The Michigan Daily’s article about class enrollment (Students Struggle to Enroll in ‘U’ Courses, 01/27/2011) contained a rather whopping misrepresentation about alleged enrollment problems in my department — Communication Studies.

Because we’re a very popular concentration, students do sometimes have trouble getting into our classes. But just before the start of this term, we saw that we were facing enormous enrollment pressures, so the department added several sections to our more over-subscribed classes, an additional seminar and numerous faculty added extra seats to their upper-level seminars for a total of more than 150 additional spots.

Yet, as evidence of our alleged unresponsiveness to student needs, you cited an LSA student, who claimed to have had “major issues” trying to enroll in our courses. While she said she got into COMM 101 and 102 “by luck” — an enrollment procedure with which I am unfamiliar — she had “no chance” of getting into COMM 211. In fact, the student was notified that two additional sections had been created specifically for this class, both of which fit with her schedule. They were, however, on Thursday evening and Friday morning, times that I realize can interfere with preparation for, or recovery from, a night out at Rick’s. The student chose not to enroll in either of these sections, so it’s indeed wise that she “wouldn’t file a complaint.” She did volunteer, however, that she “would consider giving the comm department some constructive criticism.” As a chair who watches approximately 15 faculty handle nearly 1,500 students a term, all I can say is “looking forward.”

Of course it’s very frustrating when students cannot get into classes they want or need. Our department actually cares about this and to allege that we shut students out when just the opposite occurred is to do an injustice to a very hard-working faculty and staff.

Susan Douglas, Department of Communication Studies chair

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