When classes fill

By Ebony McCline

DeKALB | Registering for classes can be frustrating for students and faculty alike.

Isabel Gomez, a senior communication major, said she noticed a problem when first attempting to register for classes required for her major. Gomez went to talk to the dean of communication and expressed to him her anticipated graduation date. In order to graduate when she wanted, she would need some particular courses. Ultimately, she was told she couldn’t take one class because it was full. She would have to take it during the semester she intended on graduating in.

Journalism classes are on the high end already, said Dale Zacher, assistant professor of communication. He said the recommended ratio of professors to students for writing classes is one to 15 and currently the ratio is one to 20.

According to the Office of Institutional Research’s data book, undergraduate journalism enrollment has gone up from 206 students in 2001 to 280 in 2005. Communication studies is more sporadic, ranging from between 364 to 401 students over the last five years, but with no established trend.

Steven Ralston, professor and department of communication chair, said journalism is a popular major, and both faculty and students want easy enrollment. The issue is trying to meet the demand and producing solid educational outcomes with limited resources.

Reggie Brown, a junior journalism major, said his sophomore year was the first time he encountered any trouble trying to get into courses for his major.

“I didn’t talk to anyone then because I wasn’t really expecting to get in,” he said. “I was just trying to see if they were available.”

Since then, Brown has talked to many advisors, as well as administrators, about getting the classes he needs. In the mean time, he has been fulfilling the requirements for his minor in sociology, he said.

Both Ralston and Zacher agree that one-on-one instruction is needed and each student needs personal attention in order to achieve a quality education.

“You can’t add students without taking away from the quality of teaching,” Zacher said.

Every party involved is frustrated, Ralston said. The department is trying to do what they can by letting one or two more students into a class or offering summer courses. They also have just added a new faculty member. He said there are things that can be done to remedy the problem, but that doesn’t mean the problem will be solved.

Brown said he’s sure there is frustration on the part of the administration, but not as much frustration as he thinks the students feel.

Ebony McCline is a Campus Reporter for the Northern Star.