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Course registrationcramp irks students

Dec. 1, 2000



During spring registration, many students may be experiencing a little difficulty, especially when trying to get into a required course.

Sarah Clay, an Ardmore, Okla., junior, said that registering for fall or spring semester classes 'has never been an easy thing.'

'I have experienced trouble each year I have tried to register,' Clay said. 'It has always been frustrating.'

One department that has seen a considerable increase in enrollment is the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Chairman and Dean Dr. Ben Kelley said that just over the past two years he has seen a rapid increase in demand for the department's courses.

'We are running out of faculty and space to accommodate this demand,' he said.

Kelley said he has had to expand some of the classes to between 30 or 50 students per class.

'We never want to go above 50 [students per class] because we feel that the class will then lose that 'Baylor-like' essence which involves an intimate setting for the professor and the student.'

Another element that has added to the department's dilemma is the process of hiring new faculty.

Kelley said that out of the numerous resumes he received early last year, only two applicants were hired.

'The process [of hiring new faculty] often takes a little over a year,' Kelley said. 'Potential faculty members that fit the 'Baylor mold' are hard to find; not to mention, we are very picky.'

With the increase in class size and shortage of faculty, Kelley said he is open to the possibility of pushing some of the scheduled courses back into the afternoon, making more sections available to students.

'Evening classes are definitely a possibility for the future but, as of right now, we are trying to accommodate all requests for this next semester,' he said.

Dr. Manuel Ortuno, chairman of the modern foreign languages department, said his department is already implementing evening classes in order to accommodate the demand.


He said that since his department, which teaches a required course for undergraduates, began offering evening classes in the late afternoons, he has seen a noticeable difference.

'When you make eight-hour days into 16-hour days, obviously some tension is going to be relieved, and you will have more opportunities to accommodate all requests for specific courses,' he said.

Ortuno said another potential answer to this problem might lie within the Morrison Constitution Hall, Baylor's law school building, which will be replaced by the facility being constructed on the banks of the Brazos River.

'That is a very prized piece of property,' he said. 'And with the space it will free up, will help this situation.'

Ken Simons, assistant vice president and business manager, agrees that the space in Morrison Constitution Hall will certainly relieve the overcrowding in classes.

In an e-mail to The Lariat, Simons said that the '[Baylor] administration is currently studying the academic needs and who might move into the facility.'

A spokesperson for Dr. Wallace Daniel, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that though no decision has been made yet, plans for creating a strong academic center, which will include the Honors Program and University Scholars Program, on campus is in the works.