UTA will allow underclassmen to sign up for year's worth of classes with multisemester registration

Pranesh Aswath, senior vice provost for academic planning and policy, speaks during a open house Feb. 6 in the Engineering Research Building. Aswath spoke about moving the university to multi-term course registration.

UTA will implement a multisemester registration system for incoming freshmen and sophomores this spring. 

These students will have the ability to register for 1000- and 2000-level classes for the following summer, fall and spring semesters all at once, said Pranesh Aswath, senior vice provost for Academic Planning and Policy.

Plans for a multiterm registration system were announced at the Jan. 29 Faculty Senate meeting. According to a previous Shorthorn article, the year registration would require faculty to have all three semester schedules put in place for summer. 

Aswath said originally all level courses would have been included for the 2020-2021 academic year. At the time of the meeting, early February was the deadline for faculty to submit freshman- and sophomore-level schedules, with upper-level schedules following a couple of months later. 

After feedback from the Faculty Senate meeting, it was decided to change the strategy to only 1000 and 2000 level courses. 

“We didn’t want to delay it a whole year,” Aswath said. “Because then we lose a whole year, and the students coming in this fall will not benefit from that.” 

Schedules for 1000- and 2000-level courses will have to be in place by Feb. 21, he said. The multiterm registration will be available for students to register by April 6. 

Aswath said students can register for classes requiring a prerequisite for the following semester. Using a prerequisite check at the end of fall, if a student doesn’t pass a prerequisite class, registration for the next course will be canceled. 

While multiterm registration is recommended, it will not be mandatory, Aswath said. 

Students registered for a multiterm will still pay a semester at a time, he said. The drop period will also remain the same. 

Aswath said the multiterm registration is in response to the university’s focus on student persistence and graduation rate. 

Typically, 20% of first-time college students drop out of UTA by the end of their first year, Aswath said. 

UTA’s six-year graduation rate for first time in college students in 2018 was around 49%, he said. However, when comparing UTA’s rate to other urban schools with similar demographics, their graduation rates are higher. 

“Clearly they’re doing something better than what we’re doing in terms of getting students through the finish line,” Aswath said. 

Cleveland State University implemented a multiterm registration in 2012. Within a year their fall-to-spring retention increased by 3%, according to an Educational Advisory Board report. 

In 2013, around 82% of students registered for more than one term, a 22% increase from the previous year, according to the report. 

The Student Success and the Strategic Enrollment task forces helped with the idea and planning of the multiterm registration. They consisted of people from the divisions of Student Affairs, Student Success, and Enrollment Management, as well as University Analytics and the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

When first discussing the idea, vice chairperson David Coursey said the Strategic Enrollment Task Force looked at research that showed multiterm registration had a positive relationship to student success. 

One of the best predictors of whether students stay in school and graduate is how early they register, Coursey said. Having a plan and knowing their schedule tends to have a strong relationship to students earning their degree. 

He said one of the main concerns in regards to the registration plan relates to its implementation. 

Rebekah Chojnacki, Honors College academic adviser, said the plan allows for a more complex conversation with students when planning beyond one semester. Her concern at the moment would be starting something new. 

“You always learn things as you start a new system,” Chojnacki said. “The advantage to it is the idea to hopefully give a student a better picture of what they’re doing a year at a time.” 

@megancardona_

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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