Imagine staring at the course registration book for hours, trying to plan out the perfect schedule with the classes you need, professors you like, and times that you want. After heading to your advisor to get them approved, you go to the registrar where you learn the fate of those precious classes you desire to take.

Closed.

For many students this scenario isn’t fictitious, it’s reality. Every semester, Fairfield students play “The Registration Game.” Fairfield’s undergraduate course catalog boasts hundreds of interesting classes; unfortunately the course registration book does not, leaving students scrambling to get into those classes that are offered.

In addition students face other obstacles along the way including closed courses, required courses that meet in the exact same time slot, and courses that fail to enroll the usual minimum of 10 students and get cancelled.

“I just think it’s so annoying, I search through the catalog and find all these classes that I want to take, but they are never offered,” said Kim Liaw, ’04. “Those that are offered never fit in my schedule.”

Robert Kovacs, ’04 agreed. “I find it extremely frustrating when courses are closed.”

The complaints don’t fall on deaf ears. Department chairs, individual professors and the registrar’s office all say it is a very complicated task to balance the needs of the students, both intro and upper level, with the availability of professors.

“This semester choosing what classes to offer was more difficult than usually,” at least in biology, said Raymond Poincelot, chair of the biology department. Faculty on sabbatical, others using a research grant, the death of another, and the difficulty associated with finding adjuncts because of specialized classes and current wage offered are all factors in the biology department’s decision about classes to offer.

“We probably didn’t do quite as well as normal, but we based it on the available people,” Poincelot said. “We try to run something in every area to balance things, but it doesn’t always work. We do the best we can.”

Dr. Johanna Garvey, chair of the English Department, did not have as difficult of a time because no members of the English Department are on leave next semester. However, she did have additional factors to consider.

“It’s complicated in the English department because we have three large sets of courses that we have to balance, EN11 and EN12, writing, and literature classes on the 200 and 300 level,” said Garvey. “Additionally time codes were a problem because a certain portion that are preferred get over-requested and we have to shift classes around.”

As classes fill up students hold on to the hope of getting signed in to their desired course, but they may not be that lucky.

“A few of the classes that I really want to take are already closed or have only a few slots available,” said Andrew Hosproski, ’05. “I hope I can get written in.”

Even though the number of courses available may not meet students’ desires, Fairfield does appear to be improving on the registration process as a whole.

“I think registration itself was better this year than before,” said Marisa Muzic, ’03. “When I went to sign up for my courses there was no one there, I was in and out in two minutes.”

Departments are planning to improve their course offerings individually too.

“Beginning next semester our department is going to meet way ahead of time and examine things,” said Poincelot.

This year, for the first time, Fairfield offered the Sophomore Symposium and Peer Advising session, aimed at helping underclass decide what courses to take.

Gabrielle Roazzi, ’04, FUSA Senator, said, “FUSA Senate received extremely positive feedback from all associated with the peer advising program, both students and administrators, and are developing it even further to reach all students next semester.”

Fairfield has also added a link on Campus Pipeline that allows you to evaluate the courses you have taken, and find out what you still need to take. And on-line registration – after a rocky shakedown period – has made it easier for many students to register for some of their courses.

“I really like how we can find out what classes we still need to take through Pipeline,” said Jennifer Barrett, ’04. “It makes it a lot easier and more accurate than figuring it yourself.”

But students still aren’t completely satisfied.”The administration has attempted to improve the registration process, although it has improved slightly, I would like to see a lot more change take place,” said Malu Gonzalez, ’04.

“Each department should realize how many majors they have and offer at least enough slots for each to have one course,” said Elena Spon, ’04.

Muzic added, “The offerings for next semester were not what I had hoped for. As a senior biology major I was hoping for more seminar courses to be offered, and the time codes of the ones they do offer interfere with each other, making it difficult to get a good schedule.”

It is important to be realistic, said Robert Russo, university registrar.

“Watch channel 101 to find out what classes are closed and have other choices ready,” he said. “You can’t always have your first choice, especially if you’re a freshman or a sophomore.”

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