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After complaints, CAB will taxi into next school year

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In response to complaints from students and advisers, the Registrar’s Office will reintroduce the printed Course Announcement Bulletin for the 2008-2009 school year after discontinuing it last year.

The CAB will be available to all students and course updates will be published before pre-registration both semesters, University Registrar Michael Pesta said.

The CAB was discontinued last year as part of the University’s transition to Banner, Pesta said. When Banner was introduced, the decision was made that all course information would be online. “It seemed that this information was so widespread that the Course Announcement Bulletin was not necessary anymore,” Pesta said.

Pesta said that the Registrar’s Office started planning to re-introduce the CAB mainly in response to complaints from advisers who said Banner’s format made discussing classes with freshmen difficult.

“Advisers said, ‘It’s much easier when we have a book to flip back and forth rather than from screen to screen,’ ” Pesta said.

Pesta added that though advisers are interested in the entirety of the curriculum, upper-year students are more focused on concentration requirements and can easily find desired course descriptions on Banner.

Pesta said the University will print enough CABs for all students. “We can’t publish just for some people,” he said. “We can’t publish just for advisers or just for freshmen.”

Michelle Norworth ’10 said that she is happy the CAB will soon be available again. “I liked having a hard copy, and just the (Banner) listing wasn’t enough. … The one that they made gave better information and had concentration descriptions and requirements,” she said.

Lauren Fischer ’08, said she thinks the printed CAB makes it easier to browse courses. “I like having the actual packet in my hand,” she said, “and there’s just something comforting about having all the options right there.”

In order to save money, the registrar will try to limit the CAB to fewer than 180 pages. Section, lab and independent study details will not be included, and students will instead be directed to Banner. “For example, it will simply say that students need to register for a lab, and the advice will be to go to Banner to look up the information and register,” Pesta said.

Concentration descriptions and degree requirements will still be included, Pesta added.

Pesta declined to say how much the University pays to publish the CAB. He noted that by limiting the course bulletin to 180 pages, it will be possible to use a cheaper binding, ultimately saving enough to publish course updates, which include notification of time changes and cancellations, each semester before pre-registration.

Finn Yarbrough ’09, who published his own course bulletin last year in protest against the decision to stop using the printed books, told The Herald he was “exhilarated” when he heard the University would go back to printed CABs.

“I’m very pleased,” Yarbrough said. “In this particular issue, that’s exactly what I wanted to happen. It’s the job of the registrar to make it easier for students to choose classes.”

Yarbrough said that when he heard last year that the CAB would be discontinued, he was “distraught.” He attended several information sessions regarding Banner, finally deciding that if the University would not print the CAB, he would do it himself. He asked Professor Emeritus of Art Walter Feldman, who had designed CAB covers for about 25 years, to create a woodcut for the cover of his book.

Yarbrough’s efforts in making his own course bulletin resulted in support from the Undergraduate Council of Students and President Ruth Simmons’ discretionary fund, which helped fund the book’s printing costs.

“The printed CAB is really important,” Yarbrough said. “The history of these technologies is not linear. … The Internet cannot replace the book because they’re different means of communication,” he said.

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