The increased enrollment created various challenges to coordinating the freshman schedules. Departments were faced with increasing the traditional small class sizes in order to accommodate all students.
Dr. Kim Boyd is the associate dean of academic affairs. She previously held the title of freshman and college 101 class coordinator, now held by Dr. Courtney Smith. Boyd explains “Part of [scheduling] is making sure we have the right classes, both the right number and the right type of classes considering student interest and majors.” The department was faced with increasing the small core class sizes to accommodate student schedules.
Upperclassmen chose their schedules before the coordinators created class lists for the incoming freshman class. Coordinating freshman schedules after all upperclassmen chose can be difficult, especially when an increased number of freshmen students are involved.
“Timing is another issue,” Boyd said. “As you know, upperclassmen get to select their courses first, so our first-years get courses that might not be in prime time…sometimes the biggest challenge is to make students happy. I try to give a little bit of great stuff to everyone, but invariably everyone gets a few classes at 8:15, on Fridays or at night.”
Boyd explains that in addition to coordinating freshman schedules, all student athletes and students with disabilities must be properly accommodated as “
“It is really important to academic affairs to ensure the courses students need are available and that classes we put freshmen in are designed to challenge students, but also give students the best chance at academic success,” Boyd said.
In addition to ensuring that students are enrolled in the required classes, student athletes need to have a schedule with only daytime classes. Boyd adds, “We truly want them to be student-athletes and have neither coursework nor sports suffer because of scheduling conflicts.
Other cases include students with disabilities and students returning as parents who need a more flexible schedule. Boyd said, “We meet necessary accommodations to ensure these students have equal and fair access to coursework”
As for the challenges of this year, “Our department chairs rose to the challenge and we opened more courses,” Boyd said. “A hallmark of Cabrini’s academic schedule is the smaller class size and individualized help that students have access to in order to thrive in classes.”
“We wanted to make sure we didn’t run all of our classes with 30 or 40 people. We wanted to keep class size small, just as we always did,” Boyd explains. “The biggest challenge was finding classroom space. Luckily the registrar’s office worked miracles and we found room for all of the classes.”
Boyd understands that the transition from high school to college is a difficult adjustment, made more seamless with the help of Cabrini’s resources. “One of the most important things students should get from COL 101 is that the student needs to take responsibility for their own education.”
“It isn’t about their parents, their teachers, their advisers. It’s about them becoming an adult, becoming a self-directed learner, becoming aware of their stregths and weaknesses and learning to play off those strengths; to learn to set boundaries and goals,” Boyd said.
“The type of intentional advising students get at Cabrini is important and one of the benefits of a small school.”
Boyd attended a mid-size school and is grateful for the faculty members that aided in the transition. She enjoys getting to know the students in her department and offering help when needed.
“It’s one of the reasons I chose to work at a small school,” Boyd explains.
“Every faculty, administrator, staff member and student, everyone in our community makes a difference. I’ve had the opportunity of teaching in a big school, really big. I lectured to a class of 400 plus students. I wouldn’t do it again in a million years.”