Looming budget restraints may force certain UCSB departments to offer fewer courses during the 2009-10 academic school year.
Along with an increase in student fees, statewide budget cuts have pressured the university to bump up class sizes. With more students per classroom, some departments will offer a narrower selection of courses throughout the year. Mary Nisbet, acting Dean of Undergraduate Studies, said it is difficult to assess the number of classes to be cut from the fall quarter schedule at this time, as some may be discontinued during the second pass time.
“At this point it’s just impossible to know, and that’s because many departments have been in flux,” Nisbet said. “But I know departments have been working really hard to put the maximum amount of students in each their classes.”
Randi Browning, lecturer in the writing program, said in an email that class options within the writing department have suffered from the budget cuts and may completely remove some classes from the roster.
“Next year we’ll only be able to offer courses that satisfy Area A (Writing 1, 2, 50 and 109AA-ZZ), as well as courses required for the writing minor,” Browning said.
According to Nisbet, a new 19-unit cap has been placed on the second registration pass time to allow more students the opportunity to enroll in their desired classes. This measure, she said, may slash the number of students who do not manage to sign up for enough classes.
“I sent out a message to the student body that everyone can enroll in 19 units [during pass two],” Nisbet said. “The purpose of this is because a lot of people enroll in classes they never intend to take. People will be able to get four classes and can then add another in pass three if they still want to.”
The combination of ever-rising budget deficits and an anticipated large influx of new students is a great concern, Nisbet said, and could strain the university’s ability to provide for its students.
“We’re really concerned about the large amount of incoming freshmen,” Nisbet said. “[The 19 unit cap] will potentially help the large amount of students get the classes they want. We want everyone to have the chance to get the classes they want.”
Although the exact number of incoming freshmen will not be determined until as late as this summer, Director of Admissions Christine Van Gieson said campus directors are taking precautions.
“The fact is although we have the students’ statements of intent to register, we don’t yet know how many will actually come in the fall,” Van Gieson said. “So I think the college is trying to be conservative in the case that a large number of students actually decide to attend.”
Van Gieson said that although she anticipates a high enrollment number, the economic climate may limit attendees.
“It really depends on what our enrollment will be,” Van Gieson said. “We’re thinking it’s on the high side, but because of the economy, there might be less students. We’re trying to prepare for more over less.”