[Fresh] Registrar Interview

Kelly Eastland (kelly.eastland@villanova.edu)
Fri, 14 Nov 2003 10:23:27 -0500

Interview with Ms. Catherine Connor, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management and Registrar.

Fresh@News: On November 8-11 the class of 2007 registered for classes for the spring
semester. How does registration work and what are some of the issues that come up?

Ms. Connor: For their fall semester, most first-year students had their schedules made up
for them by our office. Now the students will be making up their own schedule for the first
time. Obviously the choice of what courses they will take, with which teachers and at what
times, is very important to them.

Fresh@News: How do students find out what courses they need to take?

Ms. Connor: At Villanova, we take very seriously the role of the academic advisor. Each
college has its own system of advisement, but all of our first year students start the
process by meeting with an advisor. Students should make an appointment with their advisor
early. The advisor and the student determine what courses the student should take, and then
the advisor gives the student a registration PIN number. No student can register without a
registration PIN number. It is our way of making sure that the student has been advised.

Fresh@News: Once they have the registration PIN number, how do they make up their schedule?

Ms. Connor: We have a lottery system that works by assigning a registration time based on
credits earned. In the case of freshmen, most of whom havenít earned any college credits
yet, the lottery randomly assigns a registration time to the freshmen. Once that time
arrives, the students go into the system through the World Wide Web and select the classes
they want to take. Each class has a maximum enrollment, so if that maximum is reached the
class becomes closed and students must select some other class that is still open. If the
student doesn't have access to a computer, he or she can do the process on a computer in our
office, one of the computer labs or in the library. We also have a special hotline for
students who are having problems.

Fresh@News: What are some of the concerns that come up?

Ms. Connor: Most of the classes we offer at Villanova are small in size. Our average class
size is about 23 students, and we offer very few large lecture classes. While we pride
ourselves on our small classes, it also means that the classes with the most popular
professors (and at the most popular times) can close out quickly. As a result, students may
find that they can't enroll for the course or the teacher that they want, at the time that
they want. This will be especially true for
students who are given later times to register.

Fresh@News: What can they do if the classes they want are closed?

Ms. Connor: Students sometimes start with a dream schedule and then find that it just won't
work out. They should be prepared to be flexible, especially about the times that they take
courses. They may have to take some classes at 8:30 AM or at 3:30 PM. If the students are
having scheduling problems, the advisor may be able to recommend a different course, or if
they have an especially strong case, they can sometimes get permission from a department
chair to sign up for a section that is already closed. Students who can't get a course
during the day can sometimes find that the same course is available in the evening.
However, there are restrictions involving students taking certain courses in the evening.
Students should carefully view information about the courses and restrictions on the
Schedule of Classes on our NOVASIS web site for the most current information. Many of the
people who enroll in evening courses are working people from the surrounding area, so many
students say that they enjoy the different perspectives that come up in class discussion.

Fresh@News: Can students change their schedule after registration is over?

Ms. Connor: One of the best things about web-based registration is that students can go into
the system anytime after their assigned registration time to change their schedule. If a
student really wants a particular course, he or she should use the web to check that course
periodically to see if a seat opens up. Some of the classes that are closed in November will
have empty seats by the time the semester actually starts.

Fresh@News: What other services does your office perform?

Ms. Connor: We are responsible for maintaining the student database, which includes
scheduling and also transcripts. We are also the office that produces the letters of
verification that many parents need for things like health insurance.

Fresh@News: How can a parent request a change of address?

Ms. Connor: A parent can request a change of address by writing to us, sending us a fax
(610-519-4033) or by e-mailing us through our web site (Ask the Registrar).

Fresh@News: What advice do you have for parents?

Ms. Connor: It is probably a good idea for parents to have at least a general familiarity
with the various interactions students have with our office, such as registration, receiving
grades (which are also on the web), and eventually preparing for graduation. Parents can
check our home page at http://www.registrar.villanova.edu/, where they will find a calendar
and lots of other interesting information. Parents should also be aware of the federal
regulations that govern what kind of information institutions can and cannot divulge.
Generally speaking, our office is not permitted to give out any information about individual
student grades or progress. For that information, parents should contact the Office of the
Dean of the student's college. If the student signed the FERPA release form (which was
included in the booklet the students completed over the web during the summer) then the Dean
may be able to discuss with you how your student is doing. While we cannot discuss
individual students with parents, parents can always call us for advice on our policies and
procedures.

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