Arizona Daily Wildcat Online
Front Page
· Basketball
· Columnists
Live Culture
Police Beat
Photo Spreads
Special Sections
The Wildcat
Letter to the Editor
Wildcat staff
Job Openings
Advertising Info
Student Media
Arizona Student Media info
UATV - student TV
KAMP - student radio
The Desert Yearbook
Daily Wildcat staff alumni

Admins worried by class lock outs

By Jeff Sklar
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Print this

Classes cannot be closed to minors without prior consent of administration

Departments will no longer be allowed to close off classes to students minoring in their fields without consent from the central administration, officials announced yesterday.

However, departments that have already prevented minors from enrolling in classes will have until Dec. 31 to comply with the ruling.

The new policy stems from the fact that students who have declared minors in several departments have been unable to enroll for fall classes within those departments.

Administrators say they worry that the university, in preventing minors from taking those classes, is failing to honor its contract with students who expect to be able to complete required courses.

"We in the central administration are very worried about that," Jerrold Hogle, vice provost for instruction, said last week. "If we're going to do this, we need to tell students in advance ... so they don't feel that their contract with the university has been violated."

Some departments, handicapped by funding and class shortages, were forced to limit enrollment in upper-division classes to majors, locking out minors and other interested students.

In the communication department, allowing minors to enroll would have displaced majors, said Chris Segrin, the department head.

"If we had more (faculty), we could offer more seats," he said.

The communication department has long been plagued with class overcrowding. In the fall, its student-faculty ratio hovered around 95:1, a number that had dropped only slightly in the past two years.

Still, officials in the Provost's Office now say departments shouldn't be able to make these decisions without first justifying them to the university's central administration.

"When that decision is made, there should be convincing taking place, maybe a little bureaucracy, then clarity," Provost George Davis told the Faculty Senate last week.

Segrin said he would welcome more communication with the Provost's Office and wouldn't consider such a move as an infringement on his autonomy.

"Any unit should be justifying to administration what sort of actions they're taking and why they're taking them," he said.

As of last week, Hogle wasn't sure whether the Provost's Office would supply departments with additional funds to open classes if officials don't want them to close classes to minors. The memo announcing yesterday's decision contained no discussion of new funds.

Last year, the administration allotted $4.8 million from tuition revenue and other reallocations to open more classes. President Peter Likins has said he expects some of the revenue from next year's $490 tuition increase to be spent on opening courses.

If the Provost's Office assumes more control over class closures, it could also eliminate surprises for students who sign up for a minor, then discover they're being locked out of classes, Hogle said.

Faculty Sen. John Willerton, a political science associate professor, told Davis and the senate that he has already received messages from students wanting him to sign them into his classes.

The political science department has been dropping nonmajors from upper-division courses nightly, though it will open any available spaces to those students beginning April 24.

"What we were doing was protecting slots for the majors," Willerton said.

Earlier this semester, Bill Mishler, the political science department head, said only about 800 or 900 seats were available in the department's upper-division classes, which isn't enough to serve its 1,200 majors.

As of yesterday afternoon, no spots were available for general enrollment in the entire listing of upper-division political science classes offered on campus.

The economics department doesn't have a policy closing off classes, but funding and staff shortages prevent it from offering classes that students can take with only an introductory level prerequisite, said Mark Walker, the department head.

"I really want to offer courses for everybody who wants to take them," he said.

In addition to communication, political science and economics, Hogle said minors have been handicapped in journalism, media arts, retail and consumer sciences and the criminal justice division of the School of Public Administration and Policy.

Write a Letter to the Editor
Union businesses losing money
Student's full-time job cut by union
Admins worried by class lock outs
New Mt. Graham mirror will help UA look deep into space
Student produces new dating show
Groups to form human Israeli flag on UA Mall
On the spot
Fast facts
People and Places
Police Beat
Housing Guide
University of Arizona Visitor's Guide
Restaurant and Bar guide
Search for:
advanced search Archives

Webmaster -
© Copyright 2003 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Arizona Student Media