With October just around the corner and class registration not far after it, many junior and senior undergraduates are expressing their anxiety over the core classes for their majors not being available each semester.
Of the 110 majors and minors that Troy University’s campus offers, hardly any of the departments offer their required core classes every semester.
While this is not completely surprising, when students are unaware of when these required classes are offered, it makes it harder for them to plan classes. Even worse, if the class is a prerequisite, students could end up putting off an entire year of major-related work if they failed to get into the class.
Not all students have the resources to make up a course online, meaning that the student may have to stay an additional semester to make up for delayed classes.
“I’m not allowed to take any computer science courses until I take this (prerequisite course),” said Russell Brown, a junior computer science major from Springville. “I have the Chancellor’s scholarship, and … online courses are not covered by the Chancellor’s.
“I really just didn’t have the money at the time, or else I would have (taken the prerequisite class).”
Brown said to make up for not getting into the class, he’s having to take all of his buffer courses this semester, and once he’s taken the class, he’ll have to stack five computer science classes every semester in order to get a chance at graduating on time.
While Brown’s predicament is concerning, Troy does have a reason for limiting how often required courses are offered.
“We only have so many faculty,” said Julie Barbaree, a secretary of the biology department.
Barbaree also said that the department doesn’t usually have a lot of students needing to take the required courses every semester, and if there’s an increase in students who do need it, the department increases the offering.
Amanda Jordan, a secretary of the political science department, said that the professors may also be teaching many of the other elective courses that are needed to fill the section requirements for each major. On top of that, they may be teaching graduate-level courses. In order to avoid overloading the professors, the departments have the core courses offered yearly.
Obviously, the university can’t just get more teachers to help solve this problem. When asked what students should do to make up for the classes not being offered more often, Barbaree has a suggestion.
“Meet with your adviser often; heed your adviser’s advice,” Barbaree said. “If you have concerns about what your adviser is telling you, meet with a second adviser; get a second opinion.
“Do well with your coursework from the beginning, and most of all, follow your adviser’s advice because they’ve done this enough that they usually know how long it’s going to take you.”
However, some students still have their doubts. Mindy Jones, a senior computer science major from Sylacauga, said advisers can be too lenient sometimes.
“You show them a bunch of classes, and they say, ‘Yeah, that looks fine,’ ” Jones said. “I don’t think they take into account what you need to take in the next two years to get out.
“There’s no long-term guidance.”
She expressed this frustration after having found out that she had two required classes she would need to take, but they were offered at the same time in the same semester, and those classes are offered only once a year.
“Because of a lack of teachers, a bunch of our classes are scheduled this way, and you know, senior year, it’s too late,” Jones said. “The computer science department chair has told us to take a different 300- or 400-level class to substitute, and I, as a student, want to take what I need to graduate.”
Some may argue that the students should be more diligent in adviser meetings, and others may argue that advisers need to be trained better to guide the students they’re responsible for. In this case, both sides are right.
No matter how big Troy gets, course scheduling will most likely always be an issue. Students and advisers alike need to understand what questions to ask in order to ensure students are taking the right classes at the right time.
Troy can’t handle everything by itself, but neither can the students. As cliché as it sounds, we need to work together with our advisers to make sure we graduate on time; we shouldn’t depend on them to do it for us, just like they shouldn’t depend on us to be able to do it on our own.