Last week’s question:
Would you prefer that Columbia give students the option of registering over the phone or on the Internet, or do you prefer that Columbia stick with its face-to-face method of registering students?
What you said:
I’m an administrative staff person. Is my opinion worth two cents? It seems to me that early registration, which takes place in the department selected by the students to be their major, would be a welcome way to meet face to face with an advisor, by appointment, to design an appropriate schedule. Unfortunately, new and transfer students, and those who didn’t take advantage of early reg, still need to walk the line at registration time. Yes, registration by telephone would be more convenient, but it’s not necessarily in the student’s best interest to design her/his own curriculum. With phone reg, students would probably grab up all the “sexy” courses (ie, Film Tech I or The Philosophy of Love) and ignore those good old basics, like English Comp and Algebra. Advisors try to broaden horizons. It was my experience with phone registration at University of North Texas that I sat on hold for a long time waiting for “the next available operator.” It was the two weeks afterwards of waiting for the hard copy confirmation by mail that created stress, and I still ended up needing to go to some kind of course revision pit arena line-up because of some computer glitch that put 50 people in a 25 person class. Believe me, the administration revisits the registration issue regularly and would be extremely grateful for some brilliant idea on making it a faster, less painful experience. You got any?
Susan Babyk, Assistant to the Provost & Executive Vice President
First off, thank you for a good article which brings up a good subject. I am a film/video student who has been attending Columbia for a few years now. The obvious question is who would NOT want to be able to register by phone?! When I tell others of Columbia, the registration system is one of the biggest NEGATIVES! Besides all the good points brought up in the article as to why the current system is a bummer, what about people who commute far to get downtown? The hassle of having to travel downtown to stand in a stairwell for a long time and then find out that the class you want is full or that you have to hike building to building just to complete the registration process should be an embarrassment to the school. I simply cannot believe they stated that there is little demand for an automated system. I think we all know the reason for that statement though. Keep up the good articles!
This Week’s Question:
A couple of articles in this week’s issue of The Chronicle have addressed the concern that faculty and staff workers at Columbia do not listen to or strive to inform the students they serve. What is your opinion, and what has your experience been? Does the service here need improvement, or are students expecting too much? What, if anything, can be done to improve service to students at Columbia?