Loosen the graduation noose

Spinnaker

In this issue, an article outlined how exactly the state plans to force students into graduating on time by charging incoming freshmen an arm and a leg per excess credit hour.

It looks like our state legislators have paid attention in psych class. Just watch as they play the negative reinforcement game with your tuition!

As the state is tightening the noose, UNF officials are fumbling with the ropes, attempting to loosen them by introducing programs like the Academic Roadmap Initiative, featured in the Aug. 28 edition of the Spinnaker.

Unfortunately, I don’t think they spent much time with their fellow pirates learning knot specialties, and the students are about to suffocate.

This program is successful by predicting specific classes a student needs to take each semester, but I don’t think the beaming creators of the program see the truth — that it is seriously flawed.

Ask a few five- or six-year students why they’re still around campus, and you’ll normally get one of two possible answers: they switched their major too late into their college career, or they didn’t take the right class at the right time and were held back a year by not knowing so-and-so with what’s-his-face was only offered during a special summer A session.

Or worse, they knew and simply sat on the waitlist with 10 to 15 other anxious seniors, hoping and praying to their separate gods someone would drop the class so they wouldn’t have to take back their graduation announcements.

I understand that times have been tough. UNF hasn’t laid anyone off because it’s freezing these non-critical positions, purposely leaving them unfilled and lowering the list of available class offerings.

But when is it going to be solved? An Academic Roadmap adviser said in most cases, the program doesn’t tell students when classes are offered, and she didn’t express much interest in addressing this issue, simply remarking that class offerings are up to department chairs and most change sporadically.

What UNF officials running the Academic Roadmap Initiative program need to understand is that though they are trying to fix this problem, they are not yet attacking its true catalyst.

They need to realize the current efforts of the road map initiative are simple Band-Aids covering wounds that are still profusely bleeding all over hundreds of invisible, not-yet-earned diplomas.

Stop the random changes in class offerings, and then organize them in a way students will understand on their road maps, so scheduling can be simple and not a nightmare of confusion and random happenstance. Matriculation rates will improve once this is done.

Every action has an opposing reaction. We were all enrolled in science class, so we all get it — let’s just hope they understand science, too.