This past November, sophomore Ashley Saltzman was assigned a problem-solution speech for Professor Joe Bulsys's Principles of Communication course. She found a topic that she, like many Geneseo students, has been frustrated by in the past: the class registration process She spoke with 40 students, 10 other schools, the registrars and the Dean of the College for their knowledge and perspectives.
Among everyone she surveyed, almost all were eager to participate, sharing everything from the information they had to the information they wanted. In December, Saltzman created an online survey with the help of the communication department, expanding her project from the classroom to the campus. She announced the survey through friends, classes, AOL Instant Messenger away messages, What's-Up e-mails and a Facebook group, all welcoming students to bring their ideas to the table. The survey included a variety of demographics on campus, and the anonymity ensured the authenticity of their opinions.
When Saltzman gathered the results in January, after just one month of the survey, she had 575 student responses, representing about 10 percent of the student body. She explained how developing a proactive mindset to anything that affects students as much as registration is essential. "Our careers and futures are at stake every time we register," she said. Her own role in the process is creating the opportunity for students to speak and share their voices with the faculty in the form of coherent data.
The results have been both widespread and consistent. More than half of students feel anxiety before registration. Most students called for more sections of courses they needed. A lot of students don't like the fact that registration is based solely on credits. At the same time, many students are happy with the online process that KnightWeb provides, and a number of students are in favor of keeping things the way they are. "I didn't really care what their opinions were," Saltzman said, "so long as they voiced them."
According to Saltzman, the faculty has been very friendly and receptive to her efforts so far. She hopes that this will continue as the information comes in, and perhaps registration will be changed to better represent the interests of students. "Whatever the case," she said, "it's great for the College to have valuable information like this to refer to in future years."