November 9, 2000

Arts College Will 'Cap' Classes Next Semester

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The College of Arts and Sciences’ new course policy will create stricter limits designed to balance enrollment in sections and labs for certain popular classes. The University hopes the policy, which takes effect next semester, will make it easier for students to establish their schedules.

In order to prevent a lop-sided selection of seminars or section enrollments, limits will be imposed on popular courses and a few small labs.

“We are not putting limits on classes to reduce enrollments. We do, however, want students to sign into an open section that will in turn create a fairly equal number of students in each section of a given course,” said Lynn S. Abel, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

In the past, the arts college allowed students to sign into any section that was open, and as a result, a course’s sections would often have uneven enrollment. The college registrar would then have to individually balance each student’s schedule and adjust the sections to fulfill as many student requests as possible.

The registrar will still do this, but CoursEnroll will present students with all possible sections that are open as well as those that have reached their limit, according to Abel.

“Very few courses now have caps. Those that do are generally popular science, math or language oriented courses. If a student needs to take a class for their major and there is no room left, we ask that students speak with the Registrar,” Abel said.

Caps on the six other colleges’ course offerings have existed in their current form for years. The arts college was the last to implement them, according to Abel.

“The purpose of these caps is to allow students to adjust their own schedules if they cannot enroll in just the course or section they prefer,” said Sally O’Hanlon, arts college Registrar.

Caps have had an effect on students University-wide.

“I got locked out of two classes required for my Industrial Labor Relations major; I was able to contact the office of student services to ensure my admittance,” Lauren Boehm ’04 said.

“I hate CoursEnroll; I didn’t get on until 4:20 Saturday morning, and I didn’t get all the courses I wanted. An English class in the Arts and Sciences school was full,” Kerry Geiler ’04 said.

There is no way to prefer majors to non-majors or any other particular person for which a class may be designed, according to Abel. O’Hanlon said that departments will keep waiting-lists for full courses and sections.

Rodney Orme, an operations support specialist in the University registrar’s office, said that sometimes pre-requisites, college limitations, preference for majors and other factors prevent students from getting into classes. In the arts college, the management of courses is under the jurisdiction of the individual departments rather than by individual faculty members, as is the case in other schools.

Orme said that it does not hurt for students to take full advantage of the allotted two-week pre-enrollment period before turning in their advisor code. He explained that it is possible that a class a student cannot get into the first day may very well have room the sixth day during the period.

As to how to deal with those students who do not get their schedules turned in on time, Orme said, “That is at the discretion of the individual college registrars.”

Schedules are expected to be posted online for the Spring Semester by Jan. 13.

Archived article by Chris Westgate