The Equinox is concerned about potential class size minimums that could occur for classes next semester.
To start, smaller programs cannot realistically meet minimum requirements, especially in regards to upper-level and more specialized courses.
Also, the college runs the risk of students not being able to graduate from their program on time or at all if the classes they need for their major are going to be canceled. Graduating students are stuck with an incredibly unfair amount of anxiety, especially those in smaller programs. The courses they need to take to graduate on time are on the chopping block if they don’t meet the minimum enrollment requirement.
Seniors are met with the financial burden of possibly having to take an extra semester just to be able to take the one course they need to graduate. It’s a grossly unfair punishment against the smaller majors and their students. Having a large number of involuntary superseniors isn’t something the college should be proud of.
When KSC advertises its offered majors, there is no fine print about whether or not the student is going to be able to take the courses they need. A college offering programs means that they are going to allow students to finish this program with all the courses they need. Incoming students should be told that if they’re going to pick a smaller major, the courses they need might get cut because there aren’t enough students that signed up.
It is incredibly unrealistic to expect every major program to have the same registration numbers, especially considering the overall size of the student body and declining enrollment. Comparing the needs of the small departments and students to that of KSC’s more popular programs, like Education and Nursing, is like comparing apples to oranges. They have different enrollment numbers, different course needs, and entirely different faculty numbers, and, as a result, will have varying course registration numbers.
The Equinox understands that a certain minimum is required, however, in order for proper discussion and other class functions. Cutting courses because of low enrollment not only does damage to the graduation path of the students, but also adds further burden to the professors. Some professors have had to replace canceled or under-enrolled courses with independent studies or course substitutions for the sake of students graduating on time, placing extra work onto their plate.
With all these troubles taken into account, some students might question their capability to step into the workforce. If students can’t take the specialized courses for their major that apply to their future careers, they might feel underprepared to successfully work in the field.
The Equinox suggests a tier system to implement the course minimums without the smaller programs suffering. The minimum enrollment shouldn’t be an across-the-board policy, because not every program can pull even more than 10 students together for classes. The higher level and more specialized courses are less likely to have large enrollment numbers than the lower level and more general courses, and therefore should not have the same registration ceiling.
If a tier system was implemented, the students in the smaller programs wouldn’t have to worry about their courses getting canceled. And after all the work and money students put into their college education, the last thing they should have to worry about is their courses getting cut.
From where we’re sitting, the college looks unresponsive with the needs of the students, specifically in smaller programs.
Ultimately, if Keene State College wants students to succeed when they leave this campus, they should reconsider the damage that could come from canceling upper level courses and how it could affect the culture of smaller departments.