The UCI registrar reports that the new add/drop policy and system overhaul was implemented successfully this quarter.
The new add/drop system streamlines university-wide add/drop deadlines for undergraduate students. Prior to this quarter, academic schools have had different add/drop deadlines, ranging from the 1st to the 10th week. Elizabeth Bennett stated that this made it difficult for students to know which deadlines to follow when taking classes outside their own school.
The system operates completely online with no paper add/drop cards. All adds are done on WebReg from week 1 to the end of week 3, and all drops are done online from week 1 to the end of week 2. Any request for an exception to these deadlines must be submitted via Student Access.
The exception procedure includes a comment system that allows students to make a note about their request that can be read by all levels of reviewers. Deans and/or counselors can also make comments back to students that explain approval or denial of requesting an in-person meeting. The comment system leaves an electronic thread of action taken by the different levels of authority.
Although for some students this change signals stricter deadlines and less flexibility in altering schedules throughout the quarter, the UCI registrar claims the gained class availability and advising opportunities outweigh any negative impacts.
“Students don’t have to walk all over campus, everyone can see the progress on student requests and departments know exactly how many students are requesting a class, something we didn’t know with paper add cards,” Registrar Elizabeth Bennett said about the increased administrative organization and student convenience of the system going online.
In making exceptions for impacted courses, the department will take a holistic consideration of students on the waitlist, not only looking at their place in line, but also their major and closeness to graduation. Departments will also look to see if students were previously on waitlists for the class in an effort to gauge their long-term interest in the course. Some departments may also look at students taking the course multiple times and may advise students in that case to take the course in the summer for better chances of success.
“If only two or three seats are available, it’s easier to decide who is awarded that seat,” Bennett said. “We don’t want students to drop a class for their major, and we don’t want them to casually drop an impacted class. This gives us more opportunities to advise students.”
The major overhaul had been developing since 2009, and a topic of discussion many years prior.
Individual faculty members can make special deadlines for highly impacted classes if needed. Special deadlines exist for some biology classes where students cannot drop after a couple days because of a high demand for the course, with some English writing classes operating similarly. Departments must broadcast any exceptional add/drop deadlines for classes explicitly in the syllabus.
The UCI registrar stated that at some point, WebReg may also be overhauled to the exception enrollment system.
Success of the system has resulted in greatly reducing registrar lines in Aldrich Hall. “Lines that were here for cashiers have disappeared,” Bennett said. “Last year on some busy days, lines would go into Aldrich Park, and now there is no one in the lobby at all. Now we take different kinds of traffic.”
The UCI registrar reports the system has received largely positive feedback from students and faculty. Although some minute changes to the system will be made, those will be minor layout changes on the administrative side of the system.
“It’s been amazingly smooth,” Bennett said of the transition to the new system. “Irvine students are very thoughtful, very smart, usually very good about starting a new system.”