Registering Toward Completion

Career College Central summary:

  • Cleveland State University’s new strategy to get students to degree completion faster is a pretty simple idea that’s surprisingly uncommon: students are allowed (and encouraged) to register for an entire year’s worth of courses before the fall semester. In this first year that Cleveland State offered the option, 60 percent of students used it. Officials expect that figure will climb to 80 percent next year, as they continue to advertise and sell the idea as a potentially money-saving tool.
  • “I think it’s going to be of extraordinary importance toward completion,” Cleveland State University President Ronald M. Berkman said. “If you expect Course B to be given in the spring, and Course B is the course you need to take before Course C, but it turns out Course B is not given in the spring…. Those are very, very real complexities for students.”
  • Many Cleveland State students commute, have a family and/or work part-time. Being able to plan ahead, stay on track and save time and money on the way will make it easier to balance those responsibilities, Berkman said. “I think in fact it has proven, for most students, to be a very valuable tool,” Berkman said. “But it meant a culture change.”
  • Departments that are used to setting schedules several times a year now plan out fall, spring and summer terms all at once. It’s a significant workload shift, but one that’s encouraged faculty and entire programs to start considering their courses “in a more holistic way,” Berkman said, through more regular and systematic planning.
  • “I’m not always sure that there was a great deal of thought about the symmetry between the courses of those two terms [fall and spring]. They happened in isolation of each other,” Berkman said. “Now, they happen as a continuum."
  • Faculty Senate President Joanne E. Goodell said the change has most affected her and many colleagues by helping with work-life balance.

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INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION

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