As the 2011-2012 academic year has come rolling into Ann Arbor I have been struck and disappointed by the overcrowding of my classes. Sure, my particular concentration (Environmental Engineering under Civil Engineering) has been growing in popularity, but that is no excuse for a failure to provide adequate academic facilities. Yes, Michigan is a big school, but remember, “you can always make a big school small, but you can’t make a small school big.” I always have and always will agree with that statement, but what I have experienced during my first week of classes has made me question the University’s ability to handle fluctuations in the student body.
Days before classes began, I was informed that two out of the three engineering classes I am enrolled in had last minute rooms changes, yet in all three classes, every seat has been filled and students have been forced to stand in two. Sure, it’s the first week– people are still figuring out there schedules. However, quick polls by the professors to find out who was waitlisted/not enrolled in the class only proved that rooms would continue to be overcrowded.
Written into the by-laws upon which the College of Engineering was founded is a simple promise that class sizes will not exceed 50 students. Tell that to most of my friends on North Campus and they will laugh. Even senior year has yielded few if any classes under that number. Frankly, a bigger class doesn’t really bother me. What bugs me is when they take a class of more than 50 students and put them in classrooms designed for less than 50 students. Maybe I am blowing this out of proportion because I still haven’t fully dried out from last week and staying up too late after watching the Wolverines pull a fast one on the Irish has me a little cranky, but look around. Tuition prices are rising, the Administration backed the construction of a hotel, oh, I mean residence hall called North Quad, and we have a new score board that allows Michigan grads in space to watch our football games while I have sat in a broken chair for the last week and my classmates have stood in the back.
(Stock photo courtesy of sxc.hu)