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Directed study affects students in certain departments

Math-illustration

Illustration by Clarissa Hunter

Several math and english classes have been converted to directed study for this semester.

According to the academic catalog, a directed study is “an individualized offering of a regular course which the student has been unable to schedule but which is required in the student’s program.”

The course assignments will be worked out between the instructor and the student, Sarah Harvey, registrar, said.

“If there are students who need the class in the upcoming semester, we make arrangements to individualize the course, substitute a different course for the requirement or do a group directed study,” she said. “What we do will depend on our assessment of what will best serve the students in the class and the most workable arrangement.”

For sophomore Hosanna Burr, the new class arrangement is a bit troublesome. Her class, elements of linear algebra, was converted into directed study this semester because it only had three students.

“It really changed the semester for me,” Burr said. “It’s now going to require a lot more work, and I’m already taking [a lot of credits]. Now trying to teach myself a subject and do all the homework for it is just a lot of extra work that I wasn’t planning on [doing].”

In her case, directed study means a one-hour meeting with her professor each week and deadlines at the end of the semester.

“Originally, he [her professor] was planning on having a day where we could ask those questions and then he would lecture three days, and now it is kind of like we only get that day of questions and not the day of lectures,” she said.

Burr said that they would most likely take advantage of that extra time. Nonetheless, her work load seems to have increased.

“I’ve been trying to work on it while I’m technically supposed to be scheduled for that class and then I have the homework time; so, I feel like ultimately it’s going to add more time to my schedule,” she said.

As she gets further into the math major, she said she is concerned more classes will be converted to directed study. She said she may have to consider other options if the university cannot meet her academic needs.

“Continuing here might not be the best option because I don’t want to change my major,” she said. “I want to keep that.”

Harvey said switching classes to directed study is not a new practice, but one that happens each semester depending on class enrollment. This switch did not only happen in the math and English departments.

“The academic dean ultimately makes the call but consults with me, the assistant dean, the department chair, the instructor and even other faculty in the department to reach a decision about the best way to handle each course offering,” she said. “This is not unusual, just good stewardship of HU’s faculty resources and helps ensure that we serve students in the class or in the department in the most effective way.”

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