Students had the opportunity to share their concerns with the provost Monday, especially concerning course cancellations that will be implemented in Spring 2024. The course cancellation covers undergraduate courses with fewer than 15 students and graduate courses with fewer than 10 students, with the exception of classes necessary for graduation.
Provost David Hood said the deans have been monitoring courses since registration, comparing courses in the last few semesters and making adjustments according to the revealed trends.
“On December 29th, deans will get a list of all the courses that fall below the threshold,” Hood said. “They have an opportunity to work with their faculty and department chairs to come up with solutions and to submit justifications for those courses to continue to run.”
Hood said students will receive direct communication in early January concerning a course cancellation, giving them the opportunity to work with their advisors to register for a different course before the semester begins. The process will not be only about course cancellation, but also the addition of course opportunities.
“A lot of times, we focus on what needs to be cut, but we also add tons of classes based on student demand. This is why it is important that we go through this process of pruning and cutting, because a lot of times we need to add in other areas,” Hood said. “If you don’t have the resources to add another area and you’re just offering these courses that nobody is taking, it doesn’t make any sense. You could really be adding courses where students are requesting them.”
Hood constantly reassured students they will be able to graduate on time.
“The one thing that we are not going to do is prevent anyone from not graduating. That is one thing that we are going to ensure: students are graduating on time,” he said.
Hood said the administration has the power to adjust courses in the curriculum but not overhaul a curriculum. That is the jurisdiction of the faculty. Courses that are a requirement for a major will not be adjusted. The main area of adjustment will occur in the electives where students can choose what they take. Even so, course cancellations will make sure that students fulfill the required number of credits for graduation in their proper time.
“A department may offer 5 electives in one semester, when maybe they could offer 2 or 3. The courses aren’t filling because they are offering too many courses that aren’t required,” Hood said.
Hood pointed out this course cancellation process has been going on since last August unbeknownst to many but only caused agitation this semester. A student expressed concern the course cancellation would impact the education of students, but Hood emphasized it would not impact it more than it already has.
“It is a natural part of the academic process,” he said. “Even when I was in school, you had courses that just didn’t make it. This is an age-old process. It’s fairly new to us enforcing it on our campus, but it’s not new.”
Hood also briefly discussed adjustments with finals week that will be implemented starting Fall 2024. Most classes will have exams on the first day of the class meeting. The exceptions are 2-hour final exams for MATH 112, CS 121, BIO 100, and MATH 098.
Freshman Anika Rossow Strasser, an Interdisciplinary Studies major, expressed her reason for attending the discussion was out of concern for majors like hers that naturally have smaller classes. She mentioned she had a few unanswered questions.
“I would like to know how a program like I’m in will be affected, so any programs that have smaller class sizes or more specialized classes,” Rossow Strasser said. “Another question I had was why 15 students instead of a certain percentage because 15 in a class that has a limit of 18 students is a much higher percentage than 15 in a class of 50.”
Roshit Niraula, coordinator for student government, said the student government aims to meet with the provost once a month through Coffee and Conversation.
“That way the provost gets to connect with students, the students get to ask the provost questions about new policies the office might be bringing in, about any concerns we might have,” Niraula said.
Niraula said many students reach out to the student government via email and their questions are placed on the agenda for discussion with the provost.
“Even if they are not able to make it to the meeting, we have student leaders and representatives who are able to ask their questions to the provost in the meeting,” Niraula said. “We would definitely love to have more outreach and get more students to come.”
Header photo: Students met with provost to discuss course cancellations that will be implemented in 2024’s spring semester (Alexis Darkow/The Reporter)
Write to Tracy Swartzendruber at firstname.lastname@example.org