Waitlist woes: Some classes at the University are just too much of a pain to get into


Published January 13, 2010

CAAS 358: Michael Jackson, Race and Genius in America

As students filed into the first lecture for CAAS 358, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Black or White,” and “Thriller” played to a YouTube mash-up of famous Michael Jackson music videos. The course, more commonly referred to as "the Michael Jackson class," will focus on the legend's reign as the King of Pop, from his portrayal in the media to the role race played in his life.

Held around a large conference table in Haven Hall, every chair was filled by the 30-something student registered for the class, while those on the extensive waitlist leaned against the walls awaiting their fates.

Professor Nesha Haniff began by saying she'd "never been so inundated" by a class before, going on to explain that while most of the class promises to be discussion and analysis-based, guest lecturers will contribute topics like the multicultural aspects of Jackson's dance and its impact on the world. — Annie Thomas, Daily Staff Reporter

CICS 101: Intro to International Studies

If you're one of the many students who’s lobbied the University for an international studies major, congratulations, it now exists.

The excitement over the new major has manifested in a rush to enroll in this introductory class, with a waitlist that currently boasts 63 students and was at one point over 100.

With preference given to official International Studies concentrators, rumors are circulating that students have begun declaring as CICS majors solely to get into the overwhelmingly popular class.

While it’s designed as your basic introductory course — a broad overview of various aspects of globalization— Prof. Bradley Farnsworth has added some wrinkles to the traditional formula. In addition to discussing everything from "democracy, to Chinese porcelain, to Avatar," Farnsworth will be bringing in 12 guest lecturers throughout the semester to provide a more localized focus.

Farnsworth seems likely to provide a refreshingly career-oriented perspective to the course, already making an effort to tie ideas of "cultural imperialism" to actual real word applications in only the second class. — Sam Wainwright, Magazine Staff Writer

AMCULT 208: Beatniks, Hippies and Punks

If you're looking for a fun class to transfer into, Bruce Conforth's 'Beatniks, Hippies, and Punks' is not it. It's not that the class is unpopular with students— quite the contrary. After the first day, the waitlist had over 50 students — far more than your average.

For anyone who has experienced one of Conforth's courses, the long waitlist isn't surprising. During his second lecture of the semester, Conforth, clad in a leather vest and jeans, played the song "What is Hip?" by Tower of Power before warning, "one thing you need to know is that what is hip today could become passe".

If the auditory aides make the class sound like a breeze, think again. Students have to think in Conforth's class. "Democracy in America is an inherent contradiction," he explained in the same lecture. It's "individuals versus conformity."

Even after one lecture, AmCult 208 students seemed to have nothing but positive things to say. LSA junior Killian Brady said that since Conforth grew up during the decade he teaches, he "seems more authentic."

Conforth himself says the class's popularity is because of the subject matter. "I like to think it's a topic students relate to," he said. — Daniel Strauss, Magazine Staff Writer

POLISCI 489: Law and Social Change

With an advisory prerequisite of “seniors only,” it might seem like securing a spot in PoliSci 489 would be a relatively easy task considering you'd only have to beat out a quarter of the undergraduate population in the rush to register. Think again. The once-a-week lecture, combined with Professor Richard Bernstein's positive reputation and the relevant subject matter, has once again made the class one of the hottest commodities of the semester.

After the first class, the waitlist remained at a solid 50-plus students for a course held in a lecture hall big enough to accommodate a cool 300-something bodies.

The course centers on its so-called "paradigm," which is to explain how "the legal process can impact the political process to bring about social change." Through guest speakers such as attorneys, plaintiffs and public officials, students will come to comprehend court rulings that have brought about monumental change in law, politics and society.

Kasey King, an LSA senior who took the course during fall 2009, cited the variety of topics as the course's major draw.

"It's something different every week," he said. "So that's pretty interesting." — Allie White, Deputy Magazine Editor