Faculty Senate votes to ban late registration

By SHEILA TEMPLETON

Test-LogoLate registration for Pima Community College students may be a thing of the past if the Faculty Senate has its way.

During a Feb. 1 discussion, the Faculty Senate voted to eliminate late registration. The vote was 24-4, with four abstentions.

The Faculty Senate is an elected group of about 70 instructors representing departments from each PCC campus. The Senate deals with a variety of academic and college issues.

The faculty vote will not eliminate late registration. College administrators make that decision.

However, the Faculty Senate asked the college to form a task force composed of faculty and administrators, “to make this change expeditiously since delaying would only serve to continue to harm students’ opportunities for success.”

The Senate members acknowledged that late registration is appropriate in some circumstances, and want faculty members to retain authority to allow late registration on a case-by-case basis.

West Campus sociology lead instructor MaryKris McIlwaine led the drive.

“The college and quite a few instructors have, for 20-plus years now, been aware of the harms of allowing late registration,” she said in an email.

“We’ve been debating this issue in Faculty Senate year after year after year. I finally just coalesced enough political will from enough like-minded Senators that we could finally take some action on the matter in the right direction.”

Faculty Senate President Joe Labuda, a West Campus librarian, said he supports the concept.

“The arguments to eliminate late registration are compelling and I sympathized with the aim of this resolution,” he said. “The research shows it is a questionable idea to maintain late registration.”

Advocates for late registration argue that extended registrationis essential to the open-door philosophy of community colleges and increases the number of students who enroll, thereby increasing revenue.

Opponents point to studies that conclude late registration harms students.

Studies consistently show higher retention and completion rates among students who register on time, according to an article in Community College Journal written by Terry O’Bannon.

O’Bannon is president emeritus of the League for Innovation in the Community College and senior adviser for higher education programs at Walden University.

Supporters of a firm deadline for course registration say students need to be present for early class sessions.

“This time is used for laying out course overviews and objectives and making initial assignments, creating a sense of class community, O’Bannon writes.

“This initial groundwork is the key to subsequent success for many students, but this orientation process is continually disrupted by the comings and goings of late registrants.”

A University of North Texas study found that 35 percent of new students who registered late were retained to the next semester. The retention rate for students who registered on time was 80 percent.

The study also showed on-time registrants withdrew from 10 percent of their course hours, compared to late registrants who withdrew from 21 percent.

A study at Kentucky Community and Technical College found similar results, concluding “students who registered late for their courses were less likely to persist through their first year of college.”

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