Department faces influx

By Rebecca Bahr

An influx of sociology students gobbling up department resources has faculty fighting for limited admissions.

“Students should be warned that they will have to wait in line to enroll in classes in their major,” sociology department Chairman Gian Sarup said at an Undergraduate Coordinating Council meeting Thursday.

The proposed admissions policy would limit the number of students in the department and would establish a 2.0 grade point average requirement.

Sarup said it has come to the point where many departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are practicing a “de facto” limited admissions policy.

For example, senior sociology majors are currently being closed out of the senior-level research course and forced to extend their graduation time, Sarup said. “That is unfair and unfortunate,” he said.

Provost Kendall Baker also attended the meeting to discuss the proposed policy. The issue was originally brought to Baker in June.

Disagreement over the interpretation of the policy resulted in delays in the approval process, Baker said.

Baker was accused of dragging his feet on the issue by representatives from LA&S.

“That is not the case,” Baker contended.

“When a university places limitations on admissions, students ask questions,” Baker said. “When we attempt to explain that the faculty is overburdened and resources are scarce, we had better be able to prove it.

“We need to be able to demonstrate that resources are now being fully utilized to the students in the department,” Baker said.

Baker stressed the need to explore other alternatives besides limited admissions, such as increased class size or eliminating general education classes in the department. “I realize neither of these solutions sound very tasteful,” he said.

Data is being collected on the use of resources throughout all social science departments. “What we are finding is that the case that can be made (for a limited admissions policy) is not that good,” Baker said.

Should the policy be enacted it would—like those in other majors at the university—be reviewed on a per-semester basis, Baker said.

“It would be a temporary solution to a temporary problem,” Baker said.

The council will decide the issue at their Jan. 31 meeting. If the policy is approved, procedures for limited admissions will go into effect next fall.