The communications studies department has implemented a new policy that reserves 75 percent of the seats in its classes for concentrators.
This will give communication studies majors priority when scheduling classes this winter semester, as opposed to an open enrollment policy in use by other departments.
The change will affect all upper-level classes and Communications Studies 211, which is a prerequisite for concentrators.
A year ago the department capped its classes at 50 percent non-concentrators. After reviewing the results of that change, the department decided to increase the number of concentrators in the classes.
“If students declare their major they should be able to finish their credits in a timely manner,” said department Chair Michael Traugott.
“The source of difficulty was the high demand for the upper-level courses by non-communications majors,” Traugott said. “There will still be waitlists, but concentrators will have priority on those lists.”
Other departments have not followed the communications studies department by changing their registration procedures but have their own policies regarding priority of registering concentrators.
The political science department has classes that are highly sought after, yet the department adheres to a first-come, first-served basis, said Dante Hicks, a staff member in the political science department.
The English department, when seeing a high demand for a section, will open more classes to accommodate the need.
“What we do is ask professors to prioritize according to year in standing. Seniors first, et cetera.,” said Katherine Teasbale, an English undergraduate administrator.
The problem with the waitlists is that “the students don”t really know how they are picked off a waitlist,” said Justine Altman, a staff member in the psychology department”s undergraduate office. The psychology department allows professors to decide how they want to order people on their waitlists.
Not all students are thrilled about the communication studies department”s new policy. Many want the opportunity to try and take classes out of their major at the upper levels.
“From a personal perspective you should leave it open to everyone,” said Michael James, an LSA senior double majoring in history and political science. The history department doesn”t have any explicit restrictions for most classes, but students need the instructor”s permission to enroll in most upper-level classes.
“It restricts students from broadening their educational horizons,” James said.
But the department is recognizing that their classes are frequently requested and attempting to compensate for their concentrators. Amy Wilmers, a senior communications studies major remarked “At least they are making a step in the right direction.”