When preparing for registration, it’s common to see 12 sections of a course open but with only two of them listing professors. Registration is already stressful for students. Trying to register for a course when you don’t know who’s teaching it only adds to the hassle of registration, especially for incoming first-year students.
Several UT departments — including the chemistry and math departments — do not consistently list the professor’s name with their courses upon the release of the course schedule. This makes it incredibly difficult for students to choose classes based on the quality of the professor.
According to a study by Insider Higher Ed, students often choose to continue or reject their major based on their introductory courses. This experience is undoubtedly influenced by professors because the way professors run their classes heavily impacts students’ ability to learn. For this reason, it is important for all students to be able to see which professors teach which courses.
Furthermore, for students looking to pursue a career in medicine, performance in introductory level science classes is very important. For engineers, it is more important to have a thorough understanding of the material taught in introductory classes because they are prerequisites for future classes. Specific professors determine the difficulty and the structure of these classes. If students could choose their courses based on professors, they could tailor their schedule to better suit their needs and ensure better education.
If professors’ names aren’t listed in time for registration, a variety of student resources go to waste. Resources include the UT Course Instructor Surveys and Rate My Professor, both of which help students decide the professors that is best for them. It is possible to find out so much about your potential professors before ever meeting them, such as their previous syllabi, how they grade, how they conduct their lectures, their political and religious views and how friendly they are. Without these resources, students are left with nothing but hope they will connect with their professor and their teaching style.
Elizabeth Hastings, the liberal arts academic advising coordinator for the foreign language departments, said that the main reason for not listing instructors’ names with every unique number is that graduate students who teach classes have not solidified their own schedules for the following semester.
Even though graduate students already register earlier than undergraduate students, the registrar’s office should consider further increasing the gap in time between graduate and undergraduate registration. This would allow graduate students’ names to be listed with the courses they will teach. Graduate students aside, there are other valid reasons to not list instructors’ names on the course schedule.
According to Hastings, tenured and tenure track professors’ names are also often not listed because of the possibility they will receive leave or a research grant and won’t teach anymore. It is understandable that professors’ plans change, but it would be better to give students the opportunity to potentially choose their professors even if some may ultimately not teach the course.
The individuals responsible for course scheduling in each department should ensure every course has a name listed with it. By listing professors’ names, departments can give students the opportunity to find the professor best suited for their learning style and their academic future.
Dighe is a Plan II and neuroscience sophomore from Houston.