With the beginning of a new academic semester comes a standard two weeks, known commonly as the add-drop period. During this time, students can, as the name suggests, add or drop courses, obtaining slots that had previously been occupied.
Also, during this time, the university adjusts courses, sometimes cancelling courses due to low enrollment or changing professors at the last minute. Considering students often take required courses through their final semester at the University of Connecticut, administration must consider the impact of a cancelled course or alternate professor.
With professors retiring over the summer months or leaving the university, it is not uncommon for students to be greeted by an alternate professor during the first class session. While some students might not mind the change, many choose courses based upon the instructor. For courses relying heavily on participation and student interaction, the choice of professor can be vital.
Though this might not fit with the university’s mindset, in which all professors are equally capable of teaching all students, most understand the reality to not be so idyllic.
In regards to course cancellation, though the university assures students that fees will be refunded in full if a course is cancelled, this only makes up a portion of the inconvenience. Certain courses, especially in the science, technology, math and engineering majors are only taught during either the fall or spring semester. Thus, if a required course is cancelled for the fall semester, it can undermine a planned December graduation.
In previous semesters, students have entered courses only to find out that they were nearly cancelled due to low enrollment, never having been informed by the university. Though this may be an unlikely, or uncommon situation, the university should inform students of their plan for such an occurrence.
The add-drop period is inherently chaotic for students and faculty. Students entering classes should be informed of a change in instructor and, more importantly, if that course is in danger of being cancelled due to low enrollment. Cancelled discussion sections or entire courses can throw off a student’s entire semester.
While a change in instructor does not have the same dramatic impact, students may choose a certain class based upon an established relationship with an instructor. The university must prioritize transparency and proactive alerts in these situations, so as to make sure students have the most up-to-date information when finalizing schedules before and into the add-drop period.