Campus / News / May 27, 2010

The closeout curse

Most people at Knox have had problems one term or another getting into classes they want to take or need to take to graduate. The issue has been growing more and more prominent as the size of each freshman class grows larger each year and the number of classes offered stay the same.

When asked what types of classes he was closed out of, junior Edel Vaca said he had been closed out of young adult literature and the single-author course on Ernest Hemingway for next fall term. He said he needed these classes to fulfill requirements within his creative writing major. He speculated that he got closed out of the Hemingway course because he did not want to go on the class trip to Cuba.

“It was very upsetting,” Vaca said about being closed out.

In regards to his young adult literature class, he said he didn’t understand how some people who were not majoring in creative writing were given preference into the class over people who were not.

Other students, such as junior Aaron Palmer and senior Andrea Johnston, also voiced their concerns, saying that most of the people who were let into that class this year were the people who were closed out last year.

In Palmer’s opinion, the increasing number of students Knox is admitting caused the problem with closeouts. He said that Knox has been “letting in far too many people and clogging up classes.” When asked how the quality of the class was, he said that it didn’t affect learning much.

“Once you’re in the class, it’s fine,” he said.

Johnston complained that there were too many people in the higher-level classes, such as 300-level workshops, where students expect to get more attention.

“These classes shouldn’t be as crowded as they are,” she said. She also called to mind the Shakespeare classes, which have a large interest from students because it is a requirement for theater majors and can count towards an English literature major as well.

Visiting professor of English Sean Mills had to close out 12 to 14 students from his new class, The Careful Writer, which was fairly popular during pre-enrollment. He said this was because of limits of classroom size and the fact that the course was new. He said he gave preference to mostly seniors and juniors.

“I hate turning people away,” he said, but admitted that he prefers the smaller class size because it is more “intimate and manageable.”

Mills expressed that he would like to have the class more than once a year to increase availability to students, but so far this option hasn’t happened.

Students and professors alike are dealing with this issue of being turned away to other classes.

Carolyn Hanig

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