The time to register for spring courses is upon us, and UNC has rolled out a new registration process for students. Enrollment times — now based on credit hours — are over the course of four weeks, in which students can first register for up to 12 hours before registering for up to 17 during their second enrollment appointment.
Changes to course registration sound promising on paper, but UNC’s failure to implement meaningful and systematic changes to how students enroll in courses leaves many confused and without the credits they need for the spring.
Computer science is an example of a major that bears the brunt of these issues. In a message to students, the department recognized that many were unable to register for the courses they need to complete their degree requirements.
“While I can’t make any promises, please do know that we are trying to do our best to manage the resources we do have and, wherever possible, find ways to address the needs of students on the cusp of running out of time to complete the degree requirements for the major,” Ketan Mayer-Patel, an associate professor of computer science, wrote to the department’s email list.
In the email, the department also included a survey of unmet needs to account for students who were unable to sign up for the introductory computer science sequence. While the department can't make any promises, it has extended a hand to help students in frustrating situations as a result of enrollment flaws. Mayer-Patel said the computer science department adopted a preregistration process.
However, this responsibility should fall on the Registrar’s Office — not on individual departments.
Last year, the computer science department attempted to set up an admissions process to alleviate the issues associated with a lack of faculty and available seats in required courses.
Mayer-Patel said he expects the admissions process to be implemented for next fall, and he said the process allow individuals to enroll in the first course of the major, and then an application will be required — similar to the business school.
"At least this way, most people can explore computer science through the first course, and allows for an early indication of whether or not you can complete the coursework. This gives you an option to find a plan B, another major that interests you or another institution," Mayer-Patel said. "It's obviously better than letting a registration time decide for you — possibly too late."