A look into the slim course offerings at SMC
Opinion Section Editor
Academic excellence and inclusion are two of the most important tenets of the Saint Mary’s College community; however, the course offerings have declined over the past few years. When it is essential to promote classes that best support the whole student, how can a college say that it is preparing its students for the real world?
Looking at the course offerings for next semester, there are 492 courses offered at Saint Mary’s, and according to their site, SMC has 40 majors in total. Some, such as Women and Gender Studies, have three courses offered in the fall, along with Ethnic Studies.
Given the lack of attention to diverse majors, how can change at SMC occur when students are not given options to learn more about America that accepts all parts of our history, one that showcases the diversity of SMC, which we still need to strive towards more. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we must understand what our political and educational leaders are doing and what their motivations behind it are. One must ask, why is there such a significant reduction in classes, and who takes ownership of this problem?
The classes that are missing in the fall are important to notice because they have negative ramifications for students looking to graduate in a timely manner. There are only seven Seminar classes in the fall, an essential class, however, Spring 2022 had seven Seminar classes. Specifically, Biology, Microbiology, and Genetics are either reduced or not offered, and these are foundational classes for the Biology major. Furthermore, the English department is offering limited classes as well, with ten sections devoted to Composition, limited Creative Writing options, and no class for the Authors and Genre requirements.
The major with the most classes is the Performing Arts Department with 33 classes. The major encompasses music and theatre and it is understandable why there are a lot of classes. However, how does it make sense not to spread the funds in a more equitable way, one that understands the stresses of students needing to fulfill their requirements to graduate?
From the Spring to the fall semester, there is almost a 200 class reduction, which is curious given where SMC spends their money.
Some may ask what the solution is to this problem, and the first answer is to increase the enrollment so that there are more students to serve and more classes to be offered. Although this is a logical conclusion, we must ask ourselves how currently enrolled students are treated. Without access to classes that are needed for graduation, there is a sense that students are working so hard for something, a degree, and there are barriers to getting something they have worked so hard for.
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Ryan Ford '23,