How should I respond to students asking to add my section of Arts and Letters during the first weeks of class?
The Arts and Letters classes present opportunities for freshmen entering USC to begin their academic careers with a tenured faculty member leading a smaller, more intimate class. For that reason, the cap on class size in these courses is observed more stringently than in other classes. It is also a question of learning objective: beyond a certain size, the academic experience of a student learning to read and write critically can be adversely affected.
Some topics and times of day are more popular than others, but to maintain the quality of the academic experience we allow enrollments in ARLT 100g classes to rise to 30 but no higher. In order for a student to add the class, he or she needs a blue "add" form, signed by you and stamped by the General Education office. Whenever possible, these classes are capped at 28 seats for the first week, so that the faculty can express a preference among the students who would like to add their sections.
Before the semester starts, these classes are capped at lower levels, reserving seats for students who attend later orientation sessions. During that period, please do not sign any add forms or promise seats to students who request them. Every student should have some chance to choose from the entire range of Arts and Letters classes.
In allocating seats, after faculty preference, the G.E. office considers whether a student is eligible for ARLT 100g by class standing (freshman or sophomore status); whether the student is already registered for another section of Arts and Letters; and when the student asked to add the class, with preference to those who began attending the first day.
If your section has 27 enrolled in Week One, you can choose the next three students by signing only three add/drop forms and letting the G.E. office know, at 213/740-2961. We will allow those three students to add the class. If you'd like us to assist you in the selection, tell students you can add only three people but will sign six forms, with the understanding that the students will go to the G.E. office in CAS 200, where we will check other factors and inform the students which three of the six will be given clearance to add.
If you'd like to discuss this further, call Richard Fliegel, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in USC Dornsife College, or Marsha Chavarria-Winbush, Associate Director of General Education, at 213/ 740-2961.