Registration trouble plagues visual and media arts majors

by Beacon Staff • April 16, 2008

Students interviewed said they struggled to get into various classes not just to fulfill general education requirements, but also within their majors.,Registration for fall classes has some Emerson students, especially visual and media arts majors, wringing their hands in front of their computers.

Students interviewed said they struggled to get into various classes not just to fulfill general education requirements, but also within their majors.

Students with more credits receive a porportionally better place in the registration line.

Transfer students as well as students with later registration slots find it difficult getting into classes they both want and need.

The VMA department is running into student grievances about registration for the second year in a row.

Though the volume of complaints from students has decreased about three percent from last year, according to department chair Michael Selig, students are still anxious about finding spots in major classes.

Film major Lauren Stambaugh said she struggled to get into her major requirement classes.

"All the really good VM classes get snatched early on," the sophomore said.

Stambaugh said she also had trouble registering for a required literature class in the writing, literature and publishing department.

Literature classes are generally reserved for WLP majors, and only open to non-WLP majors after a certain date.

According to the Registrar, there is little to be done in the case of limited classes such as editing, which caps the number of students at 10, or photography, which, despite adding on a fifth section, still fills up before the majority of students have registered.

"Class size is determined by room size in some cases, but also, we want the student to get the best educational experience possible," said Registrar William DeWolf in an e-mail message.

He also explained that the amount of courses offered in each major is largely determined by the department's officials, not the Registrar or Academic Advising.

Writing, literature and publishing major Lilly Schneider said that her registration problems have been more personal than academic.

"I wanted no class on Fridays and all my classes past noon, so in that respect, I had issues registering," the freshman said, citing registration woes.

In terms of more serious student complaints, Selig said he feels only a small number of students in the department are having problems getting into their required classes.

He said those that do are usually dealing with scheduling conflicts.

"Students do ask to change sections," Selig said. "Students do ask for special consideration in waiving prerequisites or other requirements.

"These are not registration issues, but issues related to students wanting special treatment or having individual issues related to their schedules," he said.

Film major Pat Reynolds said he has not run into registration problems.

"I got into all my required classes," the freshman said. "The only class I couldn't get into was an interdisciplinary [that I wanted]."

Reynolds is also in the Honors program, which offers students priority registration.

DeWolf said the majority of registration issues could be assuaged by students planning out and continuously monitoring their degree requirements with the help of their adviser.

"Our office's mission is to provide quality service to all students, faculty and staff," DeWolf said. "The registrar has no control over most of these issues."