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Last year, the Student Academic Affairs Committee set some goals for itself. One
of those was to try and make course syllabi accessible to students prior to registration. As
students ourselves, we know how valuable any additional information about courses can
be when making registration decisions.

We weren¶t as successful as we hoped we would be, but a few months ago, the
federal government helped us out a bit. They passed the ³Higher Education Opportunity
Act6´ which requires universities to list the textbooks a given course will require on their
course registration website. Unfortunately, the law does not require that other information
students consider crucial, like lecture style, grading rubric, or course objectives, be
similarly listed. Additionally, upon scanning the course schedule site before registration,
we found that many professors had not complied even with the minimum federal
requirement.

In an effort to address this issue, the Student Academic Affairs Committee penned
this letter to Dean Eichler, outlining the difficulty students face, and requesting his aid in
solving the problem:

 

Dear Dean Eichler,

‘ As the new semester rapidly approaches, students will shortly begin the lengthy,
winding, and often stressful process of registering for their classes. We understand that
many of the issues we will face, like getting locked out of a class, are simply par for the
course. However, we know that you, and the rest of the administration and faculty of
Yeshiva University are constantly aiming to make the registration experience as student
friendly as possible. To that end, we were hoping you could help us on one simple but
essential issue regarding registration: the early release of course syllabi.

Currently, the aspect of class registration that students find most frustrating is the
actual choosing of courses. Due to the lack of information regarding some of these
courses, the process of discerning which classes best suit a given student¶s interests and
learning style, has come to seem like a biannual exercise in divination, rather than in
deduction.

The syllabi provided at the beginning of every semester are valuable, but if
disseminated prior to registration, their value to students would increase dramatically.
They will provide students with important information regarding course goals, a
professor¶s lecture style, and subject matter, making registration a more informed, and
hopefully calmer, process.

Recently, the federal government passed a law requiring universities to publicize


textbook information to students prior to registration. We are grateful for this law, as it
will hopefully eliminate the other major stress of each new semester, the mad rush to
purchase textbooks. However, we humbly request that in addition to required texts,
professors also post at least a ³proto-syllabus´ of sorts, containing information pertaining
to aourse objectives, lecture style, and possibly grading guidelines.

Ironically, many departments already publish this information in leaflets they


distribute around campus. If those course descriptions could be uploaded to the MyYU
course schedule, it would be a tremendous help to the student body, and we would be
most appreciative. To facilitate this process, the Student Academic Affair Committee was
provided with a simple ³how-to´ generated by Academic Computing, showing professors
how to upload their syllabi. We have enclosed that document.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and to hear our request.

Sincerely,

The M  


 

 on behalf of the YC student body.