“If you’re a journalism student you should really worry about how the program is being run,” said student Emily Stephenson. “I’m so fed up with the Communication Department. [We need to] find out who is responsible for the conflicting conducting of the department.”
Some of the departments that make up the College of Humanities and Social Sciences require that their students take what seems to be the same class multiple times. The only recognizable difference is the class titles.
In the Communication Department, students are required to take editing for the mass media, writing for the mass media and reporting for the mass media. All three courses discuss article structure, the Associated Press Style Guide, and writing and editing processes. In all three classes similar assignments and quizzes are given from the same texts.
“It’s not on purpose. But it isn’t right. I don’t think that was the intent,” said Scott Carrier, journalism assistant professor. “I think it was the mistake on the professors’ part. I think we deserve the blame for that.”
When Paul Skousen, adjunct instructor in the Communication department, that it doesn’t hurt to have refreshers, but only if the classes are building on one another.
“I don’t know what’s being taught in other classes,” Skousen said. “I try to read my classes, which is dangerous. The more advanced students are bored to tears, and I can see that they’ve learned the material before, but there are students in the class that have never heard any of this before. It’s as frustrating for the instructor as for the students If half the class has glazed-over eyes and the other half looks confused, you can’t know if what you’re teaching is effective.”
When the professors, as opposed to the department, wholly decide the curriculum and course goals, keeping track of what students have and have not learned is difficult.
“As the famous line from Cool Hand Luke says, ‘we have here a failure to communicate,’” Carrier said. “But it’s good that the students are asking. It’s good that they want more [from UVU]. They should”
Tuition costs and graduating on time are concerns that students have about taking these repetitive classes.
“It’s a complete waste of time and money,” said Jessika Larsson, student. “I’m a senior this year and I’ll be a senior next year too, just waiting to get all these lower division classes I didn’t know about done before I can finish up all my upper division classes.”
It’s not only the Communication students dealing with this problem. It’s in the Behavioral Science Department as well. Students with the Family Studies emphasis are required to take marriage relationship skills, relationship enhancements programs and applied marriage. Students in these classes say that these classes use the same curriculum and texts.
“What’s frustrating for me is they cost me money, they cost me time and I don’t learn anything new,” said Brittany Plothow, student. “I have to take these three classes, which puts me semesters behind and instead of spending that time learning something new. I can’t afford the time or the money to keep this up.”
Some students worry about what this means for their education when semester after semester consists of learning the same material.
“Students need to know that they can still get a good education here,” Carrier said. “They just need to accept their responsibility. They need to read and study on their own, find their own mentors, form networks. You can’t wait for the teacher to hand you your education.”