Column: Course registration remains a frustrating process for UNC students

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The time to register for spring courses has arrived and UNC has implemented a new registration process for students. Enrollment times – now based on credit hours – are spread over four weeks, during which students can first enroll up to 12 hours before enrolling until 5 p.m. second registration appointment.

The changes to course registration look promising on paper, but UNC’s failure to implement significant and systematic changes in the way students register for courses leaves many people confused and unsuccessful. the credits they need for the spring.

Computer science is an example of a major that suffers the full brunt of these problems. In a message to students, the department acknowledged that many were unable to enroll in the courses they need to complete their studies.

“While I can’t make any promises, please know that we are trying our best to manage the resources we have and, where possible, find ways to meet the needs of students who are on the verge of time running out. to fulfill the degree requirements for the major, ”Ketan Mayer-Patel, associate professor of computer science, wrote to the department’s mailing list.

In the email, the department also included an unmet need survey to account for students who were unable to register for the introductory computer science sequence. While the department couldn’t make any promises, it did reach out to help students in frustrating situations due to enrollment failures. Mayer-Patel said the IT department has adopted a pre-registration process.

However, this responsibility should lie with the Registrar’s office, and not with individual departments.

Last year, the computer science department attempted to put in place an admissions process to alleviate issues related to the lack of faculty and places available in compulsory courses.

Mayer-Patel said he expects the admissions process to be implemented by next fall, and he said the process allows individuals to register for the first course in the major, then an application will be required – similar to business school.

“At least this way, most people can explore computer science through the first class, and get an early indication of whether or not you can complete the class. This gives you the ability to find a plan B, another major that interests you or another institution, “said Mayer-Patel.” It’s obviously better than letting a registration time decide for you – maybe too late. “

But many people have raised questions about the fairness of the admissions process for students with diverse backgrounds who may not have programming experience.

Kevin Jeffay, who chairs the department, said UNC doesn’t pay attention to teachers leaving school. He said 11 tenure-track faculty have left the university in the past five years, with more expected to leave in the future.

“Due to the lack of growth at UNC and the fact that virtually all of the peer institutions (IT) have experienced dramatic growth or growth, faculty are moving to greener pastures,” he said.

A lack of professors leads to limited availability of courses, not only in computer science, but also in other departments of the University. This has not gone unnoticed by the students who fill out their registration baskets.

University vice-president and registrar Lauren DiGrazia said the registrar’s office recognizes this problem.

“The campus, particularly the College of Arts and Sciences, continues to examine the availability of high demand courses and how to meet the need for additional places in the majors and very popular classes,” she said. declared.

The new registration schedule was implemented with ease, added DiGrazia.

With the registration season coming to an end, it is clear that evaluating high demand courses was not a priority.

In order to further address these glaring enrollment issues, UNC needs to focus on faculty retention as much as faculty assignment. The growth of the department is not sustainable if professors feel that their work is more meaningful in other institutions.

Finally, the University must improve ConnectCarolina and the online processes by which we register for courses to make them more intuitive and with less technological margin for error. ConnectCarolina’s outdated infrastructure remains a hindrance, especially for freshmen who are unfamiliar with the process.

Finding courses, navigating course details, adding courses to your cart, and accessing registration times are all multi-step processes that students must go through with limited guidance. Enrollment shouldn’t be something students dread – the process needs to be streamlined and made more accessible to the student body.

Until these changes are made, enrollment will continue to be frustrating for students.

@rajeeganesan | @caitlyn_yaede

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