Board calls for clarity from Univ. about registration week
This week, course registration for the upcoming fall 2022 semester began, and this board would like to bring attention to the University’s lack of communication regarding certain aspects of the registration process. While many rising juniors and seniors have gone through the registration process in the past, there is still confusion amongst them, as well as rising sophomores. To counteract these issues, this board calls for the University to explain in greater detail how the registration system works and to be more proactive in solving the problems that arise during registration week.
Course registration for current students takes place in rounds. There are three rounds during registration before it opens back up later in the summer, each with separate credit limits that restrict the number of courses students can sign up for during each round.
On April 21, an email listing the times of each round was sent to students, but aspects of the email were unclear. Sophomores and juniors are grouped together, as are first years and seniors, for each round of registration, but the email did not specify whether these terms referred to current students or what year students will be this upcoming semester.
This issue was exacerbated by Workday, where some students were classified as the incorrect class year, including multiple members of this board. For example, some current first years were classified as sophomores and had to register at the times listed for sophomores and juniors.
Additionally, some current juniors were unable to register for any classes, as Workday had them listed as graduating seniors. We understand that this confusion in the system is affected by the number of credits students have earned, but we ask that the University inform students of this possibility before registration begins, rather than force students to reach out to the University when they are unable to register. The University should find a way to sidestep the problem so that students are able to take the courses they need or want to.
Furthermore, there was no explanation in the April 21 email about the credit limits for each round. Round 1 of registration has a limit of 6 credits, meaning that students can sign up for a maximum of one full class worth 4 credits and one half class worth 2 credits; round 2 has a limit of 12 credits; and round 3 has a limit of 22.
The email does not explain whether, for round 2 or 3, students are able to sign up for 12 new credits or if they are only able to register for a total of 12 credits in addition to their round 1 credits. Students that do not know the answer may have to rearrange their plans when they go to register and find that they are unable to register for as many courses as they expected, which can cause further stress as some classes may fill up before students are able to register. This board calls on the University to better communicate to students how the registration process works regardless of year so as to make the process as smooth for students as possible.
This board also questions the University’s decision to transition from Sage to Workday for all academic matters. In an April 2021 email to the University, Carol Fierke, provost and EVP for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, EVP for Finance and Administration, and Jim La Creta, chief information officer, stated that the transition would put Brandeis at the “forefront of innovation by providing the community access at any time and from anywhere to manage your student tasks.”
From the start, however, the transition has been plagued by difficulties and frustrations. Workday’s layout, although more aesthetically pleasing, is complicated and inconvenient, requiring students to click on a ridiculous amount of tabs before getting the output they desire. While the University has made an effort to aid students and faculty in the transition by providing support in the form of informational videos, this has not been sufficient to quench the stress and exasperation felt by both groups, particularly as the interface seen in these videos does not often match the interface students see in front of them.
On top of the stress brought on by class registration, many rising juniors and seniors had to worry about housing selection between April 26 and 28.
Having both of these events in the same week created an unnecessary amount of anxiety for students, particularly upperclassmen. Not to mention, all of this took place the week after Passover break, which also happened to be the last full week of classes, and many students had final presentations, projects, tests, and numerous other assignments due.
This board calls on the appropriate University departments to communicate and coordinate to ensure that important events do not overlap with one another. More importantly, we ask these departments to select dates for these events that do not coincide with particularly busy and stressful times for students. As the end of the semester approaches, we would like to congratulate all students for completing another academic year under less than ideal circumstances. We wish you all the best of luck during finals week and a restful summer break.
—Editor’s note: Editor Cameron Cushing ’23 is a Community Advisor. He did not contribute to or edit this article.