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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Studio Art courses change registration process

<uary 10, a campus email from Emy Farley, Carleton’s registrar, reminded students of registration for spring 2017 and informed students of the change in the registration process for art classes that will be happening in fall 2017. This change will bring the registration for art courses in line with all other departments’ processes.
The current system to register for art courses, which uses a combination of form responses and priority numbers, will be abandoned. Instead, 100-level art classes will be filled according to the sophomore priority registration process, and upper-level art classes will be filled according to the normal priority order.

The current system originated around eight years ago, according to David Lefkowitz, chair of the art and art history department. Before then, art courses followed the same registration process as other departments, but this caused problems. “Some studio classes would fill before even real majors could get into them,” said Lefkowitz. “It just didn’t seem fair.”

“We instituted this [the current registration system] as a way to try to address that,” Lefkowitz continued. The process allowed the art department more control over the makeup of its classes, but created other problems of its own.

Farley mentioned that the previous process involved more work for the registrar. “Our office is mostly interested in finalizing enrollments early,” she said. “Previously, students had to wait until the rest of registration was over before they’d know if they’d gotten an ARTS seat.” The result was a “ripple effect,” according to Farley, as students dropped the other classes they’d initially registered for.

Student opinions of the current application process have also been negative at times. “You can see the suspicion of favoritism and things, which we do our utmost to try to dispel,” Lefkowitz explained. Those concerns about the current process led to discussion of a change. “It seems like there’s a logic to having our registration process not be that different from [the process of] the rest of the campus, for consistency’s sake, and it just makes it more transparent.”

Farley believes that the new registration process will work smoothly. “When we sat down to discuss what we wanted to accomplish, it turned out that sophomore priority was a pretty good solution.”
The new process accompanies a changing landscape of studio art classes at Carleton, which has been evolving since the arts practice requirement was introduced.

“We’ve added a lot more 100-level classes [due to the increased demand],” Lefkowitz said. He anticipates that, with plans to introduce an art minor, demand will increase even further. “In surveys, there was a great desire of students to minor in studio art,” he said. “We’re postponing the initiation of it for a year partly to have the registration process be more consistent [and have] a clarity about it.”

Although the new registration process may help the registrar and the general student body, studio art major Benjamin Alexander ’18 has concerns. “It seems like the changes they are making will make the whole process easier and more straightforward for everyone, but I do think it will disadvantage some people,” said Alexander. “It will no longer be possible to express ‘I need an art class to graduate and fulfill my requirements.’”

Alexander also expects the makeup of art classes to change. “I have 5 freshman out of 15 students in my painting class right now, but with this change I anticipate the maximum number of freshman would be reduced to 1 or 2.” He also expects different students to register for classes in the future.

“I do think different people will register for art classes now that the ‘scary’ application process will be eliminated,” he said. Alexander went on to express his skepticism for the registration change. “Personally, I do not like that process as much.”

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