Registration changes seek to increase fairness

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March 29, 2011

12:23 AM

By the middle of registration week, students are beginning to feel the pressure. Registering for classes can be a stressful process with students trying to create the perfect schedule complete with GER requirements and major classes. In an attempt to make the process easier, the administration instituted some changes to this spring’s registration process.

The few changes made were added in an effort to make the registration process as fair as possible. Each social class will now only have 24 hours to register for classes.

“The goal is for that first week to give people across the board a fair shot, not advantage or disadvantage anyone but also to let the departments get a more accurate understanding of what seats are needed,” Office of the of University Registrar employee Sara Marchello said.

By allowing students to register only during a 24-hour window, departments hope to have a better understanding of class demand.

“Departments are using data to gauge how many seats to offer,” Marchello said. “That will probably be transparent to the students but we are trying to have the right number of seats be available to students each day.”

The change is also meant to increase fairness among social classes so that students now only compete with members of their own class during the registration period.
Some students are concerned that this change won’t allow them to change their schedules during the first registration period.

“I don’t like it,” Danny Greene ’12 said. “There is no room to change your mind. I guess they are trying to prevent us from holding spots, but I feel like that has always been a part of registration.”

Courtnie Gore ’12 agreed, stating the benefits of registering early from were being taken away from upperclassmen.

“It takes away incentive of registering early,” Gore said. “One of the privileges of being an upperclassman is being able to have your schedule together to graduate on time before the underclassmen. Now you are locked into whatever schedule you have.”

Other students felt the change would create a more fair process overall.

“I think it is pretty fair. Students should look at their registration time slot ahead of time anyway and know exactly what they have to do,” Annie Kim ’13 said. “It will make the process much more efficient.”

In addition, classes will now be restricted to students declared in that major for the entire week, not just the junior and senior days of registration. This change was implemented in response to complaints from sophomores unable to register for their major classes.

“Department chairs were pointing out to us that increasing numbers of sophomores were declaring their majors,” Marchello said. “They wanted to leave those restrictions on for the whole week.”

Both of these changes were implemented as a result of student feedback at the end of the fall semester. When deciding how to change the process, the registrar took into account feedback from both an open forum and a student survey.

“Because attendance was a little light at the forum, we did a survey so people could respond to the survey at a convenient time for them,” Marchello said. “We didn’t even hear from 100 students, but the students who did respond wrote pages and pages of feedback.”

After registration, the administration will continue to monitor student feedback, and see if these changes helped or hurt the overall registration process.

“We will know a lot from the feedback that we get. I think the people who complained in the fall will let us know how they feel-if the process was as stressful,” Marchello said. “If the departments feel that they are able to manage the demand better, we will know that it is a success.”

These changes are intended to make the process more fair and manageable for faculty and students and to allow students to take all of the classes they want and need.

“At the end of the day everyone is full time,” Marchello said. “The vast majority of our students graduate in four years. That doesn’t mean that all of them are getting to take that dream class they really want. That’s when we want to make sure the registration process is as equitable as it can be.”

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