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The Blue & Gray Press | September 26, 2017

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Some Find Registration a Headache

Ashley Reams graduated from UMW last May, one year later than she had planned. According to Reams, she was unable to graduate with her class due to course registration problems.

“I knew it would be close to graduate, but not being able to get into seminar classes made me miss the deadline,” Reams said.

“I am not able to comment on this as I don’t know the situation and have all the details,” Registrar Rita Dunston said in an e-mail.

Along with Reams’ problems, other registration issues can and often do arise. They range from the Eaglelink site going down to classes being filled quickly.

Some students constantly check Eaglelink during registration, making sure the classes they want have not already been taken by other students with earlier registration times.

“I usually end up registering for whatever is available and interests me because courses I actually need are full by the time I am able to register,” sophomore Gabriella Pastor said.

Professors are aware of the issues associated with graduating on time and meeting course requirements.

“The administration is more concerned with making sure that each student can accomplish 15 hours a semester, preferably in her or his areas of interest but not necessarily,” Margaret Huber, distinguished professor of sociology and anthropology, said.

“It’s hard to make an ideal match between what students want to take and what the institution is able to offer,” Jay Harper, the university provost, said.

“When your budget is being cut, it has lots of impacts and ramifications,” he said. “In many cases, a student may  have to wait an extra semester, but they’re still getting courses that apply to their graduation and major requirements.”

The University has recently decided to give departments the opportunity to establish minors.

“If there were minor programs in place, my transcript would be much more impressive when applying for jobs, since I completed some majors partially,” Reams said.

So far, the only academic minor to be approved is chemistry. Individual departments are responsible for deciding if they wish to submit minor programs for approval in the future, according to the UMW Academic Affairs Web site.

Emily Bettendorf, a recent graduate of Christopher Newport University, is pleased with the minor program that is in place there.

“I started off as a religion major, but switched to psychology,” Bettendorf said. “I was able to show I had a minor when applying for jobs since I had already done the work.”

Harper commented that several departments have submitted proposals for minor programs that are expected to be approved by the end of the academic year.

Huber thinks that more faculty would be helpful, but is unsure where the university would accommodate them.

“You need to… consider here the fact that our classrooms are only so large and there are only so many of them, and likewise only so many offices [for professors],” Huber said.

Some students feel the general education requirements were not explained well enough before class registration.

“I wish that it was explained during freshman orientation about how to use a degree evaluation on Eaglelink,” Pastor said. “It would have saved me a lot of headaches.”

The portion of the  Eaglelink Web site that provides specific class requirements for majors also allows students to register for classes.

Dunston is not sure how different the experience will be for students after the switch to the new EagleNet Web site occurs.

“The new EagleNet Web site will have more abilities and provide a depper user experience, but the Eaglelink portal used for registering classes will remain the same,” Dunston said.

The opportunity for Reams to walk with her original graduating class, however,  has passed.

“Staying on top of graduation requirements is the biggest piece of advice I have to give to anyone trying to register for classes,” Reams advised.

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