Faculty Senate concerned about new student course planner

By Katherine Savage, News Editor

Steven Nunez
Faculty Senate President Sean Johnson Andrews discusses academic and faculty affairs at the first Faculty Senate meeting of the school year Aug. 23.

During the first Faculty Senate meeting of the Fall 2019 semester, the senate voiced concern over a new student academic planner planned for Fall 2020.

The academic planner, uAchieve, is a tool for students to use to plan out their schedule before they register for classes.

In provost Marcella David’s first collegewide address, she emphasized making course registration easier for students as one of her priorities, as reported Aug. 19 by The Chronicle.

However, the new software will not allow students to plan classes if the course has a corequisite, said Faculty Senate President Sean Johnson Andrews. A corequisite is two classes that must be taken either before or in the same semester.

Several faculty senators were concerned about the new system and the possibility of having to change curriculum to accommodate uAchieve.

“We bought a system that doesn’t do what we need it to do,” said Patricia McNair, an associate professor in the English and Creative Writing Department. “Instead, we’re going to change our programs to meet the systems, as opposed to the system meeting the program.”

Registrar Keri Walters said she is confident administrators could come up with a solution that does not involve changing the curriculum.

“We have some other tools available to us in our systems that might prove to be a workable solution to eliminating the corequisite model,” Walters said. “We need to discover that together, before we come to a decision, that it’s going to be really changing the essence of the curriculum. It’s possible this solution won’t do that.”

Currently, less than 5% of Columbia’s curriculum requires a corequisite. Programs that require a corequisite include English and Creative Writing and American Sign Language Departments, among others.