the nicholls worth

Low enrollment rates forces course cancellations


Low enrollment in elective courses created a small budget issue for Nicholls State University and culminated in the cancellation of classes previously scheduled for the fall semester.

Lynn Gillette, provost of academic affairs, explained how canceling courses was a necessary task for the University.

“I go to bed, go through the day, and wake up thinking about efficiency,” Gillette said. “We take seriously our stewardship of all resources. The courses that were canceled for low enrollment are very much [part of] a financial consideration. It is us making wise decisions with the funds we have from the students and the state.”

Gillette met with the deans of each department six months ago to discuss which classes could possibly be cut. The criteria used to determine courses cancelations were based on the numbers of students that registered for it and the affect it would have in graduation rates.

“If a Dean told me that a course with low enrollment was needed for graduation, I approved all of those,” Gillette said. “I did not cancel a single course that the dean was not in agreement with. I’m the one that put the policy into play but I did not cancel anything the deans were not comfortable with.”

Both undergraduate and graduate courses were removed from the course list, but Gillette said he was conscious not to take away classes that would affect graduation dates for students. If an undergraduate class had less than ten students signed up, it was removed. The minimum number of registered students required for graduate level classes was seven.

Gillette also explained how Nicholls is trying to make capstone level courses offered once a year instead of offered in both Fall and Spring semesters. This will make class sizes bigger and students will have a clear listing of when the have to take that course so that they do not miss their opportunity for registration.

The departments worked with their faculty whose classes were dropped to accommodate for a full workload. Adjunct professors taught many of the canceled classes. Some full-time professors were moved to teach different classes in their subject area.

Marnya Forbes, administrative assistant for the mass communication department, explained how the department made sure their students were taken care of.

“We had to have everything in place before school started. We wouldn’t dare cancel a class and tell students when they arrived for class on the first day.”

Students were advised through their departments on how to adjust their schedules. A full credit adjustment was made for the hours that were dropped. Gillette explained that most of the classes that were canceled were more elective based rather than core classes. He also said that it is hard to run a functioning class with only two or three people.

“We are incredibly student focused,” Gillette said. At the same time, we can’t offer classes with one to three students often. It’s not financially responsible. That is just the mix we had and I think it worked out incredibly well.”

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The student newspaper of Nicholls State University
Low enrollment rates forces course cancellations