MLK Day throws Friday shoppers

This semester will be the last time that Martin Luther King Day prevents students from shopping Friday seminars before course schedules are due.

Next year, seminars that meet only on Fridays will meet once during the first four days of shopping period, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said Monday. The current absence of a day to shop poses problems, faculty and students said, and the change will make the process of filling seminars much easier.

“It’s a really good idea because it gives students a chance to try out the course without doing something drastic to the school calendar,” said Sociology Professor Christopher Wildeman, who is teaching “Mass Incarceration and Urban Family” on Fridays.

Graphic Design Professor Pamela Hovland ART ’93, who has taught a course on Friday for the past several years, said that she always receives many e-mails from students who are confused about how to get information about the class. She posted a sign in the School of Art announcing that her course, “Intermediate Graphic Design,” would have an informational session on Friday during the time her course would normally meet. Still, she said, many students e-mailed her explaining that they did not know about the informational meeting, and she added that the issue makes choosing which students to admit especially difficult.

Miller said she has not received any complaints from faculty or students, but her own experience in teaching seminars on Friday motivated the idea. She added that information about the special first meeting times for Friday classes would be posted on the Online Course Selection web site. Interim Registrar Eileen Quinn said that since she has not yet seen Miller’s proposal, she could not now address how her office would handle the new policy.

While faculty said the change will help them select applicants, three students interviewed said it will aid them in making sure in choosing the right courses.

Shebani Rao ’13 said she will probably turn in a schedule that includes a Friday seminar in which she has not yet been guaranteed a spot.

“The whole setup significantly contributed to my stress during shopping period,” she said.

Because Monday was a holiday, Monday classes met last Friday; Friday classes will meet at the end of the semester to compensate.

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