the University needs to take care of students who are here right now. The University continues to increase enrollment without adequate academic space for students as they develop the River Campus. Under the master plan, there will be more academic buildings and professors in the University's future, but for the time being we need to go back to basics.
For example, the University should to do something to ensure students get classes for their own major regardless of class standing.
One option might be to reform the way the University does registration. Why do upper-division students get priority above a student's major? It seems a matter of convenience that seniors and juniors can register outside their major and take spots in impacted classes that are not in their major.
The priority registration for athletes seems an unfair advantage as well. If athletics already gives athletes passes to miss class for games, why should they also be able to register first?
One thing students don't want to see is rising class sizes.
A practical approach might be to literally go department by department, see which classes are the most popular and plan to spend more during the appropriate budget cycle and prepare sufficient sections. If everyone wants to take the upper division theology class on marriage, why not add one more section to quench our campus's thirst to know the keys to a happy matrimony?
The administration should not be so focused on UP's future that it forgets its present.
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