When I was searching for colleges to apply to and ultimately choosing which one to attend, the fact that IU was ranked No. 19 for journalism programs in the country was a major pull. I am happy with my decision to come here, and I love my program. However I have felt nothing but frustration the past three semesters when course scheduling rolls around.
The difficulty of getting into my critical core classes or even finding classes for my major that interested me has proven incredibly difficult. With each passing semester it only gets more frustrating. I thought this was all just in my head, and I didn’t expect so many other people to feel the same way.
As it turns out, the Media School isn't the only area that needs improving when it comes to classes.
Junior Chloe Davis said the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs has a similar issue. Davis explained to me how she has struggled to fulfill required classes due to a lack of diverse content and overlapping schedules.
The overlapping classes was a problem I heard many students talk about. All the classes of interest are scheduled at the same time. For me, this was a major issue when scheduling and many of the overlapping classes are required for me to graduate. It is difficult to build a schedule that is actually advancing you in your degree, when half of them are at the same time.
[Related: OPINION: The Media School should require a career prep class]
Davis also said a majority of her classes often revolve around the same topics.
“I’ve taken about three or four classes centered on climate change and possible solutions,” Davis said. “Most classes covering environmental issues will discuss repeated topics,.”
Many students that I talked to expressed frustrations revolving around the low range of class topics offered in each concentration or major.
In the Media School, journalism students are required to have “journalism skill electives.” These are specific classes you can take to get a more focused idea of your specialty. However, when you search for classes to fulfill this requirement, seven of the 26 classes being offered in spring 2023 are centered around sports or broadcasting. Another six are broad classes that don’t specify the topic.
Many of the classes that appear interesting to me, such as Travel Writing, Social Media Movements, or Investigative Reporting are listed but not offered. Although it is great that we have such an amazing sports journalism program here, some other specialties appear to be pushed aside.
[Related: OPINION: The IDS taught me important lessons classes did not]
As I researched through other majors and talked with other students, the Hutton Honors College was also brought to my attention.
When looking at the available Hutton courses on their page, it is apparent that most of them are classes designated to students in the Kelley School of Business. This makes it incredibly easy for Kelley students to pursue the Honors Notation. However, for many other majors, they struggle to get their 18 credit hours of HON-H classes. Therefore, it is like pursuing a minor in honors classes. Not to mention, many classes also require prerequisites, such as biology or technology courses. The classes lack diversity and range, making it difficult for non-Kelley students to obtain an Honors Notation.
Several students introduced other degrees and schools that suffer the same issues. As much as I thought this was an issue only I dealt with, it has become apparent to me it is a larger problem throughout the entire university.
IU seems to favors specific schools and majors, making it much simpler for them to get their degrees. Meanwhile, other majors — even ones that the school advertises as one of the best in the country —, fall behind. Many students are left taking classes they have no interest in or even not graduating on time due to the lack of space in each class.
IU needs to share the love, rather than prioritize their favorites.
Gentry Keener is a sophomore studying journalism and political science.