As any student on campus can testify, one of the major
issues with working out a class schedule is being able to get into all the
necessary classes. The students, however, are not the only ones aware of this
“We are putting together an ad-hoc committee to look at
scheduling in the widest possible way,” said the Associate Vice Chancellor of
Enrollment Management Jim Barrett. We recently had a report done, a firm that
was brought in by the University of Wisconsin system, and they did an analysis
of scheduling and classroom capacity and the efficacy related to them. In
looking at it, many of the issues there were things that we felt if we set out
our minds to them, we could work on them and start solving these problems.”
Problems scheduling classes can be a hassle not only
for students, but for professors as well.
“It does often happen that we have to schedule a class
other than when we thought we would schedule it,” said Mary Bowman, an English
professor at the University of Wisconsin-Steven Point. “I think it is much more
of an issue for students who get closed out of courses that they need or that
they want. I’ve certainly heard of students having to stick around another
The ad-hoc committee will be working to improve class
scheduling and will begin meeting this month. It is made up of various faculty
members, department assistants and staff from Registration and Records. Dan
Kellogg, the registrar, will be chairing the committee.
There are many facets that may complicate the
improvement of the scheduling process. Some of the issues that the University
is fighting against include: lack of classroom space, confliction of scheduled
class times, and even maintaining enough faculty to run the classes.
“We have had a lot of retirements,” Barrett said.
“It’s a national phenomenon that the baby boomers are retiring. A number of
faculty here have retired. We are in a competitive hiring environment and in
some majors that has been an issue.”
The goal is to meet the needs of the students by
offering enough sections of every class so that students are able to fulfill
their requirements in a timely manner. To solve the capacity issues, Barrett
said the committee is looking at times of day they have not considered before.
60-minute class periods are also being considered. On a larger scale, a new
science building will be built soon, offering more classroom space as well as
room for new laboratories.
Part of the issue also lies in ensuring that students
are able to pass their classes and will not have to retake them. In order to
help, Barrett said the committee took a close look at the classes that had a
high fail or withdraw rate. As a result, additional funding was given to the
Tutoring and Learning Center to help tutor students in the problem areas, especially
in the sciences where many seem to be struggling.
Advising is another part of the plan to fix scheduling
issues. An advisor has been hired specifically for the biology department,
which seems to have the most overloaded classes.
To help advisors, students, and faculty know what
classes will be in demand, a new Degree Progress Report program will soon be
implemented. The new DPR program will make it easier for students to see what
classes they need and will allow faculty to gather data on how many students
will need certain classes.
“It is a complex problem when you look at the demand
issues that are there,” Barrett said. “It didn’t happen overnight, and it’s
going to take us a little bit of time to fix it, but we are working on it
Barrett also mentioned that the degree audit
improvement is likely to happen a year from now.