Letter: Shopping period is worth the inconvenience

As a Yale professor and former Yale undergraduate, I was upset to read that the registrar is suggesting we curtail shopping period. The most important decisions students make are which classes to take. While reading syllabi and course reviews can help students make these decisions, seeing a professor actually teaching is far more important. As an undergraduate, I sometimes discovered inspiring courses late into shopping period, and would not want future Yalies to be denied this opportunity.

Asking students to indicate which courses they are most likely to take seems like a reasonable measure. But we would be failing in our mission if we curtailed shopping period merely for the convenience of the registrar. Yale should strive to provide the best education possible, even if it is inconvenient.

Daniel Spielman

Feb. 3

The writer is a professor of applied mathematics and computer science and a 1992 graduate of Jonathan Edwards College.

Comments

  • Recent Alum

    "While reading syllabi and course reviews can help students make these decisions, seeing a professor actually teaching is far more important."

    The end result of the current 2-week shopping period is that many professors only distribute syllabi during the first class and do not start teaching until the second week. I thought shortening shopping period to one week (while ensuring that weekly seminars get taught twice during the first week so that every student could shop at least two courses in the same time slot) would alleviate this problem. Current undergrads really need to have a better sense ahead of time of what classes they want to take.