Students concerned with registration issues

Maureen O'Leary

Earlier this month, an email was sent to junior and senior public relations students at Georgia Southern University sparking concern about the certainty of their schedules.

Pamela Bourland-Davis, Ph.D., head of the communication arts department, sent an email to PR majors and minors explaining that lack of seats in certain classes may cause students to be dropped from classes.

Bourland-Davis said that the communication arts department met earlier this year to discuss the planning of classes, but that they did not account for the influx of minors, students who are retaking previously dropped or failed classes or those who registered for classes ahead of their projected schedule.

“Some students get to register early or there’s a blip in the system and somehow they get in to a class that they don’t need until next year,” Bourland-Davis said.

The faculty is currently deliberating on which students’ schedules will be altered.

“I should not be removed from my class because a senior won’t be able to graduate on time. That is not my fault, nor my concern,” Megan Twist, senior public relations major, said. “I am just as much of a student at Georgia Southern University as they are. They had plenty of opportunities to take the required courses, especially since they are a year older than everyone else and could register before all of us for each year.”

An additional section of PR research and PR campaign classes are being added next semester, but some students may still be dropped, Bourland-Davis said.

“This is my fifth year, and I’m set to graduate in the spring. I’ve spent too much money here to have them not respect the number of PR students we have here. I can’t afford to be here any longer, and they should have been prepared better,” Elizabeth Yanda, senior public relations major, said.

Faculty will work with those students who are affected to make sure they stay on track for graduation despite the alterations to their schedules, Bourland-Davis said.

“We don’t want a senior to have to come back in the fall for one class, so we’re trying to take care of the greater good for everybody,” Bourland-Davis said.

“Many sophomores and juniors may not understand and may be upset if they are removed from a class they really want, but they will have a chance to take the class in the future.  For seniors, this is the last chance to take classes and we need those classes to graduate,” Holly Wright, senior PR major, said. “I know it is a large inconvenience for many of us, but it has to be done.”

In future terms the communications arts department hopes to avoid this problem by being more accurate in predictions of how many seats they need to make available, but, if the program keeps growing with no additional funding, then other interventions will take place, Bourland-Davis said.

“There are only so many places we can go with limited faculty. In the worst case scenario we would limit how many people come into the major,” Bourland-Davis said. “We try to make up with more summer classes and online classes, so people can try to stay on task to graduate.”