Class size concerns marketing students

by Beacon Staff • September 22, 2011

, Beacon Staff/strong

When junior Ethan Young declared a marketing minor last spring, he said he hardly expected the required classes to be full, locking him out of the department.

Young, a writing for film and television major, was told that getting into a marketing communication class this semester, required for a minor, would not be possible, leaving him little time to fulfill the program before he graduates.

“At first I thought they were just letting too many people in, but then I noticed across the board the school should be offering more sections of these classes,” he said.

Young is not the only student facing these problems. Donald Hurwitz, interim chair for the marketing communication department, said the department has grown significantly within the last year, and that more students on campus have switched into the major than out of it. He said there has also been an increasing number of transfer students and freshman admissions into the program.

“It’s very difficult to get an exact number of students in the department because it changes week by week,” said Hurwitz. “But overall, I know the number of the incoming freshman class are over magnitude from what is typically in the range of 120 to about 150.”

Requests have been submitted by students trying to switch their field of study from all different majors, Hurwitz said. Journalism students tell him they want to write both journalistic and commercial stories, and visual and media arts students say they want to make commercials rather than feature films.

Hurwitz said he believes the marketing department is growing for several reasons, such as faculty popularizing their classes, as well as the pressure students are feeling to find a job in an unstable economy.

“I think as the pressures in the economy increase, there’s an increasing concern with the students and their families about how to get a meaningful education, and how to get a meaningful education that they can put to use properly upon graduating,” Hurwitz said.

As more freshmen and new transfer students are allowed into the program, marketing majors like sophomore Kanika Misra said they are worried the school won’t have enough seats and sections available to accommodate everyone.

“The original marketing students deserve preference and to be given the seats which they are paying 50 grand for,” said Misra. “Upperclassman are having to switch around their schedules regarding classes necessary to graduate, and that just isn’t fair.”

Cody Harvill, a transfer sophomore marketing major, said she is taking two marketing courses this semester where the majority of her peers are freshmen, something that makes her uneasy about registration next semester.

“I am worried about my classes for next semester just because there are so many more freshmen admitted,” said Harvil. “I think the process of obtaining classes for your major will be much more competitive.”

Hurwitz said Emerson is in the process of opening more marketing classes. With the new curriculum enacted this year, new courses have already been introduced and will grow in numbers over the next two to three years.

“Emerson recognizes these courses are in high demand,” said Hurwitz. “The department is trying hard to be open to everyone interested, and in most cases, has been able to accommodate them.”

However, Hurwitz said it is more challenging to accommodate those who are trying to minor in the field, such as Young, because the demand is harder to gauge.

Assistant marketing professor Paul Mihailidis said his understanding consumers class of only sophomores is over-enrolled. He said he has been approached by several students from the waiting list who are trying to get into the class, and has tried to take as many as he could.

“I am a good example of the growth in the department,” said Mihailidis. “When I came to Emerson for my interview, my colleagues talked about the growth of the department and the exciting time it was for the field of marketing communications.”

Hurwitz agrees.

“There’s so much going on in the field now,” he said. “So much of it is going on in Boston, that it’s a nice coming together of what Emerson is all about and where we’re located. We’re at the right place at the right time.”

emRodriguez can be reached at jeannie_rodriguez@emerson.edu. Follow her on Twitter @idream0fjeannie.Prisco-Buxbaum can be reached at k_priscobuxbaum@emerson.edu. Follow her on Twitter @katiepb/em