Consolidation prompts fall registration confusion for chemistry department

Some glitches in the school’s registrar system have Georgia State chemistry students clamoring to get into classes that might not be available.

Classes are filling up and, sometimes, not even showing up as options in PAWS, the school’s registration network.

Jeremiah Harden, co-director of undergraduate studies in Georgia State’s chemistry department, told The Signal that his department is taking the brunt of the consolidation troubles, as it serves more pre-med students than other science schools.

He says the university should have done a better job at alerting people to the mounting concerns of inaccessible classes.

Some advisors in the chemistry department have taken to addressing the concerns by manually enrolling hundreds of students, one at a time.

“The chemistry department has to provide 1,500-plus overrides for students wanting to take a chemistry course,” he said. “Just think about how many students are in your general chemistry classes where there are 700 spots available. This department has to provide overrides for each one.”

Harden also said these tech problems stem from the university’s ongoing consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College.

“The changes to credit-hours are being made because GPC is an associate’s [degree] program that can not teach courses at a 3000 level. Since the university wanted all the freshman and sophomore classes at both schools to be unified, Organic Chemistry 3410, currently a 3000 level course, dropped to a 2000 level course.”

The chemistry department is not the only department that has made changes. Departments, such as the biology department, have also altered degree requirements for majors.

Biochemistry, a five-credit-hour course and once a biology degree requirement, has been eliminated from the core curriculum. Graduating with a pre-med concentration requires the five hour course, biochemistry, while the biology department isn’t acknowledging the course as part of their curriculum. This could possibly have a huge impact on financial aid.

According to Harden, if students on the HOPE scholarship have to prolong their graduation plans by retaking classes due to this registration rigmarole, some could lose their funding for taking more than the 127 credit-hours supported.

Even though the modifications of credit hours and degree requirements are not officially effective until May 9, some students trying to enroll in classes for the upcoming fall semester have faced difficulties.

Kayla Wilson, a sophomore at Georgia State, told The Signal, she’s called multiple departments with questions regarding registration errors.

“I’m just sent to the voicemail, which is full,” she said, “probably with students doing the same thing I’m doing.”

Harden said his voicemail being full because, “I have about 20 students waiting [in line] to talk to me about the registration errors, dozens of emails, and my phone constantly ringing. My phone is going to get the last priority.”

Harden also said he uses an online calender to help students book appointments, but that system’s gone down due to the influx of students needing help.

“Currently the system has broken because of all the students who are constantly trying to see me due to registration errors,” he said.

With registration windows now open, there have been complaints from students that they now have to change their pre-planned course schedule because of the consolidation mix-ups.

When students such as Catherine Lorisme, a sophomore chemistry major, heard about these changes, she said she was appalled that she didn’t hear about these changes directly from the chemistry department.

“The miscommunication between GSU’s chemistry department and students reflects poor work ethic on the science department and its faculty,” she said. “Science majors and/or students with pre-health concentrations were given little to no information regarding the changes that are going into effect with the consolidation. I had to hear about these changes through the grapevine.”


  1. Great work,Kyla, in bringing this to the forefront. These consolidations are being done with encouragement from the GA Legislature in the interest of saving money. Long before GSU’s merger with GA Perimeter and KSU consolidation with Southern Polytechnic, students have been complaining of longer times to graduate, because of the inability to get into core curriculum classes which are part of their majors. A lack of planning and foresight has turned enrollment into a frustrating farce. Hope someone’s listening. Let education be GA’s priority; not Campus Carry gun laws, which have now become another controversial topic with no easy answers.

  2. We appreciate the Signal’s attention to issues of student academic progress. Recent curriculum changes in Chemistry related to the consolidation effort, like any curriculum changes, are intended to enhance student learning and improve their chances of graduating on time. As noted in the article, the Chemistry department is working diligently with students to inform them of fall 2016 changes and to provide accommodations where appropriate. The College of Arts and Sciences Office of Academic Assistance and the department will be communicating with students over the next week as well. As always, students with questions about their coursework or program requirements should contact their assigned academic adviser in the University Advisement Center (freshmen to junior status) or their home college office of academic assistance (if a senior).

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