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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Class cancellations policy changes recommended

Unfamiliar technology may have hindered courses from meeting the required number of 15 enrolled students, resulting in closed class sections, school administrators said.

However, leaders in the Academic Senate are revisiting a recommendation by the Academic Policy Community (APC) that will decide whether their concerns about the current policy will go to administration for consideration.

Vice President of the APC Adrian Youhanna explained the process for the initial discussion regarding the Notion Proposal document on class cancellation that was put forth by the senate members.

“The APC voted unanimously in favor of the Notion Proposal, which states that our recommendation is that classes with 10 or more students enrolled remain open until the end of the first week of the semester,” Youhanna said.  “The culture needs to change. Students have to add classes.”

Vice President of Academic Affairs Sheri Berger said administration seeks to optimize resources for student needs and success. However, low enrollment indicates that specific courses that don’t fulfill the requirement are not needed.

“To change the policy, students would need to sign up early for their classes,” Berger said. “It will show us that there is a high demand for the class, and we will keep it open.”

Berger said that if the class has very few students, the class would be canceled but new classes would be opened to meet student demand.

“Sometimes, we don’t cancel classes because it is required for students to meet their goals,” Berger said. “We have a limited amount of resources, and we seek to make the most of it for the students.”

Yohanna said that the current policy and problems with the student information system caused faculty members to cancel classes that were under the 15 student mark. The impact trickled down into other sections that were already full.

“I had students knocking on doors, wanting to add those classes already in high capacity,” Youhanna said. “I had a class that had 14 students, I had to cancel, but it could have easily been filled.”

Communications studies instructor Barbara Anderson said the APC decided to handle the situation and  make a change.  

Anderson said that before school began, there were concerns that some classes did not have the same enrollment numbers that they would typically have at that point during the summer.

“It is never ideal to cancel a class, because ideally, all the classes fill, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. There was a concern that was discussed at the senate for a resolution,” Anderson said. “What they were suggesting is that if we could wait until after the semester starts then students have time to add classes.”  

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