Spring 2018 Frustration. What’s Happening?

Mariah Partin, Staff Writer


As most of us know by now, registration for spring semester 2018 has started. Registration opened on Nov. 20 starting with seniors, graduate program students, veterans and junior athletes. Given our size, Saint Martin’s offers a surprisingly wide array of classes and programs. Still, many students are finding scheduling conflicts within their majors. Daniel Heetderks, a math major and secondary education minor, finds it difficult to take classes for both degree requirements given conflicting class times. He said, “Coming into the education program, you start at a certain point, but if the classes don’t align with your major, then you may be here for an additional few semesters because your classes are offered every so often.” The same goes for many students who are balancing multiple fields of study.

With students studying secondary education, one of the issues is that many core classes for their major are offered once a year, or every other year. Taylor Boster, a history major and secondary education minor, added that the College of Arts and Sciences may be under more pressure due to a lack of professors. He also hopes for more cohesiveness between departments to aid student stress when it comes to registration and school appeal.

Thankfully, SMU professors are aware of this issue and are willing to help students out when in tough situations. Jamie Olson, Ph.D, Professor of English and department chair mentioned that it is difficult given that Saint Martin’s offers so many types of classes and programs and there are only around eleven time slots per semester. Along with that, Olson mentioned how the departments think about the audience of students they cater to, they try not to schedule two classes at the same time, if they’re both classes that students of that major need.

One way students choose to take advantage of the variety of classes is by majoring in interdisciplinary studies, where students can pick two fields of interest to combine into one major. This is helpful for those that are interested in multiple fields of study and want to later find a career  that involves more than one area of interest. Examples of an Interdisciplinary major could be combining English with business. The College of Arts and Sciences is offering a few intriguing classes next semester that combine different areas of interest for both students and professors. Jeff Birkenstein, Ph.D, and Irina Gendelman, Ph.D, are teaching The Language and Culture of Place and Travel, which fulfills upper division elective requirements for English, communications and interdisciplinary studies. The co-taught class will focus on connections between the local community, and global, in regards to food and travel. Olson and Br. Luke Devine will be teaching “Dostoevsky and Religion”, the class fulfills English, religious studies and interdisciplinary studies electives as well. This class is a study of religion, exploring philosophy and existentialism, with Dostoevsky’s famous novel, “The Brothers Karamazov” being the central text. The College of Arts and Sciences hopes to bring more awareness of interdisciplinary studies, and as Birkenstein says “As it turns out, life is interdisciplinary.”

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