by Marion Givahn
With the start of the school year, there are new faces experiencing new changes. However, a change that affects all students and even professors is the modification made by the registar’s office. The office introduced changes to the course waitlisting system for the 2014-15 school year. Registering for classes now takes place on Banner, which lists student schedules and course waitlists. A student can be on a maximum of four waitlists, and an open seat will go to the student at the top of the waitlist if they claim it within twenty-four hours. According to the website for the Office of the University Registrar, waitlists are typically discontinued after the first week of classes.
In previous years, the college did not have an official system. Paul Wiley, the University Registrar, said, “An issue started to arise in the spring.” The College Standards Committee ran into about twenty-five cases of students thinking they had been admitted to a class they were not officially registered for. These students were also registered for another course that they were not attending. “This was caused by the unofficial system,” said Wiley.
According to him, before, some faculty had their own individual waitlists in the form of emails or a personal list, some had none at all, and none of it was formalized. The confusion this caused led to the idea that a school-wide system should “So far at the beginning of this year, everything’s been good,” said Wiley. He reports that students have been moving off waitlists and into classes, and 692 offers of open seats have been made. While it may have its benefits from an official standpoint, students have less favorable views.
“I understand its objective,” said Katie Snyder (C’17), “but it’s frustrating when you’re trying to choose classes and then buy textbooks.” Snyder bought all of her textbooks for a class, then received a notification that a spot had opened up in a different class. “Very frustrating,” she repeated. Wiley also said that the office is looking for areas where there is unmet demand, such as introductory biology, forestry, economics, and psychology. Wiley suggested that they might have to think about moving faculty, opening up more seats, or including more classes within the course. “It’s a change in culture,” Wiley said, “and we’ll assess it in time. Right now, it’s working well.”