Provost calls for registration committee

By Tara Kadioglu

The provost’s office recently convened a new body of administrators to improve the registration process, addressing issues including the scheduling of room assignments, calendar decisions, and improving the new registration website, cMore.

The Registrar’s Advisory Committee (RAC) is currently focusing on improving room assignments for spring quarter, according to Thomas Black, University registrar. Black said the decision to create the group came after months of requests to provost Richard Saller. The committee, which first met two weeks ago, will meet again March 12.

“We realize we have a problem, and if we work together, we can solve it,” Black said. “We should look at a new way of organizing ourselves.”

The creation of the RAC comes in the face of criticism alleging the University is consistently short on classrooms, and that class space is often insufficient for the size of the section.

Estimating the University’s faculty to be on the order of magnitude of 1500, Black said that coordinating the times of classes could largely improve the problem of room shortage. “The faculty is willing to be flexible,” he said. “They’re willing to engage in problem solving.”

Black said the RAC would help the Registrar’s office better serve faculty by helping his office cater to the University’s unique academic structure. “The University of Chicago has longstanding traditions and a culture that takes a long time to understand,” said Black, who has worked as the University’s registrar for a year-and-a-half. “But what’s more important is to get this right for students, faculty, and staff.”

The RAC, chaired by Deputy Provost Anne Robertson, includes several University faculty and staff from various departments.

Robertson said the group hopes to meet once a quarter, if not more often. She said that while the RAC has not yet delved into matters of great detail or begun to build strategies for scheduling classes, she is optimistic that the committee will prove a great help to the University.

She said the space of time between 10:30 a.m and 2:30 p.m.—in which most classes were scheduled—is of particular concern to her. “Down the line, we will try to make certain that the canonical hours are adhered to and that we are not putting too much strain on students,” Robertson said.

She added, “I look forward to working with this committee in order to help the University fulfill its mission of delivering classes in appropriate spaces for our students.”