Funding gives students more class options next semester

Thousands of students will be closer to graduation after the spring semester with the addition of more than 300 sections of classes. With the increase of sections of classes, 1,000 more seats will be available for CSUN students to occupy and finish their college career sooner.
Dr. Cynthia Rawitch, associate vice president for Undergraduate Studies, said she is very excited about this new announcement of more classes, especially with the gloomy financial outlook for next year.
“(Sections are) being added by departments through the colleges,” Rawitch said. “So what the departments are is identifying high demand classes that have either been bottlenecks or that they know they can get students into and are opening more sections.”
Rawitch said these bottleneck classes include sections that students need to continue on the path to graduation.
She said it is mainly 300 level classes that students are not able to get into. So then the next semester, there is a problem since students are not able to move up to the next level of classes.
“They are like the key class,” Rawitch said. “So what we will do is authorize opening another section.”
She said departments could generally identify where the hold up is for students and if the demand is high enough and faculty is available to teach the course, the administration will be able to fund that class.
“We still have the 13 units the first time through and then on Dec. 9 we will open up the ability to register up to 19 units,” Rawitch said.
She said the increase of the unit limit of 17 to 19 without permission was to encourage students to take more classes thus allowing them to graduate sooner.
“Partly the reason we’re doing this is because it’s getting more and more expensive to stay at the university,” Rawitch said. “So when we have the classes available, by adding just one class every semester you’re basically cutting out at least one semester at the end.”
Rawitch said the addition of the classes is possible due to money being put back into the CSU after the 2010-2011 budget was finally decided last month.
“So far we know we can do this for spring semester,” Rawitch said. “We have plans for the fall and the following spring, but it all depends on the California economy, what the new governor of California does in terms the CSU and the UC and if the financial support continues. Every year is a new budget.”
Rawitch said two colleges currently have the new sections posted and more new sections will be added as the demand is raised.
Rawitch added CSUN is also working to reduce the size of classes that were forced to increase due to budget cuts in the recent years.
“We’re looking at juniors-seniors because those are where the bottle necks are,” she said. “And some of the upper division GE to handle the transfers that are coming in, and then when we see what the lower division GEs look like, that’s where (CSUN) has the extra money to try to add classes,” Rawitch said.
Senior Ivy Greene, 28, said she had problems when she went to register recently for a class during winter break, her final class before graduating.
“My counselor had to argue for me with the dean to allow for another class to be used for another section,” the liberal studies major said.
Greene said this was the last class she needed to graduate.
“That same class, I’ve been trying to get for two straight semesters,” Greene said. “My counselor has made it a point to say it is because of budget cut that (classes) have been cut.”
Greene said she has had many problems in the past enrolling in her general education classes she needed to graduate.
“In terms of this class, I need a general science,” Greene said. “And before, I’ve had a hard time getting general English classes.”
Junior Paola Tejeda, 20, said in Fall 2009 she had problems getting into one class she needed to retake for a better grade because there were at least 100 other students trying to add the class as well.
“It was important since it was for my GPA and I wanted to get my GPA higher and my advisor was insisting I retake the class,” the psychology major said.
Tejeda said she wishes there were more major-specific classes and she is fearful what classes will be left when she registers in early December.
“My registration date is so late and everybody else has already registered,” she added. “I don’t even want to look. I have my advisement appointment later so I guess that’s when I’m going to find out if there’s enough room.”