Cal Poly recently implemented a new registration rotation for graduating seniors, but that’s not the only change students will be seeing in the registration process.
The number of degree applicable units a student has will soon be used to determine registration rotation, university registrar Cem Sunata said.
The system will be put into effect by Fall 2015.
“A lot of people are coming to me, faculty and students alike, saying that other universities have this more widespread use of rotations — they allow seniors to go first, then juniors, then sophomores, then freshmen,” Sunata said. “But we haven’t attempted to do so because the process of figuring out who truly was a junior or senior — degree applicable units applied — was not figured out.”
As more students come to Cal Poly with AP and transfer units, it’s hard to differentiate the general array of units vs. degree applicable units, Vice Provost Kimi Ikeda said.
“A senior from a class level perspective is a student who has completed 135 units out of their 180 units, but those 135 units may actually categorize them as sophomores, because they might’ve just transferred units that didn’t count toward degree applicable units,” she said. “We’re trying to really narrow down true seniors.”
Recently, the Office of Registrar set up a gauge on students’ PolyProfile to identify the degree applicable standing of each student.
“What we want to do is bring a registration rotation system where the students with the most degree applicable units will go in before those students with lesser applicable units,” Sunata said. “But the nuances and details about how those rotations will exactly be set up haven’t exactly been worked out.”
The rotation for graduating seniors was simply the first step in the overhaul, Sunata said.
“It’s a way to help graduating seniors get the classes they need without having to compete for seats so that they can graduate on time,” he said. “And it’s also part of a larger change that is going to be coming.”
The new rotation is only given to seniors graduating within the same quarter for which they are registering. However, according to Sunata, the rotation would be impossible to give to all seniors.
“If you were to go to any university in the nation and ask the registrar’s office to run you a query, you’d find out that the largest amount of students are in the senior category,” Sunata said. “That’s the case with us … imagine taking the largest-standing class and giving them the first priority; it wouldn’t be effective.”
In addition, Sunata said the same problem of determining who true seniors are would come up.
“What we do intend to do is find out who the real seniors are by their degree applicable units and let them go first,” he said.
Though the new system may cause non-graduating seniors to compete with graduating seniors for classes, the Office of the Registrar is not worried.
“Any change you implement comes with a certain cost,” Sunata said. “Anything you do for 18,000 students will probably be criticized by a certain group that feels disadvantaged, but you can’t create a better system without some change.”
Sunata added that without the system, the competition would be worse.
“Everybody is getting their turn; we have about 900 students graduating in fall,” he said. “If these students get the classes they need and graduate in fall, and don’t linger, there will be 900 less students in winter and spring that these students will have to worry about competing (with) for classes.”
Associate registrar Debbie Arseneau agreed.
“I don’t think that there’ll be much backlash,” she said. “They’ll be getting it for the same reason that these students are getting it when they’re graduating; I think it’s fair for all students that will have that opportunity at some point.”
The change stemmed from the Office of the Registrar’s effort to improve the system of academic progress and graduation rates, Ikeda said.
“We’ve been trying to achieve this for many years — trying to find ways to give those students who need to graduate a way to get their courses,” she said. “It’s always been our attempt to focus on the seniors and give their priority for the last year, but we can’t predict student behavior.”