General requirements result in high enrollment

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At the head of every semester are a pair of fresh eyes looking toward a new start, new professors, new material, new friends and new courses.

But before the beginning of each semester, registration season is underway.

History 110A, a world history course, had the highest enrollment last semester with 2,013 students, according to Institutional Research and Analytical Studies.

Biology 101 is the second course with the highest enrollment from last semester with 1,949 students.

Other courses with high enrollment numbers include English 101, Math 115, Political Science 100 and Human Communication 100.

According to Institutional Research and Analytical Studies, the lowest enrolled courses are special topics such as projects, thesis, independent study, direct studies, graduate projects and tutorial courses.

In these courses, a single student was enrolled in a course in a given department.

The office reported that 37,677 students were enrolled in 2,076 different courses in the university.

William Myers, Ph.D., a history professor, has been teaching History 110A for the last 16 years and said he is not surprised by the high enrollment.

The course is general education requirement that must be fulfilled by every student at the university.

Together History 110A and 110B refresh students’ understanding of human achievements over the past 5,000 years, with the intent of helping them to appreciate the cause and effect which shapes our contemporary world, he said.

“I am really pleased that so many students are being introduced to the excitements of history, and am honored when I can be part of their ‘path in discovery’ in college,” Myers said.

Myers said he believes students appreciate the opportunity to learn about earlier times, and often gain an insight into their own cultural background.

He also said students dislike having to memorize dates, or to write long papers.

Anabel Hernandez, 21, a Spanish major, took History 110A last semester because it was a requirement.

Hernandez said she enjoyed learning interesting details and facts about ancient civilizations in chronological order.

However, she did not like the class size because she has a preference for smaller classes where students are able to participate more in discussions and the teacher knows the students better.

Leticia Garcia, 21, an international business major, has taken several of the ten courses with the highest enrollment on campus.

Garcia’s favorite course out of the top ten is History 110B because she has a passion for the subject.

She said her least favorite course was Math 115 because she felt it was redundant.

Krista Henderson, a biology professor, said many students take Biology 101 because it is a prerequisite for other courses.

“I think it also seems like a ‘familiar’ way to fill that section of the GE. Everyone took Biology in high school and therefore students may feel more comfortable with that, than some of the other courses,” said Henderson.

Henderson prefers to teach smaller classes because it’s easier to get to know the students and easier to encourage participation, but typically she has about 80-100 students per class.

Henderson said she likes being able to discuss current or controversial topics and helping the students see the science behind these things.

“There is so much pseudoscience and misinformation out there, things you see on TV or the Internet, that it’s important that students understand how to evaluate information,” Henderson said.

She said most instructors who teach this class, including herself, try to make the class relevant for non-majors by teaching about personal health, the environment and current issues like stem cell research.

“Hopefully the relevancy is what students like the most,” Henderson said.

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