Students trying to get into upper-level Spanish classes have had to face a formidable opponent — the waitlist.
Though many classes across various subjects at the University feature waitlists in the double digits, the problem is especially acute in the Spanish Department. Due to restricted class sizes and the popularity of Spanish at the University, many students — including those majoring in Spanish — face difficulties getting into these courses.
Students have been complaining in droves about the difficulty of getting into these courses with large waitlists, as the closed classes complicate the timeline for their major.
Michele Hannoosh, the department chair of Romance Languages and Literatures, wrote in an e-mail interview that while the department does recognize the problem of over-enrollment, it has “been apparent for several years.”
She wrote that the classes are filling quickly due to the increasing popularity of Spanish, which, she wrote, has “more combined concentrators and minors than any department in LSA apart from Economics.”
Upper-level Spanish classes are particularly popular because many students take Spanish in high school and test into the higher levels once they get to the University, Hannoosh wrote.
Assistant Spanish Prof. Daniel Noemi, who is teaching a class that had a waitlist of over 20 people as of Tuesday, said another problem is that there aren’t enough classes for the large number of Spanish concentrators.
He said this causes many students to question why the 25-student class size cannot be increased, but he fears that larger classes would be less productive for students.
“The problem would be that the classes wouldn’t be very good,” he said.
Noemi added that though adding more professors would be “ideal,” it is not possible with the current state of the economy.
While the packed waitlists of 300- and 400-level Spanish classes on Wolverine Access clearly dominate over the somewhat empty lists of French and other language classes, Noemi said he is content to deal with the current enrollment system.
Noemi added that addressing the problem would require a campus-wide change to facilitate all departments with high student demand.
“I think that the department does quite a good job,” he said. “In terms of in the end, everybody can get into a class.”
But LSA sophomore Sarah Hallinen said she disagrees.
Hallinen said she was put on the waitlist for Spanish 368 and 410, adding that she has noticed more competition for Spanish classes this semester than in previous semesters.
“It is extremely frustrating for the large number of students attempting to take Spanish classes,” she said. “For some reason over-enrollment does seem like more of a problem this semester.”
LSA freshman Rachel Emery said she tried to avoid being waitlisted by declaring a Spanish major. She said she hoped to gain access to the class spots reserved for concentrators, but she still wasn’t able to get into some courses.
Though other students have had trouble getting into the classes of their choice, LSA Freshman Dana Van Oostenburg said she had a positive experience with her enrollment.
“I feel pretty lucky to have gotten into my second choice Spanish class this semester,” she said.
Hannoosh said that this flexibility is the key to the system, as enrollment does work for students willing to cooperate with the department.
“We have a dedicated staff who work hard to help students find appropriate courses,” she said.