Of course it’s not available

Required classes only offered once a year can prevent students from graduating on time

A student coming to Florida Gulf Coast
University with a four-year graduation
plan may end up extending their stay for
additional semesters, or even years. While
the circumstances of each student vary,
some fi nd themselves graduating later than
anticipated due to lack of course availability.
After choosing a major, students are
introduced to their course track and catalog
at orientation. They are encouraged to stick
to the major track and seek assistance from
an adviser at least once a semester in order
to fi nish their degrees within the projected
four years.
However, the perfectly mapped out
four-year plan does not always prove
to be possible. When changing a major,
transferring from another school to
FGCU or upon failing a class, a student’s
graduation can be set back anywhere from a
semester to a full year.
Cathy Duff, associate vice president
of academic and curriculum support,
explained that deciding which particular
classes are offered each semester is a
decision that starts with the department
head of each major. A group of program
leaders work together to create a
curriculum fl ow chart determining the most
effi cient way to offer classes for students
enrolled in their program.
The proposed classes are then sent
to the respective college as well as the
Registrar’s office for finalization. Course
planning is also analyzed by committees
who look at the classes offered in previous
years and see how they correlate to
student success.
Tomit Nguyen Huynh is a fifth-year
computer science student. The computer
science program runs on a timely course
sequence, with certain prerequisites only
offered one semester of the year. Huynh
transferred to FGCU from Broward
College during his sophomore year. He
was unable to complete his sophomorelevel
classes with other students his age
because the one prerequisite class that
he needed was not available to him. When
Huynh entered the program, there were
only three instructors, which limited class
availability. Advisors were helpful in his
“There have been pros and cons to the
situation. Of course I didn’t want to be
graduating later than I anticipated. But at
the same time I had the opportunity to get
to know the school and the program better,
and I’ve enjoyed it.”
FGCU alumus, Eric McNeely, an
engineering student who graduated in
2011 was negatively affected by a lack
of course offerings. The senior design
course needed to complete his degree
was not offered during the fall semester
he anticipated graduation. After working
with advisors and deans, McNeely was
able to take the course at FIU’s campus in
Miami and receive credit for it at FGCU.
McNeely says, “I had to drive to Miami
once a week in order to take the last class
I needed because it was not offered at
FGCU. I understand that I was at fault
for not taking the course with the rest
of my program, and I was lucky to seek
help from the deans in my college. It was
just stressful because I almost lost my
commission for the Marines.”
Cathy Duff says she takes pride in the
work of FGCU’s advising staff, “I have seen
the advisors be extremely accommodating
for students. I know the colleges and the
advisors are very accommodating.”
Duff also stresses that while the
advisors are there to assist the students
in any way they can, the responsibility
ultimately relies on the students to ensure
they are planning out their courses
ahead of time and regularly meeting with
advisors to avoid any setbacks during their
academic career