Last Wednesday, more than 60 students filed into Philomathesian Hall for IPHS 323, “Dante’s Divine Comedy,” to find a note on the chalkboard informing them there would be a get-well card for Professor of Humanities Tim Shutt, the professor who had planned to teach the course, in the room on Friday.
“Somebody said something about a substitute, so we all waited 15 [to] 20 minutes and no one showed up,” Brianna Levesque ’17, who had been registered for the class, said. “Later is when we got the email that it was actually going to be canceled.”
Students were informed on Monday that only the first class was canceled. On Thursday, Provost Joe Klesner emailed the class that Shutt had suffered “a serious injury” and would be unable to teach the course this semester; it would be canceled. Klesner’s email on the cancellation included a link to the Registrar’s list of special-topic courses, as many of them had open seats. With more than 60 students now displaced, the Registrar has been helping students find new classes.
“Not until Tuesday did we learn that he might not be able to do the course for several days,” Klesner wrote in an email to the Collegian, adding that the College considered finding alternative instructors. “By Thursday morning it was clear to us that Professor Shutt could not do the course this semester and that we could not identify an alternative instructor.”
Dean for Academic Advising and Support Hoi Ning Ngai indicated that Klesner also reached out to faculty to inform them of a possible increase in students going to their offices. “Students have also reached out to their advisors and to me for additional guidance,” Ngai said. “If you’re a senior, the issue is quite pressing.”
While many students are scrambling to find classes, others have settled on taking only three classes. Students may take 3.5 units their senior year if they can still meet the 16 units required to graduate. Levesque chose not to add an additional class.
Julia McKay ’17 also did not add an additional class upon learning the Dante class was canceled. “I did go shopping a little bit to see if I wanted to have another class, but I decided not to,” McKay said. “But I do know people who had to struggle to get other classes.”
She lamented that students were only notified on Thursday about the cancellation. “They weren’t super communicative until the end of the week — which was a little frustrating — but I sort of understand, knowing the circumstances,” McKay added.
To alleviate stress, the drop/add deadline for students in Shutt’s class was changed from Tuesday to tomorrow. “When a course is canceled after the beginning of the semester, we always give students more time to make adjustments to their schedule before charging the late fee — in this case, three additional days,” Registrar Ellen Harbourt wrote in an email to the Collegian.
On Tuesday, Klesner emailed the information about the delayed drop/add deadline to students in the class.
Although many students needed to find new classes, Klesner was unaware of any IPHS concentrators that could not complete their requirements due to the cancellation of the Dante course.