Opinion: IWU course catalog should be corrected more frequently

By Farah Bassyouni Jan 27, 2023

At the beginning of my sophomore year, I decided to pursue a double major in biology and international & global studies. Knowing this path would be a challenge, I sat down and planned out my next three years. When I began to actually register for courses as the semesters went on, I was largely disillusioned by what was really being offered.

There are many reasons for these discrepancies, a big reason being the departure of professors from the university because of downsizing, retirement and a struggle to rehire. For more sporadically taught courses a professor going on a sabbatical may cause the course to be inaccessible during a student’s time at IWU. These inconsistencies can be a major hit to a student’s learning experience. 

Oftentimes, students have a particular interest in their major and are looking forward to a specific class that will allow them to engage further in that particular subject. All of a sudden, when that class is not an option when they go to register, it can be pretty upsetting and has the potential to lead to a loss of motivation or excitement. This case should be avoided, especially at a school that prides itself on academic excellence and exploration that goes along with liberal arts ideals. 

The desired solution that all classes would be taught when they are stated to be in the course catalog is very difficult and perhaps currently unrealistic. This is especially the case at a school as small as IWU, and I think it would be beneficial to have reliable department websites and an updated course catalog to give students a more realistic look at which classes they can actually take.

Another option would be to offer new classes that can take the place of these courses that don’t end up running. This school year, when there weren’t very many courses that filled the “organismal” requirement for the biology major track, the biology department took action. To make up for the lack of courses, a new systems physiology course, “How Animals Work”, was offered which ended up being one of my favorite classes I have taken during my time at IWU.

Although this issue is seen in many departments and may seem unsolvable to an extent, there are possible solutions to help remedy the issue, or at least create greater transparency to students about what they will be able to enroll in.

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