Nov 27th, 2021, 03:20 PM

Frustrated Students Speak on AUP's Course Registration

By Linus Larsson
Image credit: Unsplash/Eric Rothermel
This year's registration process has forced limited options, overlapping courses, and delayed graduations.

Many enrolled students within the AUP community have voiced concerns regarding their course registration, both for this current semester and the upcoming Spring 2022. Spanning different educational backgrounds and class standings, these students have experienced multiple obstacles that block them from joining required courses.

Jacob Shropshire, a Junior enrolled in a double major program, expressed disappointment when he encountered issues signing up for a full schedule next semester. Shropshire said, "The only way I could even take 16 credits worth of classes that I need to take meant that I’d be taking two classes during the same period on the same day, which obviously isn’t a possibility." While Shropshire didn't expect to get every single class he wanted, he did expect to take some reasonable mix of classes required for his majors.  

Guilia Giordo, a Senior studying International Comparative Politics with a minor in Communication and Technologies, shared Shropshire's frustration. "Almost every semester, I had scheduling and timing issues with my minor course requirements with my major requirements," she said. Giordo continued, noting that many of her troubles were caused by overlapping schedules, in fact most of her politics courses are scheduled at the exact same time as her computer science courses. This results in many students being forced to chose which required courses are most immediately crucial. Giordo explained, "This semester I had to get two computer science courses substituted because they were either unavailable, or happened at the same time as courses that are mandatory for my major." 

Another AUP student, Ria Phi, who is also enrolled in a double major - Psychology and History, Law, and Society - added urgency to this issue as it poses an obstacle to her immediate graduation plans. "I guess my biggest issue was that there are really limited course options for next semester, which is difficult to deal with schedule-wise if I want to graduate on time," she said. Instead of choosing classes that both fulfill her graduation requirement and that genuinely interest her, Phi feels she is signing up for classes to simply fill her schedule at this point.

While some problems students have with their class offerings seem to be subjective and orientated around their particular majors or unique situation, scheduling for double majors seems to be widely shared. It seems it is the most reoccurring and significant issue plaguing AUP right now, is scheduling anything beyond one major programs, such as double majors or minors.

Christine Tomasek, Associate Dean for Academic Administration, commented upon the upcoming course offering at AUP, "In the abstract, the Spring 2022 schedule represents a very broad and diverse offering. This is something that is rather easy and natural for me to say because I work with all departments as we build our schedules so it is rather easy for me to see the big picture." However, Tomasek empathized with students, saying she understood that it might be difficult to see this as a student, as the search for courses happens in a naturally-targeted way. 

Generally speaking, according to Tomasek, AUP does not plan a semester offering with the expectation that courses will fill to capacity, yet they must ensure classes have enough students for there to be a worthwhile classroom experience. There are also departmental transitions in which the departments attempt to get more flexibility or add new courses to explore new topics, a process which takes time.

Tomasek acknowledges the decreased offering last year and explains that COVID-19 was among the main cause. AUP had some faculty departures last year, however they also welcomed new faculty this Fall. Furthermore, Tomasek added that this year's course offerings should have been consistent with the precoronavirus conditions, and that the university's hope is for it to continue to be so in upcoming years as well.

Tomasek said, "We do spend a lot of time trying to figure out which overlaps are typically okay and which ones are critical in nature and require a rescheduling of courses.  I wish we could prevent every possible course overlap but given the number of possibilities across our curriculum, it is quite impossible."