French courses dropped for the fall semester


Two French courses were dropped for the fall semester. Photo courtesy of Richard Holz

Two French course sections were recently dropped for the fall 2019 semester after a miscommunication in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The French courses dropped were FREN 2002: Intermediate French 2 and FREN 4210: Francophone Literature: Western: Literary Currents of Quebec.

Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Richard Holz said funds were allocated for seven sections of French courses for each semester next year, but the Languages, Literatures and Cultures department requested nine sections be taught. He said the department built nine sections in Checkmarq, allowing students to enroll though the courses were not all approved.

When it came to my attention Friday (April 19) that nine courses were actually open, I asked the department to cancel two sections at this time, which had a total of six students enrolled,” Holz said in an email.  “As only 40% of all seats in French courses are filled, there are plenty of options for those students and all have been helped to register for another course.”

In a previous interview with the Marquette Wire April 24, Holz said there were not going to be any cuts in courses.

Holz said he is not sure why nine sections were opened with only seven being approved. He said the Languages, Literatures and Cultures department informed him that it was a miscommunication.  

“When building the schedule for any given year, we ask departments to propose their ideal schedules and let them know that depending on resources and need based data, proposed sections may have to be closed,” Holz said in an email.  “This year, we trimmed some proposed courses from nearly every department as our student enrollment and data did not support some of the proposed sections.”  

Holz said the College of Arts & Sciences uses course data to the best of its abilities to predict the courses it needs to offer and how many seats will be required to fill each section.  

“The are seven sections of French courses offered in the fall 2019 and seven proposed for spring 2020,” Holz said in an email. “Last year there were nine sections of French offered, but several have enrollments below our minimum level of 10 students.”

Due to the size and complexity of the College of Arts & Sciences, courses are routinely opened and closed, Holz said in an email.

“As part of our schedule building process, … every department adjusts their schedule annually based on student enrollments and need for graduation and advancement in their majors,” Holz said in an email. “Given that the college teaches more than 800 sections a semester, we routinely open and close sections every semester across all departments to accommodate student needs and to keep costs down.”

Holz said the College of Arts & Sciences positions itself to have flexibility with opening and closing class sections based on freshman enrollment and student demand, and semester course schedules are not completely finalized until classes begin.
“We will open or close dozens of sections between the opening of fall registration and the start of classes,” Holz said in an email.

Holz said if student enrollment calls for more French sections to be opened, they will be opened. As of now, however, Holz said the seven sections are sufficient for addressing student demand.

“We are confident that our students interested in taking French courses are well served at the present time,” Holz said in an email.

Claire Bruns, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she wishes the Languages, Literatures and Cultures department had more financial support so it could expand or offer more resources and opportunities to professors and students. 

There are a lot of passionate professors there who could be teaching some amazing classes if given the opportunity,” Bruns said. “I think it’s disappointing that students aren’t able to take classes that they are passionate about just because there aren’t enough people interested in the same topics as them.”

Bruns said dropping courses may also pose an issue for students needing them to complete a major or minor.

“Being as efficient as possible in how we allocate student tuition dollars to meet all student course needs is our primary goal,” Holz said in an email.

Meredith Lowry, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she thinks there are always enough courses, but not a lot of options. Lowry said she has completed the French major and has taken about 10 to 11 offered French courses.

“I’m kind of disappointed they cut some courses,” Lowry said. “From what I’ve heard professors have been offering to cover the courses that were going to be cut, but they wouldn’t let them.”

Lowry said she feels like the university is trying to downsize the French program. 

“I think (the university) could put more funding into the French program … because I think learning another language is really important and helps you develop another way of thinking and viewing the world,” Lowry said.