Monday, February 05, 2007

An article in the Wisconsin State Journal today highlights an unfortunate bottleneck within UW-Madison that even many faculty find surprising when they first start working here: "For roughly half of the nearly 150 majors on campus, all that's required is to declare an intention to major in a particular field and you're in. For other majors, the so-called limited enrollment majors, students must apply and be admitted." This limitation on majors is particularly acute in one of my departments, Journalism and Mass Communication, where due to low faculty numbers, lack of funding for graduate student TAs, and other limits of space and time, even though "200-250 students typically apply each term to become journalism majors [,] Only 100 will be accepted." It's a situation that's personally frustrating to me, as I teach the first journalism class that our majors are exposed to -- after taking my 450-student intro course, they may apply for admission to the major. Our applications have increased of late, telling me that we're doing a good job inspiring students to consider communication as a worthy career. But I wish we had more resources to follow through on that inspiration.

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