Improving the Lack of Class Availability at Naropa University
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This Petition is initiated by members of the Firebird cohort, and intends to address the extreme lack of availability and capacity regarding both core and elective courses. The equally extreme commitment of all enrolled students is tacit, given the high cost not only of tuition and fees, but also of required relocation, and the high cost of living in Boulder. Though it may not be our preference, many students must work at least part time to fulfill the dream of graduating from Naropa. Despite attendance of the program being an honor, we feel entitled to adequate course options regarding sections available, times offered, and management once courses are full. Objectively, it appears that more students were accepted into the program than can be properly accommodated.
An overwhelming amount of first year students were unable to enroll in either required or desired classes, due to limitation of class size, as well as the competing demand of other cohorts. Certainly we intend to emphasize class size as an advantage of a Naropa education, but it is clear that more sections need to be offered in order to honor this. While increasing the wait list is a start in a positive direction, it does not provide a concrete solution, nor does it promote reassurance in students without a stable schedule for the upcoming semester. It should be noted that unsuccessful registration was not the fault of first year students, as many attempted to register within minutes of the 8am opening on Tuesday, November 7. Such happenings and concerns have been communicated to advisors, who have been informative and accommodating to the best of their ability. However, it is clear that they are unable to implement policy change.
This brings us to the necessary inclusion of ongoing technological issues, to include registration on MyNaropa and the functioning of computers in the Paramita library. Throughout our brief time at Naropa, the amount of complaints regarding system failures is astounding. It is impossible to understand this given the cost of attendance. Whether attempting to register on a personal or public computer, students struggled to navigate a convoluted system, or to rectify MyNaropa once it crashed. We find this to be unsatisfactory and are petitioning for the accommodation of all students, as this to us is a matter of inclusivity and integrity of the university itself.
Issues Regarding the Lack of Class Availability
1. Instructors and advisers encourage taking electives beginning Spring semester of first year due to increased workload and practicum/internship during second and third year
2. Many First year students did not get to register for electives that support the specialty of their interest.
- A range of unique electives are a major reason many chose Naropa instead of another institution
3. Small class sizes and a lack of class sections create additional obstacles for students
- Students who are parents or required to work face impossible scheduling conflicts
- A majority of students are forced to work in order to pay for the high tuition fees at Naropa as well as for the high cost of living in Boulder.
Proposed Solutions for Lack of Class Availability
1. Increased class size is acceptable, but additional sections are preferable.
- In many cases, increasing class size is a matter of clerical adjustment.
2. Learning which classes are in higher demand, and adequately accommodating for increased demand.
- Analyzing data from previous years in order to predict the demand of upcoming electives, and class sections
- Administering a class interest form for students to show what class sections and electives they intend on taking a semester in advance, and a year in advance. This would also account for the amount of interest of students that didn’t get to register for classes due to full wait-lists, but are interested.
Issues Regarding Professionalism
1. Lack of communication regarding logistics, such as only 18 slots for the retreat, despite over 40 interested parties
2. Certain students have been told that “approval” is required to attend retreat, though it is unclear how to obtain this
3. Overwhelming amount of courses still list instructor as TBA, while instructor choice is imperative to the experiential nature of Naropa
4. Certain electives removed entirely a week or less prior to registration date.
5. Ongoing technological challenges concerning MyNaropa and Paramita library computers
Proposed Solutions for Professionalism
1. Transparency in regards to expectations for electives and retreat options
2. Proper time management and logistical planning to ensure course instructors won’t be listed as TBA when registration opens
- Naropa’s graduate programs are unique due to the experiential aspect of this education. Instructors greatly affect the class experience.
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