A higher than expected demand for classes during the J-Term led the Mercyhurst University administration to add more class sections to meet this demand.
According to Associate Vice President for Academic Services Michele Wheaton, 70 percent of the student population signed up for J-Term classes, a number slightly higher than was expected.
Once additional freshmen “who are required to register for the J-Term” finalize their registration, the number would “increase the percentage” of those participating in the J-Term “to approximately 77 percent.”
Though registration was shaky at first and had many students scrambling, the university quickly made an effort to address the problem.
“We did add sections and spent a lot of time talking to faculty to get more sections added,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Philip Belfiore, Ph.D., said.
“It went OK,” he said of the transition. “Part of going to semesters was to only have two registrations. So students didn’t have to do fall, winter and spring; they could just do fall and spring. That’s why we rolled January and spring together.”
The move was not without its hiccups, however, as Belfiore said, “There were more seniors taking classes than we thought. So we had to add classes for the freshmen coming in because we knew they were required to take a class.”
Wheaton said in an email that, “At present…a little over 70 percent [of students are] registered fully, with an additional 100 or more students (freshmen through seniors) who have not yet completed their registration for J and spring.”
Belfiore sees many benefits for J term, not the least of them being the amount of unique classes being offered. “We see some of that now [in this J-Term],” he said. “We certainly expect more of that in the future.”
Regarding what needs to be changed for next year, Belfiore believes that additional sections and additional class options are necessary for the J-Term. “We need to see what students are taking and what students want to take. Hopefully Student Government will give us some feedback on how students saw the process going and get back to us. We’ll make changes as students come to tell us what the problems are,” he said.
Student response was generally negative, as some students had to register for classes that were open instead of classes they wanted to take.
Junior Corey Mihna felt his experience with registration was negative overall. “The school needs to open more seats in the classes offered in the J-Term. Make 35 seats available instead of 25 per class,” he said.
For sophomore Samantha Beckas the registration process was stressful for the J-Term. “It was really stressful to schedule a class because I was worried not only about what class I needed to take but what classes were going to be available by the time it was my turn to register,” she said.
“The potential for this is pretty unique,” Belfiore said. “But we’ll make changes as we go forward.”
Belfiore encourages students to contact him and become involved in the process by offering ideas about what kinds of things they would like to see happen with the January term in the future.
For questions, comments or suggestions about the January term, contact Philip Belfiore at email@example.com.