Otterbein University recently changed their registration process from year long to semester by semester.
T&C Media talked to Registrar David Schneider about the implementations of this change, why it happened and the possibility of returning to the previous model.
Schneider explained that one of the reasons behind the change was to promote more interaction between advisors and students.
“What we had in the prior model is students would basically only talk to their advisors once a year when they were prepping the schedule for that following year,” said Schneider. “So we were hoping to increase the frequency in which students contact their advisors.”
Schneider said those involved with the decision found that the previous model “didn't really promote student engagement in the registration process.” He said seniors would come into the Office of the Registrar for help because they did not know how to register for classes or know what classes they needed to graduate. He wanted students to have more experience scheduling their classes.
Otterbein was one of few Universities in Ohio that did year long registration. Institutions such as Capital University, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Ohio Dominican University, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, and the University of Dayton were already following the semester by semester model. Schneider said Otterbein was behind in the change.
Kate Lehman, assistant dean for student success, said that she is on the academic hearing board. The board would hear cases where a student who had left Otterbein would try to appeal a balance owed or failing grade they received because they had forgot to withdraw from classes they had registered for in advance for the spring semester.
“We would see cases where someone would have gone to buy a car and then find out that they were in collection due to this 15,000 dollar balance to Otterbein for courses they never took,” said Lehman.
Lehman said the new system of registering semester by semester would only help since students who would decide to leave Otterbein would only have to remember to withdraw from the current semester.
A major issue that arises with the semester by semester registration is students are concerned of offerings of upper level courses needed to graduate that are not always available every term.
This is especially significant for seniors scheduling their DYAD courses who now won’t be able to see when those classes will be available in the spring.
Schneider said that he may be implementing a “view-only” system so students can view classes available during the next semester without being able to register.
The view-only system would go into effect for the 2018-2019 fall semester.
Students and faculty may be wondering if there is a possibility of registration going back to year long. Schneider said he does not foresee that happening.
“I'd like to give this time to settle in,” said Schneider. “ I don't think it's fair to undo that before we even see it all the way through yet.”
He said Otterbein is starting to see the benefits such as registration at orientation being quicker and easier and students engaging with their advisors again for spring registration.