Students, U officials divided on freshman full-year registration

by Justin Ware

The University’s four-year graduation rates have officials looking for strategies to help students get through required programs efficiently.

The Council of Undergraduate Deans formed a subcommittee last summer to consider allowing incoming freshmen to register for an entire year’s classes at once. Currently, freshmen register for one semester at a time.

“Full-year registration is primarily for a very small number of classes,” said Dick Skaggs, chairman of the undergraduate deans. He also said it is likely the option would only apply to freshmen.

Supporters of the plan said they hope it will ease the journey through academic requirements.

“I could see it being a good thing if you get the classes you want for the whole year,” said College of Liberal Arts freshman Katie Kusnierek.

Kusnierek said registering for a full year wouldn’t make everyone happy. She registered later than most freshmen and as a result did not get the classes she wanted.

Enrolling at a different time for spring courses, rather than doing it all at once, will give Kusnierek the opportunity to get into some of the courses she needs but couldn’t get this semester.

Some students worry the full-year option would hurt their freedom to change program and major plans.

“It doesn’t make much sense for someone who doesn’t know what they want to go into,” said Andrew Eldred, a freshman majoring in architecture.

“I’m most likely going to change my mind,” Eldred said, “(Full-year registration) might be a hassle.”

Advocates of the plan said it also has advantages for course planners.

“The administrative advantage of the system is that it permits you to identify areas that need additional seats earlier, while department chairs still have some time to recruit people to teach them,” said Barbara Steidle, assistant provost at Michigan State University in a written recommendation to the subcommittee.

While many smaller schools already use full-year registration, Michigan State is one of the few institutions similar in size to the University that allows it.

“Using a small school for a model for (the University) doesn’t work,” said Tina Falkner, assistant to the Office of the Registrar. “The way they do business is so much smaller.”

Falkner and Skaggs both said the idea is still in the early stages of planning and nowhere near ready for implementation.

“As far as making progress for putting things in place, nothing has happened,” Falkner said.

She said the first step will be receiving an endorsement from the undergraduate deans when the subcommittee gives a formal presentation of the program in November.

“It’s really in the preliminary stages,” Falkner said, “Hopefully we’ll have something more to talk about in November or December.”


Justin Ware covers staff, faculty and
administration and welcomes comments at [email protected]