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New course registration system underway

April 12, 2024

Editor’s Note April 14, 2024, at 2:10 p.m.: An earlier version reported that the model of course registration starting for the fall of 2025 will operate through the current algorithmic model and the new first-come, first-serve by class year model at the same time. Only the latter will be used starting for the fall of 2025, which has been clarified.

Last Friday, the faculty gathered for their monthly meeting in Mills Hall to discuss the transition to a new first-come, first-serve class registration system through Workday and receive updates on other College initiatives and policy changes.

Associate Dean for Curriculum Dallas Denery detailed how the Workday transition will usher in a whole new class registration system starting in the spring of 2025.

When registering in spring 2025 for fall 2025 classes, students will not register all at the same time, with courses allocated to students via an algorithm based on a set of course preferences, such as class year or majoring or minoring in the department. Instead, students will register first-come, first-serve in groups based on a class year. Following the registration of a small cohort of students with accommodations, all seniors will register as a group, followed by juniors, then sophomores and finally first years.

If a course is full at the time a student registers, they can manually add themselves to the waitlist. After this initial registration period, course registration will close for a week and professors will have the opportunity to reorder their waitlists based on a set of criteria that is still being determined by the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs.

After that week, the current plan is to open an add-drop period and for it to remain open through the first week of classes, during which students can add or drop classes without instructor permission. During this time, if a spot opens up for a course, the next student on the waitlist will receive an email and have 24 hours to accept the spot.

In the week following the end of add-drop, students will have a final opportunity to add classes, but must obtain instructor permission to do so.

Many faculty asked questions about special cases, such as introductory courses that should have an underclassmen preference. Denery explained that the system would be designed to accommodate the needs of each course and that manual tools would be available to resolve exceptions, like reserving seats.

Associate Professor of Sociology Ingrid Nelson raised the concern that this change in registration is not widely known by the student body and that students should be informed of the changes soon in case they need to change their plans. She noted that many students currently “game the system” by relying on shut-out preferences or preferences for seniors in certain classes to complete degree requirements later on.

Denery agreed that the students might have to change their strategy in course registration after this current preferencing model is phased out.

“There is no more preferencing and you don’t get shut-out preferences anymore. So yes, it’s very important [to notify students] and … think of some advice,” Denery said. “Those sorts of ‘gaming the systems’ are impossible in this [new] system.”

Denery reported that the current plan is to formally communicate the finalized registration system to students and faculty around registration time in the fall of 2024 so they may plan accordingly. He encouraged professors to reach out to him with any feedback or questions about the new system.

“The goal here is to make sure we get the right students in the right classes … and there will probably be some problems for the first time or two through. So we’re going to listen; we’re going to try to adapt as we go ahead to make it work,” Denery said.

In other policy changes, Jennifer Scanlon, Senior Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, announced that the fall grading deadline for professors would be moved up to January 2 from this year’s deadline of January 8. Scanlon explained that the current deadline leaves too little time before classes begin for the Registrar’s Office to determine Satisfactory Academic Progress, which impacts whether students can return the following semester.

The next faculty meeting will take place on May 3 in Mills Hall.


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