Miscommunication leaves students without needed classes

With all the seats full in Mark Bergstrom’s quantitative communication research class, students take to the stairs for comfort.

After Bergstrom asks who needs an add code, more than 30 people raise their hands. There are only two spots left, unless currently enrolled students pull a no-show.

Among the crowd is Adam Carroll, a senior communication major. Hoping to graduate in the spring, he needs the class to fulfill his last quantitative intensive requirement. But more importantly, Carroll said, “I need the class to qualify for financial aid.”

Carroll is not alone; he is among hundreds of students attempting to get access codes into overcrowded classes, a process that is causing many people to complain.

But Louise Degn, undergraduate director in the communication department, said that for students, “perception is reality.”

“When students go to register in July, they freak out because all the classes are full,” she said. “But we run 90 percent of our classes with empty seats.”

During Spring Semester of 2006, 131 of 145 classes had empty seats. Only five classes offered no alternative section.

When students tried to register in July, they found that 68 percent of communication classes were full. But on the first day of school, that number was down to 11 percent.

Degn attributes the drop in numbers to students who registered for more classes than they intended on taking and people who decided to work rather than enroll in school.

“The reality is, if students follow the procedure, they will get in almost every class they need to,” Degn said.

Students need to attend class and put their name on the wait list, she said. The department prioritizes the names according to major status, year in school and GPA. People then need to return to the following class.

“We try to accommodate everyone and believe this way is the fairest,” Degn said.

David Vergobbi, professor of Mass Communication Law-one of the four required departmental classes-said he works to accommodate seniors by holding 10 of the 50 slots specifically for those looking to add the class on the first day.

“I’m usually always able to add all the seniors and a few juniors,” Vergobbi said.

Smaller classes, such as Introduction to News Writing and Television Journalism, limit the size of the class for accreditation.