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The plight of the Weissman student: How Baruch limits its liberal arts students with a poor selection of classes

Igormattio | Pixabay

Those few frantic weeks known officially as the class registration period at Baruch College — and unofficially known as the season of dread — see their share of small injustices. Classes
fill up faster than the No. 6 train during rush hour, and the time it takes to make a three-week trek through the Amazon seems shorter than the wait for an academic adviser.

In the midst of all these jabs, contemplate — just for a moment — the humble Weissman School of Arts and Sciences student. Excited to finally enter an elective class they have been planning to take for the last three years, the student realizes with alarm once they open CUNYfirst that the class is not being offered. Nor has it been offered for the past four semesters. Nor will it be offered in the time the student will be at Baruch.

No student at Baruch is a stranger to not receiving the perfect class schedule. But with increasing frequency, it seems like students’ options for classes are limited. All of these elective courses with fantastical names and niche topics are in the departments’ course catalogs, yet some majors and minors are lucky to have all of their required classes running during a semester.

Why should it be this way? It’s understandable that professors may not be available to run the course or the department cannot afford it or there is a lack of student interest that makes these courses difficult to run.

But is there a way to remove these courses from the catalog so as to not get students’ hopes up, or perhaps poll students in a particular department on what courses they would be interested in taking?

Whatever the solution may be, it is unfair to students who genuinely may want to take a more obscure course, only to wait on pins and needles until the eventual odd semester that the course may finally be offered once more.

Students deserve to know more about the departments they are entering and committing to — no student wants to realize two years into their major that the three classes they were looking forward to taking will not be offered in their time in college.

Baruch needs to treat Weissman courses less like an afterthought and more like a main event. Though the college is known for its business programs, it can still flourish as a unique academic environment that offers the range of interesting liberal arts courses it claims to have. Students should not have to play guessing games when they enter majors, and departments need to be clearer on what courses they plan on offering for the semesters to come.

With some absolutely brilliant professors, Baruch has the potential to make a name for itself beyond finance, accounting and the boardroom.

Great student philosophers, artists and writers pass through the 24th Street doors every single day. It’s just a matter of nurturing this talent and building it into something that these students can take with them into the world and make things with.

However, these dreams start with making student resources clear and allocating them into the right channels. While students are getting by now living with this uncertainty, a push for greater clarity could only serve to benefit the Baruch population.

It is not unreasonable to ask that Baruch and its departments be clearer. Weissman, the Zicklin School of Business and the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs students all deserve to know exactly where their majors and minors are taking them — with no surprises, no second guesses and a map with how to get them there.

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