Register once, never register again: University introduces block enrollment

Madison Fantozzi/News Director

Registration frustrations may be a problem of the past.

The University launched a block enrollment program this semester where students can be automatically enrolled in the courses they need throughout their four years — a set track to graduation.

Academic Affairs found in a recent survey that 62 percent of 8,200 upper class undergraduates reported that their biggest obstacle is securing seats in the classes they need to graduate.

“It’s a direct response to formal and informal feedback from students,” said Vice Provost Elizabeth Bejar. “The program will fulfill needs for certain kinds of students that have jobs and other responsibilities and need that sort of predictability of the future.”

The program began this semester with 30-something freshman in four different majors: international business, management, psychology and hospitality and tourism management. Each block has its own advisor.

“We’re still striving to achieve the 300:1 advisor to student ratio for the University,” Bejar said. “The block advisors still advise other students, but we hope the number of advisors grow along with the program’s growth.”

The program, which lays out four-year course schedules for each major, takes no extra cost to coordinate except for administrative time, according to Bejar.

Block classes are offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Modesto Maidique Campus and includes required summer semesters. Each block offers 12-15 credits.

Students are able to tweak their schedules by swapping classes and choosing different electives.

“It will become especially helpful in upper division when students are fighting for the courses they need to graduate,” said Gali Milbauer, academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences who is advising the psychology block.

“Block students will be enrolled before registration opens for anyone, even honor students.”

While the process seems smooth and promising, the program is in its pilot stage and will be molded based on its first class.

“The response from the students will be critical in determining the future of the program,” Bejar said. “Maybe students would prefer afternoon classes or Tuesday/Thursday classes. We just put together what we thought was best to test out.”

The program plans to recruit “pure freshman” for next fall, as well as introduce the block to other majors and transfer students.

And while Bejar calls the program a “direct path” to graduation, she said it is not a “cure all.”

“As students become employed and become juniors and seniors they invest less time in school, sometimes becoming part time,” Bejar said. “The program wants to address this, but it’s not a panacea. It is one way to give the student who works the ability to tell their employer …. that they can guarantee certain times.”

She said it is not a typical cohort.

“A true cohort is like a cubic program where students travel from class to class together,” Bejar said. “But this is about the cohort of time to address one issue our students have historically experienced.”

– madison.fantozzi@fiusm.com

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