ASUCI Aids in Offering Student-Recommended Courses

Some students may wait each quarter for the Schedule of Classes to be released before thinking about what classes are available to them, but ASUCI’s Student Recommended Faculty Program allows students to have a voice regarding what classes are offered at UC Irvine. The SRFP takes ideas for classes from students and makes some of them into actual courses.
‘The goal of the SRFP is to provide classes that a broad varietay of students would be interested in taking,’ said Emily Yee, SRFP commissioner within ASUCI’s Office of Academic Affairs.
The process by which student ideas for classes are made into courses takes two years. The first step is gathering ideas from students.
Yee recently sent an e-mail to all students requesting that they ‘submit [their] ideas for new classes to the Student Recommended Faculty Program of the ASUCI by the end of Week One’ in order for their ideas to ‘be placed on the spring election ballot below the candidates for executive offices.’
‘We put anything people request on the ballot,’ Yee said. ‘Some topics we had to generalize in order for other students to be able to understand.’
However, Yee said that several types of courses will not be on the ballot.
Although cooking is a popular suggestion among students, it will not be placed on the ballot because of a lack of appropriate facilities. A boxing class was also omitted from the ballot, since it is more likely to fall under the jurisdiction of the Anteater Recreational Center.
‘Students will vote for their favorite choice and the SRFP director will look at the choices and take the top five ideas to make into real classes,’ Yee explained.
Last year, California society and politics, genetic engineering and pharmacology were chosen as courses to be offered in the future.
‘The classes made from suggestions will be introductory-level courses,’ Yee said. ‘This will enable students outside the biological sciences major to take a genetic engineering class.’
The broad topics for classes are broken down into three subtopics, so that one subclass can be taught every quarter. The SRFP also considers which schools would house the classes. Three classes are chosen from the top five choices.
After classes are selected, the next year is spent recruiting lecturers outside of UCI to teach these new classes. The SRFP places ads in journals advertising the available teaching positions and waits for responses from job applicants. Although the process may seem straightforward, Yee admits that it isn’t as easy.
‘This past year was a tough year,’ Yee said. ‘The turnout [of teachers applying for these jobs] was really poor.’
Besides faculty advisers, a student board helps decide which professors should teach the new classes.
The Department for Undergraduate Education sets aside enough funding for three new classes a year, although three classes do not necessarily have to be created every year.
‘If we only [add] two classes one year, it’s OK because maybe we’ll [add] four classes the next year,’ Yee said.
Such a high level of student involvement in course creation is not very widespread in other universities, according to Yee.
‘It is a really unique program,’ Yee said. ‘No other college has a similar program in which there is student involvement in choosing classes and professors.’
Some students like the idea of the program. First-year biological sciences student David Chang said, ‘I would be interested in taking classes regarding possible treatments for cancer.’
Lorena Rutanajuntra, a first-year undecided/undeclared major, liked the idea of being able to take courses outside her field of interest.
‘I’d like to take introductory classes in studio art because although I am not an arts major I’m interested in the subject,’ Rutanajuntra said.