Friday, April 06, 2007

Heaven and Hell: Registration Edition

One of the worst parts of my semester comes during registration. As a faculty member, it means all of the typical "can I get into your class" requests. In our neck of the woods, all of those go straight to our department head, who manages them (and so her life sucks way harder than mine). But the students either don't know or don't care about this particular system, and so all of us get inundated anyway. I need a macro that says "Dear X--thank you for your interest. In this department, all such requests go through the chair. Please contact Dr. Y." I've sent about 35 of these this week.

In addition to that, however,I also get requests pertaining to my little Academic Unit. I use the word "request" lightly here, as it has to encompass everything from the "please can I add this" to "I demand that you sign me in." There are far more of the former, but on occasion, the "no's" given to the former snowball into the latter. The "requests" that come with reference the ACUN also come from all over campus: students, faculty advisors, administrators, the registrar, etc. Many of them have the smell of desperation. Example: "I misadvised a student and now she's can't graduate on time; can't you just let her into this course, even though it's full?" Or, "can you count this course toward my [nation x] requirement, even though it's a course about [nation y]?" Or my favorite of the week: "I don't know how you expect me, a student you don't know from Adam, who's a major in a different department, to graduate, when I need this class (untrue) because I play soccer and all other courses conflict with that!!"

The only thing stopping me from stealing a weapon and going on a shooting spree is--wait for it--the students in my class this semester. About half of them had planned to take my fall course, which filled in the first day of registration; some of them are in, and the others are plaguing the department head with requests to get signed in. I know that there are all kinds of mitigating factors that should deflate my ego about this: the students know me, and so it's easy to want to continue on into the next class; they really like working with each other; I teach a bunch of contemporary stuff, which is an easy sell; etc., etc. But for a moment, I'm going to bask in the glow.

And as a final note of happiness and "here's why I'm not going postal...yet....", we may indeed be reaching critical mass in my department, in which the faculty who see good things in their students and enjoy teaching them are beginning to outnumber those who have none of the criteria above. So the students? Less beaten down, more excited about reading/ writing/thinking, less afraid to speak their minds. Love that.

And I'm not checking my email until after the easter egg hunt.

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Blogger Nels said...

I can understand the problems of all this, but I'm thinking how great it is to have full classes! Our program is getting bigger, so it'll happen. But right now we have no need to turn anyone away.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

We were in the same position two years ago, Nels, and every semester was a nail-biter. You'll get classes full-to-the-brim before you know it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 12, 2007 11:08:00 AM  

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