Summer arts courses lacking

Undergraduate course registration for the spring and summer terms opened Feb. 1 and the choices avail able to students are, for the time being, meagre.

Currently the only courses offered in a classroom environment – as opposed to online – are in the faculty of business and economics, with only two courses in communications studies representing the faculty of arts. Even in online courses, the faculty of arts has few offerings
available on the Laurier Online Registration and Information System (LORIS) for students.

“The classroom courses in arts will be added,” said assistant vice-president of academic services Tom Buckley. “There’s been no moratorium or decision not to offer courses.

“We had 44 non-business courses offered last spring,” he continued.

“The number offered will be similar and in some subject areas you will see an increase.”

Vice-president of academics Deb MacLatchy echoed Buckley’s sentiment, stating that summer courses were not being cut. “I think at the end of the day it’ll actually go in the opposite direction. The dean of arts and the dean of science are actually looking at increasing the number of courses offered on campus.”

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) runs on a trimester system to accommodate co-op students and thus offers many classroom and online courses between the winter and fall semesters. However, this is different for courses offered in the faculty of arts and else-
where, which are intended to help students catch up or get ahead.

“We’re taking a look at what courses make sense for students to take,” Buckley said. “Students may want to accelerate degree completion or maybe a first-year was unsuccessful in a course they need for progression.”

Over 11,500 students registered for summer courses in 2009 with an almost even split between those taking courses online and on campus. Of the physical classes offered, the average enrolment was 41 students.

Other universities in Canada have used summer course offerings to supplement their revenue stream.

As Laurier faces a difficult financial situation, offering more classes for students outside of the regular academic year could prove beneficial to both the school and students.

“We have to pay for the buildings all year long and some would argue that they are under utilized in the summer,” Buckley noted. “More courses mean better utilising that physical infrastructure we have and with more students in classes and paying fees there’s more revenue

Buckley explained that he doesn’t think the current financial situation is an inhibitor to course offerings, but instead raises questions about if the institution should focus more on courses in the summer.

“We do get government funding for those students in spring-summer, so I think we’re asking
the same questions as a lot of other institutions.”

For the time being, students will have to delay planning for the summer term as the school intermittently adds to its offerings. As students begin to think about the upcoming months, including job prospects and whether or not to remain living in Waterloo after the current semes-
ter, delays will come from not having access to all the information on what classes are available.

“People want to try and get it posted but it’s kind of a working document,” said MacLatchy of the
course calendar. “A lot of this is determined by the departments and them finding instructors for courses with enough student need and interest.

“The spring-summer calendar will keep adding courses until it’s too late to keep adding them.”