With the number of impacted majors proposed to nearly double in Fall 2014, a team of Xpress writers took the time to analyze the beginnings of impaction.
Impaction happens when the number of students in a given major exceeds the resources the University can provide to serve those students. If the proposals become a reality, the number of impacted majors at SF State will jump from 10 to 19.
Anyone in these possibly-soon-to-be-impacted majors knows the pain of overcrowding firsthand.
Kinesiology students clamor for space in the core prerequisites required to get into their upper division classes. Unlucky biology students sit patiently at the end of lengthy wait-lists, hoping someone will drop the class.
Impaction is a result of serious systemic problems, namely the precipitous drop in state funds to the California State University system.
But why aren’t all majors impacted then? What makes so many students flock to certain majors?
The answer is more obvious than you might think: career opportunities. Majors like biology and business have several concentrations (and concentrations of future jobs) beneath them which share core classes such as nursing and kinesiology, accounting and marketing.
This gives us all the ingredients necessary for an overcrowded major: ample career opportunities, several concentrations under a major and shared core classes.
Knowing this, SF State should be well-prepared for which majors will be impacted by simple analysis of the job market, and trends of widening fields. As class content follows the evolving nature of the field, so should the way our University anticipates future enrollment.
By analyzing job trends, our University can proactively prevent impaction, prolonged graduations, and overcrowding high demand classes. More resources can be allotted to majors where enrollment is likely to spike because of job opportunities.
Impaction benefits current students in impacted majors by shortening graduation times and granting easier access to required classes. The flip side of that though, is that impaction negatively causes those majors to be less accessible to undeclaredand incoming students.
This fact is particularly troubling if you consider that the University will be potentially shutting out future students from burgeoning career paths. If a certain field is blowing up, it doesn’t make much sense to limit the number of students allowed in that major.
The University’s current reactionary policy of remedying crowded majors by declaring impaction may help current students who are trying to make their way through, but it falls far short of serving the needs of future students.
It is incumbent on the administration to do their due diligence and proactively research the changing job market so that resources can be shifted where they are needed.
Students should be able to study their passions and fields that will grant them successful careers, without having to worry about accessible education and the day they’ll finally start their career.