Pending designation is still a pending issue for Kean students and faculty
By Christine Moukazis
Kean University’s administration is continuing to mark classes as pending, making certain courses not visable on KeanWise.
As previously reported in the September issue of The Tower, pending designations were partly to blame for the bevy of course cancellations that occurred at the start of the fall semester. This could potentially lead to more class cancellations, with the university’s current scheduling problems spilling into the following semester.
Last spring, the administration started labeling some classes for the fall semester as pending, for both full-time faculty and adjunct instructors. According to the Kean Federation of Teachers, which represents full-time faculty and professional staff, the idea behind a pending designation is that a course section that has been created and assigned to an instructor is removed from KeanWise, ultimately hiding its existence from students.
Apparently, once all other sections of that course are filled, the administration then posts the section to KeanWise for student enrollment.
The problem was that most pending courses were not listed in the system until mid-summer. Thus, the classes never came close to filling and were then cancelled right before the start of the fall term.
Students were left scrambling to fill their diminished schedules and some faculty members were assigned new course preparation.
Dr. Richard Katz, an English professor at Kean, was originally set to teach a class that had the normal 35-student cap, but after receiving a pending designation that was not lifted until late July, only two students registered for it. Consequently, that class was cancelled and Katz was assigned a course that he had never taught in his 30-plus years at Kean.
“The more noise made…the more likely to get this corrected to the benefit of not only our members of faculty and staff teaching, but also for students,” said Dr. James Castiglione, president of the Kean Federation of Teachers. “When a class that is designated pending is taken out of KeanWise, the students have no idea that they could be registering for this class at the time that they want with the faculty member they want. It’s hidden from them and that reduces the choices that they have.”
Patrick Ippolito, chairperson of the Faculty Senate, the principal agency for the formulation of Kean policy, has stated that the administration will no longer be using the pending designation for courses taught by full-time faculty. When the administration plans on enacting that policy is still unclear. Emails to Kean’s Media Relations office requesting comment on the pending designation were unreturned.
“We have made progress regarding scheduling through the Presidential Task Force established by President Farahi and his adoption of our recommendations,” Ippolito said. “We continue to play a role with the Task Force and other venues in working collectively to improve the scheduling process.”
Castiglione asserted that several faculty members have had their pending classes restored to KeanWise, but only after complaints were made by students.