Class Canceled

Photo Illustration by Tim Brown.
Photo Illustration by Tim Brown.

You planned ahead, registered early, and have the perfect schedule for the next semester. You get  through finals, relax during the break and have less than a week before the new semester begins. Then  it comes without warning, that email that every student dreads: class canceled.

Most teachers with classes that are failing minimum enrollment send emails out to their currently enrolled students, urging them to persuade fellow students to join in or risk cancellation. But this generally comes during finals week or shortly after classes end, when students are relaxing and not wanting to check their student emails, so they do not find out until it is too late. And thus we come full circle to that dooming email.

Flabbergasted students rush to UAOnline to see how bad the damage is. For some it isn’t too bad; a simple elective that just needs a quick replacing. For others, it is a moment of pure turmoil as they realize that there just isn’t any way they can graduate without that class.

Either way, the chances of filling that spot with a required class is slim because at a week before school starts, nearly all of the classes are full to the brim.

According to the catalog “UAA reserves the right to cancel or combine classes; to change the time, dates or place of meeting; or  to make other necessary revisions in class offerings. The university may discontinue a class at any time if enrollment falls below expected levels. Students will receive notification of cancellation via UAA email.”

There is no indication of how far in advance they are required to notify you, nor what exactly the minimum enrollment requirements are. These both seem like important things that students should know.

Seven students seems like ample to continue a class. Apparently UAA does not feel this is so and have cancelled it for those seven paying individuals. That is $4,284 for all resident students and $13,356 for all non-resident students. With a mix of the two, it seems like it should be a large enough investment to warrant a class to continue.

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But beyond enrollment numbers, a class should not be canceled if it will hinder any student from graduating on time. This goes especially for those classes only offered once a year. Some majors have small enrollment and not likely to be all that robust in juniors and seniors. So those upper level courses that they are required to complete will undoubtedly have low enrollment for some majors. How is it fair to cancel a class and deprive those students of what they want to learn or what they need to learn in order to finally graduate?
There has been a lot of talk about UAA prioritizing lately; well maybe they need to prioritize the needs of the students, especially in cases like this.