Students registering in the U of L’s Fall 1967 Semester could never have imagined the convenience enjoyed by students in 2007.
The current online student information system allows future and current students to apply for admission, track their applications, register for courses, apply for scholarships and view their transcripts from any computer they wish.
Associate Vice-President (Student Services) and Registrar Leslie Lavers (BASc ’78) says the registration system has changed for the better throughout the University’s 40-year history.
Lavers has had a front-row seat to the evolution of the registration process since she first enrolled at the U of L in 1970 through the manual registration system in use at the time.
“Students had to go to the appropriate faculty, department Chairs or deans to receive permission to take the courses they wanted. Faculty noted their approval on permission cards that the students then returned to the Registrar’s Office,” says Lavers.
After Lavers received her bachelor’s degree from the University in 1978, there was a brief two-year hiatus before she returned to campus and became the coordinator of Applied Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Lavers went on to serve as an academic assistant, Arts and Science (’84-’87); coordinator of academic advising, Arts and Science (’87-’90); and associate registrar (’90-’96) before accepting her current position in 1996.
Over the years there have been many registration system improvements with one overarching aim – student convenience. “The goal is to allow students to focus on what goes on in the classroom. The registration system should be so easy and straightforward that they don’t even notice it,” says Lavers.
Developing a straightforward registration system has been quite a journey. Lavers points to the following milestones as some of the more memorable turning points:
1977 – The introduction of a computerized registration system called Jasper
Instead of wandering around with permission cards, students could go to a registration clerk and have their course selections registered into a computer. At the end of the semester, the Registrar’s Office printed out stickers with the course marks and put them on students’ permanent record cards. “The in-house system was one of the first computerized registration systems in Canada,” says Lavers.
1984-1985 – Permanent record cards are phased out
The transition to computerized records was the first step towards making “working copies” of transcripts available through the Bridge, which is a service that was just introduced in 2006.
1985 – Course selections required the approval of academic advisors
“The University introduced enormous curricular changes in 1984, and the academic advising ensured students were able to navigate the new requirements,” says Lavers.
1991 – The Banner Student Information System is implemented
The Banner system, which is still used today, encompasses everything from recruitment and admissions to registration and records.
Spring 1992 – The final in-person student registration
Students started lining up 24 hours in advance, and the line continued down through the tunnel into the Devonian Walkway. (In-person registration is still required for certain courses, including Applied Studies and Independent Studies.)
1993 – The ULINK telephone registration system was introduced
Academic advising became optional, and program planning guides were introduced. “The U of L was the first small university in Canada to use this technology,” says Lavers.
2004 – The Web registration system goes online
Web registration was run in parallel with ULINK for two years until the telephone registration system was phased out in September 2006. “After early registration for Spring 2007, there wasn’t a single complaint about ULINK not being available,” says Lavers.
The Future – Online degree audit systems
The same technology that is making registration increasingly simple is also proving to be an asset to academic planning. The Registrar’s Office and Student Services is developing an online degree audit system that can tell students what requirements they have met and have yet to meet for their particular programs.
“Students should not be penalized because they can’t figure out a complex curriculum. The academic advising offices are testing the degree audit system, and we hope they will begin using it with students in 2007,” says Lavers.
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