PARIS isn't as friendly as it used to be. Instead, PARIS recommends that they speak to a human being. And administrators said getting students to seek human contact was what they had in mind when they implemented a new "flagging" system that temporarily bars students from registration for next semester. Robert Rescorla, chairperson of the Psychology Department, said he decided to put all psychology majors on hold until they consulted with an advisor as soon as he knew the technology was available to do so. "I found that many majors were simply not getting even minimal advice," said Rescorla. "On occasion the Psychology Department has tried to encourage students [to see an advisor], but we've never been able to do more than encourage them." The introduction of PARIS two years ago opened up the possibility of contacting students through the computer, a tool that interacts with users. In the past, administrators had to rely on sending letters with no immediate way of monitoring student response. This semester, over 1500 students will be turned away by the computer because of requirements established by the College of Arts and Sciences, Student Health Services and the Psychology Department. All the offices are requiring that students meet with advisors before they can register. Diane Frey, director of advising for the College, said she thinks the hold on registering is a good tool for bringing students into the advising office to discuss choosing a major. "I think most [students] have had advising, but they just haven't followed through with the paperwork," Frey said. "This is the only means of leverage that there really is." But the ease with which PARIS can be used to communicate with students means that it may bear the brunt of problems caused by deficiencies in other University procedures. For example, many departments, including History and English, restrict a large portion of their courses to majors in an attempt to encourage students to declare a major, but there are enough loopholes that non-majors often register for those classes. And the College's new policy, which requires juniors and seniors who have not declared a major to meet with an advisor before registering, has increased the burden on the College advising office at a time of year when that office is usually busy. In addition to helping freshmen and sophomores chart their courses of study, the advising office has signed several hundred release forms over the last two weeks enabling students to pre-register on PARIS, according to Frey. "We saw a lot of heavy traffic the last couple weeks," she said. "It's unending. We're just tremendously busy." Psychology major Debbie Abrams said that although she felt confident about her course of study, the meeting she had with an advisor yesterday was a good experience. "I didn't feel like I needed to go in to an advisor, but it's a good idea if you're just starting off," said the College senior.Comments powered by Disqus
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