Guest Post: New Registration Policies

This semester, the College of Liberal Arts changed the way that undergraduates register for classes.  There have been some questions on the new process and advisor Bill Klewein wrote a guest post explaining them:

Changes to the registration policies for the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts (and rationale for doing so)

There are several changes to the way in which students in the College will be registering effective Summer/Fall 2010.  There are several reasons for doing so, some system-related, some are more philosophical in nature.

One change that is occurring in the system is the introduction of an automated waitlist.  This means that when a student is waitlisted for a class and a seat becomes available, the system will send a message automatically to the student giving them a 72-hour window for only that student to register.  Since there are numerous break periods and long weekends where that 72-hour window could come and go without our offices being open, we needed to make sure that all of our students were able to make changes to their schedule via DORI, even populations who had not been able to do so previously, like those with fewer than 30 credits earned.

The other reason for doing so is more philosophical, as advisors, we want to make our interactions with our students as personal and productive as possible.  While we would normally meet with more than half of our students to actually register them for classes, a good portion of these meetings were spent searching for open sections, doing data entry, each taking away from the face-to-face time with the student.

So the issue then becomes one of accommodating both our desire to make that advisement appointment more a chance to actively engage with our students instead of peering into a computer monitor and to make sure that all of our students have access to make changes to their schedule via the web – all while ensuring that students are remaining on track with their academic programs.

The solution that we, as a group, came to (with Dean Duncan’s and Associate Dean Stoddard’s input and advice) was to encourage students to make a pre-registration plan and submit it via a web-based form to begin the discussion during registration appointment.  With advisors approving courses or requirements, and often, more than students would likely take, it is hoped that students will have more freedom to generate a schedule that is to their liking, and to make changes to the schedule if need be, all while feeling confident that their schedule is getting them closer to graduation – without having to schedule another registration appointment.  We also started seeing students well in advance of the first day that they were eligible to register, so that instead of a few people getting the benefit of having that “first” registration appointment when they are eligible to register, that many more can have the best chance at getting the classes that they want.

The problem is in making sure that we see all students, and as many before they are eligible to register, we have to put registration holds on students’ accounts until they have met with their advisor and made a registration plan.  This hold does not prevent anything except registration.   Once students have met with their advisor, their advisor will lift the hold and students can register the first day that they are eligible.  When we open up DORI so that all students can register, we still have an obligation to make sure that our students are taking courses that make sense for their academic program, so it didn’t seem that there was another way to serve as many students as possible and still allow students the freedom to make their own schedule.

Thanks, Bill!

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