The typical program evaluation for a student at SNHU is quite robust and makes the college experience worthwhile. However, given the complexity of each individual program, students need to take certain classes to fulfill their course requirements to ensure they graduate on time.
When navigating the course catalog, students will find all of the classes required, but some are only offered in certain semesters, and in some cases, certain years. This makes registration very competitive and many people, underclassmen specifically, are forced to restructure their desired course schedule.
An example of this is Advanced Creative Writing (ENG-431), which caps at fifteen available slots. This is a required class for all students majoring in Creative Writing and English. While most students are only required to take the course once, students with a concentration in fiction, for example, must take the course twice.
Because of the course’s high demand, the university needed to open a second block. Without opening this second block, many students would have been denied a requirement needed to graduate.
Students who need general education courses but are unable to take a campus class have the option of Sophia Learning. Running at a lower cost, students can take Sophia courses to earn credits toward their degree. However, it does not provide students with valuable learning experiences that can only occur in a classroom setting.
For freshmen, it may seem like not getting into a specific class is no big deal because they still have three years left; however, it starts a ripple effect. The longer they have to wait to get into a class, the less likely they are to fulfill that requirement and graduate on time.
Students within an accelerated program are especially vulnerable to the impact of being unable to get into a course they need, which can push off their intended date of graduation.
Many classes have prerequisites that make course sequencing very important. Students are required to take these classes before meeting other course requirements. Students face the risk of not getting into a specific class if it is only offered at a certain time and they haven’t taken the prerequisite.
An option available for those unable to complete requirements is the Petition to Amend Degree Requirements. This option can be used for students that want to do an independent study or need to fill a class.
For students who can’t take classes for reasons out of their control, the university will grant completion for that requirement through another course or an independent study with a mentor. While this can be helpful, it leads to students not getting an engaging or desired education in their program.
The lack of course offerings may be a small piece of a bigger problem: the university may not be hiring enough professors. There isn’t a problem with students signing up for the classes, so what if there is a lack of faculty that SNHU is not informing the community about?
It may be because there are few applicants, or the university may be lacking in its ability to promote certain positions. Adjunct professors are a great option for universities given their experience; they can give students first-hand knowledge of a field they are currently working in.
Regardless, the issue with course offerings needs to be fixed to ensure the progress of the student body within their respective programs.