Students have misconceptions about schedule changes

Students have been wondering why it is so difficult to get classes for the spring 2013 semester. Some believe the lack of classes is due to recent schedule changes and time slot additions.

As a transfer student and a commuter, it is especially difficult for me to put together a schedule with enough units and major classes to keep me on track.

My classes are offered during the same time slots, making it difficult to get certain requirements out of the way.  Turns out, I’m not the only one with issues.

Junior Kate Cabebe also expressed similar concerns about her schedule.

“I’ve had so much trouble getting into classes I need,” said Cabebe.

Struggling to find classes has “been difficult for schedule organization and planning,” said Cabebe.

The general  campus belief is that the difficult scheduling resulted from the changes that took place this year.

It was rumored that the schedule change occurred after an increase in the freshmen class size. However, that isn’t actually the case.

Maria Kohnke, registrar at CLU, said that the federal government created stricter regulations to ensure that universities were utilizing their time well.

The federal policy is called the “Carnegie Definition.” The definition says that one credit equals one hour per week in class and two hours per week out of class during a fifteen week period.

“As a way of making sure the students were getting the education they should be getting, the federal government said ‘we were going to define the definition of the credit’,” said Kohnke.

As a result of the policy’s strict regulation, California Lutheran University had to restructure the schedule to ensure that students are getting the most out of their education. Time slots were created to offer more class times.

Kohnke said before the schedule change, one classroom could hold ten classes in one week, but now one classroom can hold 14 classes.

“We shifted things around to get better use of the space,” said Kohnke.

As a result of the change, there has been an increase in 147 classes spaces, according to Kohnke.

It is still difficult to get classes even with the new time slots.

Kohnke says it is an academic issue, not a space issue, and the Registrar has little to do with dispersal of classes.

Joan Griffin, dean of the CLU College of Arts and Sciences, said schedules are put together by the department chairs in consultation with other department professors.

“The dean of the school or college approves the schedule.  Departments are encouraged to spread courses among the available days and times,” said Griffin in an email.

Popular courses will likely be scheduled more often.

“Required courses in majors with a large number of students tend to close earlier than courses in majors with fewer students,” said Griffin.

Griffin said that if there is a large waiting list during registration, sections are often added to accommodate students.

If a student is having a particularly difficult problem, academic advisers and department chairs will try to help, according to Griffin.

Playing devil’s advocate, I have met with advisers and evaluators and still have had trouble forming a commuter schedule that didn’t start at 7:45 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m., five days a week.

I am hoping that next semester things will be different, otherwise I will be graduating behind schedule, which creates a financial burden.

However, one of the positive aspects about attending a small university is that it is easy to meet with administrators and department chairs. If we have problems, we aren’t put on hold for an hour, but are helped right away.

Because of this, I would urge everyone with scheduling problems to meet with someone and express their concerns.

Maybe the department chairs and professors can come together to ensure that we are getting the most out of our education, not just by using the “Carnegie Definition,” but by widely dispersing important classes.

 

Madison Jones
Staff Writer
Published Dec. 5, 2012