Registration woes: Tales from the underfunded departments

Due to Baylor’s massive growth in the past few years, registration for classes has gotten much more difficult. The Baylor Lariat intended to write this editorial on the process of enrolling in classes as a studio art minor. Studio art minors are barred from registering for 3000 and 4000 level classes until the majors have registered for their courses. The following was pulled from the story that was originally going to be published:

“Senior year is a dichotomous mixture of graduation parties and paper-writing. It is a daze of getting classes lined up in order to graduate on time, making good grades and finding a job. Some students have extracurricular activities to tend to,all in the midst of preparing for graduation. Fortunately, the stress of being able to register for certain classes fades around junior year when students start to receive preference over underclassmen. Other than athletes and honor students, class registration is reserved for these graduating seniors. That is, unless you are minoring in studio art.

Minors in studio art, no matter their classification, must wait for all studio art majors to enroll in 3000 and 4000 level classes first. To receive consideration for course enrollment, the minor must put their name on a wait list unaffiliated with Bearweb in the art department’s office. Senior studio art minors do not get preference.

With the particularly popular courses, such as those on the graphic design route, it is common for the classes fill up before minors even have the option to enroll.

Across the board, it is understood that seniors should not have to worry about enrolling in courses in order to graduate. Since this is not the case for studio art minors, an update is necessary to get the department on track with the rest of the university.”

After speaking with Professor and Chair Mark Anderson, it became clear why studio art minors are barred from registering for these classes, even if they are a senior. Rather than being some departmental oversight, this barring is caused by a lack of space and funding.

“We have more than half of our majors in graphic design,” Anderson said. “It’s just not possible to get non-majors and minors in those classes.”

Within the Pro Futuris plan set in place by the university for 2014 – 2018, the College of Arts and Sciences specifies their intention to expand the art department. This would include moving some of the facilities to a different location, and utilizing the vacated spaces for, say, graphic design studios. It would also entail moving the film and digital media department from Castellaw into Hooper-Schaefer. The following comes from the plan, titled “Building the Arts District”:

“The Arts District fundraising campaign has been ongoing for several years. Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center is an inadequate facility housing the Departments of Theatre Arts and Art and occupied to capacity (students, faculty, laboratories, auditoriums, and graduate programs). Furthermore, the Division of Film and Digital Media in the Department of Communication has significantly outgrown its space in Castellaw, and the quality of this space has declined. Architectural plans are being created to renovate and expand Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center to better accommodate the needs of these departments.”

Anderson said plans to create this arts district has been in the books for “at least 10 years.” But fundraising is the issue. The Hankamer School of Business moved into its $100 million facility, the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, last Fall. As the name suggests, the project was possible thanks to a hefty donation from Mr. Foster. The business school can simply crank out more students than the art department – those of which are also likely to make wealthier alumni.

“We need a donor the way business had a donor,” Anderson said.

This shortage of space, lack of funding and small faculty is costing students. It is encouraging to know that Pro Futuris at least states the college’s intention for expansion, but we are over halfway done with the initiative and there have been no improvements. The business school and McLane Stadium are excellent examples of how the university can allocate immense funds and build amazing facilities. It’s time for the smaller departments to have the resources to expand.

With this revelation, instead of calling on the art department to fix a problem out of their control, the Baylor Lariat wants to hear from the student body if they are experiencing similar problems. Are you a social work student who feels your department is underfunded? Or an anthropology student who wishes you had a new facility? Send your experiences and suggestions for change within your department to