History department changes course numbering system

After 15 years of waiting, the history department has recently decided to use a new numbering system for history courses. This change is due to the fact that the University’s course catalog system will not allow a course number to be reused even if the number was first used decades ago.   

Professors who have routinely taught the same course number will have to adjust to the new numbers. This system will hopefully be more clear for incoming and future students.

History department Chair Kathryn Brammall said about 15 years ago the department started to run out of numbers in the 300 range and started using numbers in the 400 range. This resulted in no rationale behind which courses were in the 300 range and which were in the 400 range, which confused students and professors.  

Though the first proposal to change the numbering system was submitted 15 years ago, Brammall did not see a change coming any time soon, until a few years ago when there was an issue with JINS course numbers.

“We had more and more JINS classes that were being offered and they ran out of numbers,” Brammall said. “Instead of going to the 400 level, they started using four digits. So we now have 3000 level JINS courses.”

Knowing that 4-digit course numbers were possible in the University catalog, Brammall started switching the history course numbers to a four-digit system. She began by mapping out all of the history courses and deleting ones that were no longer offered.

Despite the 200, 300 and 400 level courses being shifted to 2000, 3000 and 4000, respectively, the registrar opted to keep graduate courses at the 600 level. This may have been due to limitations in the catalog software system.

Though this change will help make the distinction between different course levels more clear, there might be a bit of an adjustment period for both professors and current students, Brammall said.

“For students who come in, the more rational listing of courses will actually be very beneficial for them and they’ll come in with the four-digit system, so over the course of their careers, that’s all they will have,” Brammall said.