Students registering for romance language classes for the Winter 2003 term will be greeted with a pleasant surprise: Waitlists for introductory level courses have been removed from the registration process. In order to better accommodate the demands of students interested in romance languages, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures has eliminated the waitlists for most introductory courses. The department has also allocated more teachers for these courses and so will be offering more classes. The Department has followed the example of the Department of Mathematics, which already has this process in place and as a result allows students a less stressful registration process for first- and second-year mathematics courses.
Students often are upset with waitlists for classes because they frustrate students’ abilities to register for courses normally, unfortunately with the limited number of class section, the waitlist is the only second chance for a student with a late registration date. The uncertainty of waitlists also prevents students from solidifying their schedules; when students are placed on a waitlist, they are able to move into a class if someone already registered for the course drops it. Unfortunately, many students are not taken off the waitlist, leaving them awkwardly scrambling for courses at the last minute. Some professors accept students into courses if students attend the first week of classes and are persistent about entry into the lecture.
Sections, however, function differently than large lectures – if a section fills up and someone is placed on a waitlist, then that student is only on the waitlist for that particular section. Other students can still register for other sections. Usually, since sections are filled to the maximum capacity, most graduate students instructors do not accept those on the waitlist. Even if students are accepted from the waitlist, it may not happen until a few days into the term, at which point it’s likely that textbooks will be gone from the shelves and enough material will have been covered to put the new student behind the class.
The Departments of Mathematics and Romance Languages and Literatures have aided students greatly by extending the availability of introductory classes since students often struggle to register for classes that are required for graduation. By offering more introductory classes, students are able to try out different fields before choosing a major.
Also, offering more classes gives students with late registration dates an opportunity to take the courses they desire. To help students avoid the hassle and uncertainty of waitlists, all departments should assess which courses are most popular, and reshuffle resources to accommodate students’ needs. While within the current course offerings waitlists may be a necessary evil, ideally they should serve as an indication to the faculty of student demand rather than a fixture of an unwieldy system.