History department limits spots for non-majors in 200-level courses

Junior biology major Adrian Medina wanted to take Gendered History of Food next semester to fulfill his history and gender general education requirements. However, when it came time to register, even though enough spaces were still open in the class, he was restricted.

“It kicked me out,” Medina said, “It gave me some message about how only history majors could register for the class now.”

Medina was one of many students who were caught off guard by this message during registration. For many majors, one of the general education requirements is that students take a history class.

However, the history department, in keeping with the spirit of the new liberal learning program, has made some changes as to what non-majors can and cannot take to satisfy their requirements.

Daniel Crofts, former chair of the history department, said he is aware of the students’ concerns but was able to explain why the changes were made.

“The 200-level history courses will no longer be able to satisfy general education requirements,” Crofts said. “These courses will only be available to history majors.”

With 240 history majors, the department needed to ensure that those majoring in history were able to take these foundation courses.

“We have reserved 10 seats in these classes specifically for history majors,” Crofts said. “We want to make sure that our majors are able to schedule enough classes for their major.”

Because of this, when students registered early last week, many were blocked out, even though on The Electronic Student Services (T.E.S.S.), the course catalogue said seats in the class were still available.

“We had to leave about 200 seats open within these classes so that majors register,” Crofts said.

With 240 registered majors, the history department is among the largest on campus. Many open-options majors choose history, and many of the students who switch their majors within the first three semesters of their college careers switch to history.

With the understanding that not all history majors would fill these reserved seats, the restrictions were lifted at noon last Thursday afternoon.

“By Thursday afternoon, only first-year students (would) be registering,” Crofts said. “Those students will be taking the 200-level courses, which (would) be restricted for most non-majors. All upper-level history majors should have registered by that point, so the 300-level courses (would) be made available to anyone.”

Crofts said non-majors who were not initially able to register for history courses should check back to see if seats are available in courses they wanted to take now that the restrictions have been lifted.

To help non-majors select courses that will satisfy history requirements for liberal learning, a list of 300-level courses, available to all non-majors, is available. The list outlines all of the necessary registration information as well as other requirements, like gender, race/ethnicity and global, that these courses fulfill.

“In the spirit of liberal learning, we chose a variety of classes that satisfy history along with other requirements and made these students available to both majors and non-majors,” Crofts said.