By Members of the COMM 3835 Advanced Journalism Class*
(TEANECK) – It’s almost commencement day, and while some students are getting ready to walk the stage at MetLife Stadium, others are left wondering about the future of their alma mater.
The Equinox sampled student opinion on the proposed restructuring of the university over the last week. They expressed many concerns, but chief among them were changes in academic advising and administrative staff, class sizes and availability, and lack of information on the details of the plan.
“I don’t think they should drop classes because they are under-enrolled,” said Aziza, a freshman Psychology major. “There are those few students that are actually interested.”
Another student was worried about classes being cancelled.
“It’s frustrating because you had this class,” said Shannen Llamas, a senior Arts Management major, “you already have your schedule, but two weeks before school starts they cancel the class.That’s a big hassle, because at that point all the other classes are going to be filled up.”
Students were concerned that they might receive a lower level of advising service under the new plan.
“I think that’s inconvenient,” said freshman Biology major Madison Villalobos, “because the whole purpose of having your academic advisor here for your major is that they help you. You won’t get the same help from the regular academic advisors because that’s not their field of study, they don’t know much about your major – that’s not what their focus is.”
Losing the personal relationship between student and advisor was also a concern.
“I recall the first time I had to register for classes,” said Remonde Sejour, a junior Science major. “It was really a daunting task. I was not even aware of what classes I needed to take. In my experience with my advisor, I have been able to make sound choices that I am proud of. One hundred percent, I don’t think that without the help of my caring advisor I could say the same.”
Students wondered what the effect of the plan on class size would be.
“One of the biggest reasons I chose FDU was the small class sizes,” said Jobelle Gulian, a junior Nursing major.
Another student took exception to Dean Cohen’s assertion that “some of our classes, which to me are a little too large, might become smaller.”
Sophomore Communications major Tameri Harding disagreed. “The largest class I probably encountered was
around 20 students,” Harding said, “and I’m aware that some universities have classes with 50-plus people. So I don’t believe Dean Cohen was entirely accurate.”
But class size wasn’t a problem for everyone.
“It all depends on the class,” said Dylan, a junior. “With discussion classes, I actually welcome it, because it would mean there would be more people to talk to and work off of. I’m fine with large class sizes, as long as there is some structure, like groups.”
Elimination of classes was also seen as problematic.
“It would definitely be a negative,” said Ray White, a junior in Communications, “because it gives less variety and options to majors whose classes may not fill up as say, a Nursing or a Bio class. It’s almost like a punishment for not having a dictated amount of people.”
Students criticized the administration for a lack of details on the planned restructuring.
“I feel they should be more transparent because we are the students, and this is our campus,” Gulian said. “I should know what’s going on and what changes are going to be made, because I’m the one who is going to be living and going to school here for the next few years.”
Remonde Sejour summed it up.
“There needs to be an open and frank conversation about what’s happening,” Sejour said.“No beating around the bush. No more comments like, ‘nothing is going to change,’ or ‘things will remain the same.’ Because, news flash – it already has. People are worried about jobs, classes, scheduling. We have all these questions, and sadly, no clear answers.”
*Vanessa Gonzalez, Theresa King, Mark Lindsley, Moufatih Mohammad, Julian Oliver, Maya Page, Emily Weikl and Elizabeth White