By Liam Bouquet and Lauren Foote
In an attempt to streamline the registration process, Youngstown State University has added a feature to the myYSU portal allowing students to place themselves on a waitlist for classes filled to capacity.
Previously, if a class were filled to capacity on the portal, students would have to call the respective department to ask if there was any space or to alternatively be placed on a waitlist.
Chet Cooper, a professor of biology and an adviser, said in his experience, the secretary managed a department’s waitlist.
“From my recollection, the departmental secretary would keep the list of students that wanted into the class, then when something came open, they might try to figure out a way to get them into the class,” Cooper said.
Under this new system, once a student has wait-listed a course, they are placed in a queue; the registrar will automatically send an email to the student next in the queue, altering them when a seat becomes available.
Jack Fahey, the vice president of student affairs, said the new system does more than streamline the registration process for students.
“It is one of the many things we are trying to do to improve completion,” Fahey said. “Not only does it give the students an opportunity to get in line and see where they are on waiting lists, but it also gives the department minute by minute information on how many people are looking for that specific course section and whether or not they should add a new section of that class. … It should make it much more efficient and much more transparent for students and faculty and chairs.”
Jeanne Herman and Tysa Egleton, university registrars, worked alongside faculty members and the Student Government Association to create this addition.
Michael Slavens, the president of SGA, said he and Jacob Schriner-Briggs, the SGA vice president, both pushed for this change as part of their Student Academic Success Initiative — a host of academic policy recommendations aimed at bolstering retention and graduation rates.
“Jake and myself worked very closely with Jeanne Herman, the university registrar, in order to try to advocate for this added feature. Ultimately, I believe that it was brought about as a result of a very successful meeting between [Martin] Abraham, Mr. Fahey, Mr. [Ken] Schindler, Jacob Schriner-Briggs and myself in the fall,” Slavens said.
Ashley Orr, SGA president elect, is optimistic about this change.
“The ability to wait-list a section of a course as we register for fall semester is something that I am very excited about. Utilizing this feature will allow for students to have access to sections that they would have written off getting into when seeing they were full. This can lead to students taking courses at the time that they prefer and may also allow them to take a course with a particular professor,” Orr said.
Cooper pointed to common reasons for classes to reach capacity quickly.
“It depends on the major and the student. You know our beginning biology students generally are able to get into their biology classes; it just becomes a problem when you get to the upper division courses. Some faculty are more popular than others, so students tend to rush to that section rather than wait a semester. I’m actually seeing some of that this semester,” Cooper said. “Students want to get to this class because of some of the individuals teaching the class. Everybody wants to though; it is like getting into a rock concert, there are only so many tickets.”
Orr said the feature could give greater flexibility to students who have specific preferences for professors.
“Students are excited about the opportunity to retain a professor for courses in sequence, say elementary and intermediate Spanish. Further, students whom also work on campus and off will benefit from the possibility of getting into a course with a time that will work better with their schedule,” Orr said.
Cooper said that the change does not mitigate the issue of classroom availability and capacity.
“The big part is the room capacities. In some courses, we just don’t have big enough classrooms,” he said. “We could accommodate more students if we had larger classrooms.”