Monday, April 21, 2008

Your Life: TBA

As appeared in last week's New School Free Press.

When New School students received their fall 2008 course schedule packet, some students were surprised to see the number of TBAs and lack of class times and locations.

"I feel that it's really irresponsible of the school to not have the information we need," said Lang sophomore Terésa Franco. "And the information we get isn't very well organized."

Administrators and faculty acknowledged that the course registration system has been slow, and that this lag has complicated student registration. Administrators point to a myriad of problems behind the system, including late hiring of full-time faculty, a complicated scheduling system, and a lack of classroom space, due to the scheduled demolition of the 65 5th Ave. building in July.

As of press time, the online figures listed 50 courses with TBA as a professor, 24 without a date and or time, and 3 courses with neither. The printed schedule had 36 TBAs, 10 classes without date or time, and 13 classes with neither.

Those figures do not include senior project and ULEC courses.

According to Larry Jackson, Academic Coordinator in the Associate's Dean Office, there are 400-500 courses listed online, including Independent Studies and Senior Work classes.

"We're in the process of hiring full-time faculty," said Associate Dean of Lang Kathleen Breidenbach in an interview. "We're either still negotiating with them, or we're still working on getting information with them, so we might not know days and times."

She added, "They're not in the system, so we can't attach them to the courses."

In the writing department, the TBAs are there mainly "due to the hiring of new full-time professors," Breidenbach said, which includes Marco Roth and Mark Greif.

The New School has been hiring more full-time faculty because of increased revenue and a larger student body, which allows stability with courses being offered semester and after semester, according to Breidenbach.

"I would estimate that we are up to 500 or 600 changes since having first submitted the Schedule Builder," said Jackson, referring to the program used to arrange course information, including professors, dates, times, and credits given.

Jackson added that another complication this year is space issues, due to the 65 5th Ave. building coming down and, as Jackson said, "The University is not trying to obtain additional space for classes until we've shown that we've used all available space."

In separate interviews, both Breidenbach and Jackson advised students to find their courses online, rather than using the paper schedule.

Through all the problems with registering, Breidenbach says that the process is still better than the way Lang used to be six years ago.

"The year before I got here," she said, "everything was done on paper, and all students would gather in Tishman with the faculty, and the faculty would present their courses, with the student's names being called out, and they'd go up and say what their registration choices were."