Preregistration can be a very stressful process. Filtering through scores of classes to find those with the highest-rated professors and the most interesting topics, all while fulfilling demanding requirements within a reasonable weekly schedule, poses quite the challenge. Above all, however, is the ever-important question: Will I actually get into these classes?
A new policy implemented by the Office of the College Dean will make the answer to this question more likely to be no. Per the new policy, department heads are instructed to delete classes with fewer than eight students enrolled at the end of preregistration — with exceptions made only for general education requirements, major requirements and upper-level language classes.
The change will likely have the effect of reducing the number of small classes, closing many of them out before they even meet for the first time.
Larger classes will be clearly favored, causing big lecture classes and departments that primarily offer bigger classes to be favored as well. This would be detrimental to students, as many would not be able to enjoy the opportunity to enroll in smaller classes, enjoy certain coveted professors or find desired classes in smaller departments. The automatic elimination of classes with fewer than eight enrolled students during preregistration will also limit student options during the add-drop period, on which many undergraduates depend to make adjustments to their schedules. By cutting classes before add-drop, the College Dean’s office will only narrow student options, lengthen waitlists and crowd lecture halls this spring.
In an interview with The Hoya, College Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Strategic Planning Jeff Connor-Linton speculated that the change is intended to help Georgetown manage its resources and that the change will not result in a noticeable impact for students during add-drop. But unless there is evidence that the change will save significant resources without closing out small classes, the policy is simply unjustified.
The Office of the College Dean should reconsider this policy. Georgetown’s small classes are one of its strengths, and unless the need to conserve academic resources is direr than we know, this policy will only hurt our departments and students.