LA&S faces schedule dilemma

By Suzanne Tomse

Many NIU students experienced scheduling problems this semester due to past and present high enrollments and a shortage of faculty, especially in some departments of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“We are having very heavy enrollments in our courses,” said James Miller, director of undergraduate studies in English. Miller said the English department filled all 1,850 spaces that were offered this spring.

“We were forced to examine why people wanted to take a course. We had to turn a great many people away,” Miller said. Because of increasing course requests after mail registration, the department was forced to require permits for all courses except for general education, Miller said.

English majors and minors, students seeking teacher certification and students about to graduate were given first priority for courses. Miller said these groups were given a “reasonable compromise” in order to continue to progress toward graduation if their course requests were not fulfilled.

“We do not have enough staff to serve the number of students. The shortage of faculty is a “complicated matter,” he said, adding, “The English department has some faculty members who could teach that are working in administrative positions.” Miller also said the university does not have the funding for additional faculty.

Communication students also ran into scheduling problems this semester. The department has space for 450 students, and about 436 were accepted. However, about 403 other pre-communication students also requested courses for this semester.

“I don’t think people understand how big we are,” said Arthur Doederlein, undergraduate coordinator for communication studies. He said many students do not receive courses because their grade point averages are not high enough.

“People are out in the cold because they do not meet the standards,” he said. Because of increasing competition in communications, the required grade point was raised from 2.45 to 2.7 in the fall of 1986, and it might be raised to 2.8 or 2.9 by next fall, Doederlein said.

Because of an increased number of students and a lack of faculty, the communications department currently is not offering any general education courses.

“We want to teach general education courses so students can try it (communications) out,” Doederlein said. He attributed part of the problem to a shortage in funds, saying, “We need more money. If the demand keeps going up, we should eventually get more resources.”

The foreign language and literatures department also had some scheduling problems in the lower division levels. However, one part-time and two full-time faculty members were hired, and more sections were added.

“We managed to place everyone who went through add/drop and late registration,” said Marilyn Skinner, foreign languages and literature chairman.

Associate Provost Lida Barrett said part of the scheduling problem was caused by a past enrollment of 3,900 freshmen. In addition, many students did not receive courses because they waited until the last minute to register, she said.

“I do not feel the institution can guarantee to take care of these students. The scheduling process takes alot of effort and planning on our parts and a lot of patience on the students’ parts. It’s a complicated matter,” Barrett said.