“It was surprising to see students get upset about registration,” says new Vice President and Dean of Faculty Ed Wingenbach.
Perhaps it is strange, but here at Ripon College we do not take change lightly. The dramatic switch in registration has left students in an uproar and faculty working hard to ensure everything runs smoothly.
The registration process, for those new to Ripon, used be done much differently. The old process involved a trip to the practice gym where professors lined up around the perimeter of the Tartan Area. Students were responsible to get the signature of all of their advisors before turning in their registration forms. To many students, having all the professors in one spot proved efficient and convenient. If one wished to add a class, all it took was a simple conversation with a professor who was nearby.
Now, everything is done through computers.
Michele Wittler, associate dean of faculty and registrar, explains the switch was intended to keep up with demand. The idea of switching to electronic registration has been spinning around in the administration’s mind for a while.
Last year, the faculty of Ripon College voted to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. day as an official campus holiday. While students will not get the day off we will be asked to attend a day of programming.
This would mean that the old style of registration in spring would fall to the next day and classes would not begin until Wednesday.
“It just doesn’t make sense to have classes start in the middle of the week,” says Wingenbach.
With this in mind the administration made their final decision to switch the format of registration.
So far, according to both Wittler and Wingenbach, many faculty and students have appreciated the switch. Wittler explains that the new system allows for communication between academic advisers and students in a quieter space, in the faculty member’s office, instead of in a noisy gym.
Wittler acknowledges the benefits of the old system such as an increased sense of community but adds, “We would like to find a way to still have that sense of community when students return without it having to be attached to registration.”
Wingenbach says that although the old system was unique to Ripon, this new system still maintains the uniqueness while also adding efficiency.
“I don’t know of any other college that has you register not only before the semester but also right before classes start,” he adds.
Having multiple check-in meetings is unusual but ultimately helps promote the idea of a strong relationship with faculty.
Wittler maintains that everything is still a work in progress. In fact, she is staging a focus group with the student senate to gain more insight from the student body. If there was enough of a demand to revert back to the old system she would consider it, but for now the school is happy with their decision.