Students stress over scheduling

Students continue to register and plan for classes this week as they deal with capacity issues and time conflicts.

“I think registering for classes is as stressful as finals week,” sophomore Andrea Baker said.

Baker said she experienced stress planning for science classes that are applicable to her pharmacy major.

“My concern was getting into the organic chemistry class that I wanted,” Baker said. “They originally start out with less spots in o-chem classes than there are people who need to take the classes.”

Baker said there’s an allotted number of spots for each professor. Then, once those spots all fill, the

caps are raised on the class size.

Eventually all students are placed in a class, but it may not be with their desired professor.

Baker said she was adamant about getting a good professor with a teaching style that she was familiar with, given that organic chemistry is a huge aspect of her major.

“It all worked out for me this time,” Baker said.   “I sat with my computer on my lap for almost three hours, just watching the numbers of each professor slowly decrease.  That way, the moment it hit zero I could be accepted.”

Freshman Meghan Farrell said she experienced similar stress when she originally couldn’t get into a biology and society class that she needed to fulfill her natural world credit.

Farrell said the class had spots open until the moment she had to enroll.  It was the only one that could fit into her schedule.

“The next day, they ended up opening two more spots in the class,” Farrell said.  “I got in because I looked at the right time, but it was very stressful.”

Kathryn Morris, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, said course offerings are planned through department chairs and program directors.

She said deans and associate deans inspect class schedules, and the associate provost oversees the core curriculum to ensure core offerings meet student needs.

“We work very hard each semester to ensure that students have the opportunity to take the courses they need in order to graduate on time,” Morris said in an email.  “We carefully monitor enrollments as the enrollment period proceeds.”

Morris said this allows faculty to understand which students may have trouble getting into courses  they need.

Morris said the decisions to add extra seats to a class or to add an entire class section are made by the deans, the associate provost or Morris herself.

Student advisers can also provide students with permission numbers to get into classes that close if they are vital to their particular schedules.

Cynthia Payne, an exploratory adviser, said when she meets with advisees, she helps them come up with two or three alternative class choices just in case.

These classes, she said, might help students explore major or minor options or fulfill core requirements.

“The great thing about Butler is that we are a smaller institution, which is coupled with an individualized approach,” Payne said.  “I think many departments are willing to help students out whenever they can.”

Payne said she always reminds students that there is never a bad time to take an elective class.

“I realize and understand that students are concerned about having their courses count for specific requirements,” Payne said.   “But more often than not, depending on the major, there is flexibility in what a student is required to complete in order to graduate.”

Payne also said elective courses could help a student explore different viewpoints or simply be taken because of students’ personal interests.

“We can come up with a full schedule that allows students to progress toward degree completion and benefit from their classes,” Payne said.

Still, Farrell said stress could be reduced if there were more allotted seats in each class to begin with.

“Opening a few more seats in each class and moving sections of a class at different times would reduce stress because a lot of classes are all at the same time, and you can’t be in two places at once,” she said.

Baker said she was unsure of an easy solution to the stress caused by planning for classes.

“The problem is, I don’t know what we could do to make it easier for us to register because most of us love the small classes,” Baker said.

Tom Weede, vice president for enrollment management, said the institution is trying to consider all   things that growth implies.

“As we study the concept of growth, the one thing I have heard repeatedly is that we don’t want to lose Butler’s special nature,” Weede said in an email.  “We may see growth in the size of the entering freshman class but not necessarily in individual classes.”

Morris said attentive advising and careful attention to the registration process results in fewer situations where students are unable to get into a course that is vital to the timeliness of graduation.

“As our student body has grown and continues to grow,” Moore said. “We will continue to exercise this degree of attention to ensure that student needs are met,” Morris said.

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