Ewha students, especially seniors, are expressing concern over the low enrollment capacity of Convergence Basic courses provided for this spring semester. Students complained that there were not enough seats for juniors and seniors while Convergence Basic courses are generally required for graduation.
Many remark that the school’s failure to notify students about the decreasing capacity for upperclassmen caused confusion during last month’s registration period.
Moreover, the school did not designate an recommended year or inform students about the academic purpose of Convergence Basic courses.
Since 2016, completing at least one Convergence Basic course has been mandatory for all students to graduate except those from College of Pharmacy.
However, students were surprised to find that seniors were given far fewer seats compared to other students in many courses.
For example, Problem Solving and Software Programming only accepted freshmen and Computational Thinking and Its Understanding had 66 seats out of 80 seats saved for freshmen, meaning only 14 seats were left for other grades.
The Office of Faculty and Academic Affairs replied that it is their first encounter with this problem as this year’s class is the first to graduate after the curriculum change in 2016.
Professors also confused by lack of notification from school
Furthermore, not having a recommended year, unlike other mandatory courses such as Christianity and the World, left many seniors unaware of the sudden reduction of seats.
“I have a problem graduating because I failed to register for a Convergence Basic course,” said Park Min-jae, a senior majoring in Chemistry & Nano Science. “There was no prior announcement from the school about the low capacity for upperclassmen. It is unfair that most seats are saved for freshmen when there is no recommended year.”
For this spring semester, the total capacity of Convergence Basic courses was 1,090 seats. Among them, 445 seats were saved for freshmen. Other students had to compete for the remaining 645 seats. According to statistics from the Registrar, the number of enrolled seniors on Oct. 01, 2018 was 5,234 (excluding students of College of Pharmacy). However, the Registrar replied that they could not provide the number of seniors who did not take Convergence Basic courses.
“I believe it is the school’s fault for not opening enough courses for every student,” said a senior majoring in Mathematics who wished to remain anonymous. “I hardly believe the capacity for Convergence Basic can cover the total number of students, which is around 15,000. The school should open courses considering the number of students.”
“We asked professors to open Convergence Basic courses that have a minimum capacity of 80 students to prevent the low enrollment capacity,” explained an Administrative Officer of HOKMA College of General Education when asked about the current situation. “However, allotting seats to each grade is entirely up to professors. It is their distinct right; the school cannot really demand that of them.”
Nevertheless, Kim Young-won, a professor who was invited to teach Computational Thinking and Programming, commented that he did not decide the distribution when asked about the unbalanced capacity.
“I got a notification about the minimum capacity and verified that it was divided by grade,” Kim said. “However, I later found out that my course was mandatory, and I do not know whether the capacity for each grade has been divided considering that. It was not I who decided this as it is my first time giving a lecture at Ewha Womans University.”
The Department of Content Convergence further explained that only full-time professors can decide course capacity. However, Im Youn-sun, a full-time professor who teaches Problem Solving and Software Programming, maintained that the responsibility belonged to HOKMA College of General Education.
According to Professor Kim, insufficient information is provided for visiting professors. Among 12 professors who teach Convergence Basic courses, only four of them are full-time professors. Furthermore, the person who teaches the course is not the one who decides the capacity of the courses. Ewha Voice asked five professors about the matter, only three of whom replied and all with the same answer: that they do not know.
“Right now, it is impossible to rearrange the portion of capacity since the registration period has ended,” added the Administrative Officer of HOKMA College of General Education. “However, we are currently asking professors to expand the capacity and open more classes for upperclassmen so that students can register during registration confirmation and change period.”
Nevertheless, the officer further commented that the results for the expansion of capacity remain unpredictable because it can only happen when the professors grant their requests. The officer also concluded that they are planning to ask professors to increase the capacity in advance for upperclassmen regarding this issue before the start of the fall semester.
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