By Merete Aanes (Staff Writer)

For the first time ever, freshmen and transfer students could not choose their first semester’s classes at Wesley.

“They started a block scheduling process this year to make sure students chose the core courses they need,” said Eric Nelson, vice president for finance.

Courses assigned to freshmen were picked based on their high school classes, SAT scores, and their major.

“Block scheduling incoming freshmen is a best practice at a number of colleges and universities across the country,” said Beth Fisher, director of student activities.

Some freshmen found this new process helpful.

“I [liked the process] because people would choose easy classes if not,” freshman Amanda Beodeker said. “You get a good balance of classes.”

The process of picking classes during freshmen orientation is too time-consuming, said Paul Olsen, assistant vice president for academic affairs.

It often takes from two to three hours for everything to be done, and it takes away time from meeting with other students and faculty during orientation, Olsen said.

“I think it’s a good idea because a lot of freshmen don’t know what classes are required,” freshman Elisa Ferman said.

Garrett Kaczmarczyk, a junior and transfer student, does not feel the same way.

“I didn’t like it because I was just handed a schedule when I was used to picking my own classes,” he said. “I would have loved to pick my own schedule.”

Transfer students were also assigned schedules.

“Transfers were scheduled through the block system process,” Fisher said. “I know that some transfer students worked closely with Dr. Olsen in scheduling as well.”

Transfers coming in with credits earned would be handled differently, said Patricia Dwyer, vice president for academic affairs said. Depending on their major, they are taking more classes specific to their discipline.

“Of course we hope that students are able to drop and add what they want,” Olsen said.

“[It was okay] for me because I could drop classes and add what I wanted,” said freshman Hui Zeng.
Erich Gillespie, a freshman, feels that the process helps students adjust to college.

Wesley is a liberal arts college, so you take many different classes, he said.

If he had been able to pick his own schedule, Kaczmarczyk said that he would have picked better time slots.

Olsen and Dwyer agree that students need to be given the opportunity to pick their classes.

The plan for next summer is to involve the students more, Dwyer said.

Recently, the faculty agreed that next year freshmen will be assigned math and English classes the first semester, but they also may pick classes with the guidance of a faculty adviser.

“I received very positive feedback from parents in regards to block scheduling,” Fisher said. “Parents were happy that knowledgeable faculty members assisted in setting a positive academic course for their child.”

Classes filled up quickly, Olsen said. Students confirming late in the summer got the worst pick in classes and dorms.

“The sooner you confirm your place at Wesley, the better selection of classes and dorms you have,” Dwyer said.

Kimberly Manahan contributed to this story