The university registrar removed almost 20 courses that failed to meet an eight-student enrollment minimum prior to the add-drop period, in accordance with recent policy from the Office of the College Dean.

According to University Registrar John Q. Pierce, the courses were cut because of low enrollment.
Jeff Connor-Linton, the associate dean of faculty and strategic planning, said that the cancellation process had minimal impact on students, because it occurred before the beginning of the add-drop period.

“Spring 2015 course enrollments were evaluated in November, after preregistration closed for students but before students were finally placed in courses,” Connor-Linton said. “Based on review of the preliminary assignment of students to courses and previous enrollment patterns, department chairs determined which low-enrolled courses needed to be canceled.”

Students who registered for under-enrolled courses were notified of schedule changes prior to the beginning of the semester, Connor-Linton said.

“Students who had registered for a canceled course were enrolled in another section of that course or in one of their alternate courses,” Connor-Linton said. “Since students received their spring 2015 schedules in December, no courses have been cancelled due to low enrollment.”

Connor-Linton said that the cancellations were to ensure the quality of courses offered by the College.

“The College and the registrar have a careful process to ensure the reliability of course offerings and maximize the breadth and depth of the curriculum while maintaining necessary minimum levels of enrollment,” Connor-Linton said.

Pierce agreed that the cancellation policy was necessary to ensure a sensible allocation of faculty and resources.

“If there’s a reason to have it then that’s fine, sometimes when you reflect on it there really isn’t a reason to have such a course,” Pierce said. “The faculty member who’s teaching it could be made more available in a different setting.”

According to Pierce, classes were also cut to ensure that the university is spending money effectively on courses.

“The pressure to invest money into all sorts of things grows constantly and so one of the ways to address that is to be as prudent as possible in the use of the resources that we have. That doesn’t mean that you start cutting things recklessly,” Pierce said.

Additionally, around half of courses in the College are exempt from the low enrollment minimum.

“Many courses are exempted from enrollment minimums — for example, courses required for a major and beginning and intermediate language courses,” Connor-Linton said.

Pierce said that the registrar also ensured that core curriculum classes were not cancelled.

“[The] list was overviewed by the deans and the registrar and any course that we felt were part of the undergraduate core,” Pierce said. “Then what remained was sent to departments for them to review and if they felt the course was needed by a major and only after all of that did they come up with the course that were cancelled.”

Although the eight-student minimum was only instated this year, the registrar has cancelled under-enrolled courses in the past.

“We always have some cancellations and additions and changes at various stages in the process,” Pierce said. “What’s different is the College deans requested that departments in the College pay closer attention than they have in the past to courses that are under -enrolled, that is under eight [students], and justify to the deans the values of such a course.”

Some students were bothered by the decision to cut courses. Laura Greuring (SFS ’18) said that one of her own courses, North African Literature, narrowly avoided being cut.

“A class that I was in only got two people in it, but they offered to turn it into an individual tutorial so it actually had the opposite effect, but if they would have cut it I would have had a feeling that that was unfair,” Greurig said. “The registrar offered to cut it but the department decided to maintain. So I guess we were lucky.”

Greurig said that cutting courses due to low enrollment was a poor decision.

“I think that for the students that are really passionate about those classes it’s kind of unfair that just because some students don’t take the same interests as they do, they’re cut,” Greurig said. “Especially at a big university like Georgetown, you’d think Georgetown has the possibility to move some funds around to be able to support the class.”

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2 Comments

  1. what classes were cut–it would be interesting to see if there is any pattern re the areas drawing low enrollment

  2. How come this article didn’t publish which classes were cut? That seems like a basic detail worth knowing. Did the author get lazy and not bother finding out, or are the courses not being reported because, as johnk says, there is a “pattern” here.

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