It’s Getting Hot in Here: Overcrowding on Campus Causes Discomfort

By Josh Shuford
jshuford@unca.edu

August 26, 2015

A new semester is beginning for UNC Asheville students and not everyone will be taking the classes they intended. With 1,100 new incoming students, availability for classes is quickly drying up, and some students say they have to rethink their schedules.
According to the UNCA website, the waitlist is an option to assist students when classes have reached the enrollment limit. Students join the waitlist and are notified should a spot in the class become available. After that, it is the student’s responsibility to answer the notification within 24 hours. For some students, the waitlist was more a necessity for returning in the fall than an option for classes.
Business management sophomore Dean Arbuckle heard he would be placed on a waitlist at the end of the Spring 2015 semester before he was allowed to register.
“I had to wait until the last week in July before I heard if I got into any of my classes or not,” Arbuckle said. “I wasn’t able to register for my last class until the week before the semester started and was considering not returning if I couldn’t get in.”
UNCA’s large incoming class and the number of students returning for the semester quickly filled up classes by mid-summer, leaving some students uncertain on what their schedules would be.
The large number of students expecting to attend UNCA this semester has called for changes to classes. Pat McClellan, assistant provost of academic administration, said the waitlist is a tool to both gauge and attempt to meet the demand of students to take part in certain classes.
“I really don’t like the luck factor of trying to get into classes, where one student would make it because they had been refreshing their computer,” McClellan said. “To try and meet the demand, we increased class sizes and opened new sections of classes by hiring part time faculty.”
New sections of classes in the language and humanities departments opened over the summer. McClellan said the administration sent 3,000 emails informing students of these vital classes.
“We really tried hard when we opened a new section to notify the students,” McClellan said. “The large incoming class size combined with the returning students left administrators unable to handle the demand put on classes.”
According to McClellan, the waitlist purge the morning Aug. 18 happened only with students who were late to register or other special cases allowing professors to manually add students to their classes.
“We wanted to be as equitable as possible for students who hadn’t been allowed into classes,” McClellan said. “We wanted faculty to be given the ability to give open seats to the students who show up on the first day of classes over those who either don’t show up or drop early,”
While the waitlist process is new to both faculty and students, McClellan said it is something the university will continue to explore.
“In the future we want to keep registration open during the summer to allow students to add and drop classes that best fit their schedules while only closing it in the winter the week grades are due for the fall semester,” the assistant provost said.
McClellan said she wants to close the waitlist at 8 a.m. Sunday before classes begin to allow faculty the ability to do closed overrides for students attempting to get into classes at 8 a.m. the next day.
Although not a part of the waitlist for this semester, UNCA new media student Andrew Que said he feels it comes with both positives and negatives.
“Students might become more cautious when signing up for classes. There will definitely be more competition during registration, just to avoid being put on the waitlist,” Que said. “Because everyone here is choosing their classes because they need them for requirements and if you have students worrying about that, they may not want to attend.”
The idea of an always-open form of registration is something that Que said he thinks will give students more freedom when choosing classes.
“We’re really learning as we go along, open registration is the universal way schools operate,” McClellan said.

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