Lower LPAP requirement
Changes have been made to the Lifetime Physical Activity Program graduation requirement and the wait-listing procedure in response to students' frustrations over the use of waitlists last semester.
Students now only need to take one LPAP to graduate, and all LPAPs offered during the fall of 2012 and onward will be worth one credit.
LPAPs have previously been zero-credit courses, and students formerly had to take two to graduate. Current students who have already taken one zero-credit LPAP, a one-credit Lifetime Physical Activity Credit course, a combination of both, or two zero-credit LPAPs have fulfilled the modified graduation requirement. Credit will not be retroactively added to zero-credit LPAPs that students have already taken.
Measures were also taken to allow underclassmen to more easily register for LPAPs.
Half the seats in every LPAP course to be offered in the fall of 2012 will be set aside for freshmen.
These students will have the chance to enroll when they register for classes during Orientation Week on Aug 17, according to Registrar David Tenney (Sid '87).
Once registration opens to everyone else at 9 a.m. that day, a waitlist for freshmen who did not register for a seat in time will be merged with the waitlist of continuing students, which will have been active since April 8. The waitlist of continuing students will receive priority. Students will be added to the LPAP in the order that they appear on the waitlist as space becomes available.
"If [the freshmen] don't grab them, they at least get their chance to get them," Tenney said. "We are hoping the seniors will grab the spots this Sunday."
According to Tenney, 287 rising seniors have not yet taken an LPAP course.
Brown sophomore John Muller said the reservation of seats in LPAPs for incoming freshmen was a good idea.
"It's a good change of policy because it makes it easier for freshmen to fulfill their graduation requirements," Muller said.
Student Association President Sanjula Jain said one of the major goals of the changes to the LPAP requirement was for a greater distribution of students across the years to take LPAP classes.
"Now people have more flexibility [...] so [students of] all years can take LPAPs, as opposed to [students] only taking them senior year," Jain, a Brown College junior, said.
Jain said many of the problems that students had with waitlists last semester were related to LPAPs.
"The [Office of the Registrar] gave us data that said something like three-fourths of people's complaints of 'I'm on a waitlist, I can't get into a class' were for LPAPs, not academic classes," Jain said.
According to Jain, a SA survey sent out regarding LPAPs garnered approximately 850 student responses and indicated that while students enjoyed the LPAP program, they felt athletes should be exempt from the LPAP requirement.
Despite this initial sentiment, Jain said that many varsity athletes ultimately did not want to be exempt.
"A lot of them take fifth years and are on scholarships, and it's helpful to have that one credit hour attached to the LPAP to help with graduation requirements or scholarships," Jain said. "Reducing the LPAP requirement from two to one was a good compromise for a variety of groups."
Tenney said the lowering of the LPAP requirement to one would ideally alleviate the disparity between supply and demand for LPAP classes.
"Too many seniors wait until the last minute or the last year to take an LPAP, and that has created a big backlog," Tenney said. "One objective in this [change] is to relieve this backlog somewhat."
Jain attributed the unmet demand for LPAP courses to increasing enrollment.
"There are so many students now and there's only a limited number of classes that can be offered, so there's this endless cycle where seniors are the only ones who get to take the classes," Jain said. "We have to evaluate what changes need to be made to adapt to our changing campus."
Lovett College freshman Cory Wynn said he was glad the LPAP requirement was reduced.
"Hopefully, now that everyone only has to take one, there will be more room for other people to take those courses," Wynn said.
Wait-listing procedures for registration for classes offered during the fall of 2012 have also been changed to accommodate students' expressed desire to be able to special-register for closed classes.
On Wednesday, Aug. 22, waitlists for all courses will be purged, except waitlists for the First Year Writing-Intensive Seminars, other freshman seminars, student-taught college courses and LPAPs. After waitlists are purged, students may special-register for closed classes as in previous years.
Waitlists for FWIS, FSEM, COLL and LPAP courses will remain active until the end of the second week of classes, commonly known as the "shopping" period.
According to Jain, activating waitlists during registration for fall 2012 classes will enable the administration to measure demand for certain classes.
"This was a compromise on [the part of the Office of the Registrar] to get the benefit of the waitlists while accommodating students and not overloading classes," Jain said. "Otherwise, they don't have any data to see how many people actually want to take the course so they can make new sections."
Jain also said that, prior to the creation of waitlists, students would change their minds over the summer and overwhelm professors in the fall with special registration forms to sign. Jain said the new wait-listing protocol will alleviate the burden on professors.
"When students are doing their schedules early on, many students will change their mind over the summer. So, it's important to have the waitlists then so students can monitor what waitlists they're still on," Jain said. "It's just inefficient to have [professors] sign all these forms."
Jain also said waitlists would help to regulate class sizes.
"If a class size is supposed to be 20 students, with special registration, before you know it, it'll be 30 or 40 students, and that changes the dynamics of the classroom," Jain said.
Jain noted that the student-initiated changes reveal the power students have to substantially impact the university.
"It's a true testament to students taking initiative and pushing something through. It shows how powerful students are on this campus," Jain said.
Pass/Fail open to major courses
With registration rapidly approaching, students seeking a broader academic experience within their major now have an expanded safety net. The Faculty Senate approved a change to the pass/fail option at its meeting on March 28 that allows students to designate courses in their major that are not required for graduation as pass/fail.
Currently, students may not designate any course within their majors as pass/fail. However, starting with the 2012-2013 academic year, students will be able to designate any course within their majors as pass/fail as long as that course is not used to meet a graduation requirement for the major. Students may not retroactively designate a course within their majors as pass/fail.
According to Student Association President Sanjula Jain, the initiative behind the change to the pass/fail option came from members of the faculty.
Chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum Jeff Kripal said the new rule would encourage students to explore more courses within their majors.
"[The CUC] heard a desire to have a little more room in the curriculum for intellectual risk-taking, for stretching oneself, as it were," Kripal, a religious studies professor, said. "This was already available outside the major, and we did not see any good reason why it should not be available inside the major as well."
Jain said she advocated for the student perspective at the Faculty Senate meeting.
"I explained to them what pass/fail means to us as students in terms of being flexible and branching out to other subjects, even within our major, because some majors cover many subjects, especially interdisciplinary majors," Jain, a Brown College junior, said. "Cognitive Sciences covers five departments. Under the old rule, you could not pass/fail a class in any of those five departments."
Lovett College freshman Cory Wynn said he thought the change to the pass/fail rule was appropriate.
"There a ton of interesting classes in my major's department, but I would be deterred from taking some, especially if they are difficult, if I knew that I could not take them pass/fail," Wynn said.
Brown junior Isabella Gonzalez said she was glad she could take more advanced classes within her major.
"ELEC has too many desirable courses, but they are demanding, and the previous [pass/ fail] restriction required us to pare down our selection," Gonzalez said. "[Now,] we have more flexibility to explore courses outside our specialization area. I can take all the ELEC classes that I never dreamed of taking."
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