Starting this semester, students hoping to add a course after the first week of classes are required to submit a PERM request and receive instructor approval before they are allowed to register officially.
This change is actually a return to the policies of the past rather than a brand new requirement. Before about six years ago, PERMs were required for all students who wished to add a course on the first day of classes or later.
There has been no change to the add deadline, which will still be the Monday following the second calendar week of instruction.
According to Pomona College Registrar Margaret Adorno, the policy alteration stemmed from an attempt to prevent roster confusion for the faculty. Adorno hopes the policy will streamline the course-adding process for students and professors alike by allowing for clearer communication, especially once instruction has begun.
“This year the Curriculum Committee decided to use PERMs for adds in the second week because it can be a problem when students add a course late and the faculty are unaware,” Adorno wrote in an e-mail to TSL.
The policy change represents an attempt by the Curriculum Committee, composed of the Vice President and Dean of the College, one Associate Dean of the College, six faculty members, the Registrar, and three students, to mitigate possible enrollment issues. The change addresses students joining classes after the first week and failing to alert the professor.
“It’s not that it’s too late to add after the first day or week of classes, just that faculty need to know who is joining their course after instruction has gotten under way,” Adorno said.
Adorno said that the change actually normalizes Pomona’s course-adding process, bringing the college more in line with the policies of similar institutions.
“Other institutions like Pomona normally require students to request instructor permission as soon as classes begin, like we used to,” Adorno said.
While some concern has been expressed over the implications the policy alteration may have on the so-called “shopping period,” Angela Pico PO ’16 added a class during the second week and claimed the process caused little stress.
“I had already spoken to the professor, so the process was just like adding any other course,” Pico said. “I just submitted the PERM request and showed up on Monday.”
Pomona history professor Kenneth Wolf was not aware of the change in policy until approached by TSL.
“My classes always develop organically, and I am normally adding or removing students from the roster for the first few weeks,” Wolf said.
Wolf also said that he had not heard anything from other faculty members that would necessitate such a change.
In an attempt to keep students informed about deadlines and changes, Adorno said she strives to consistently send reminders regarding course addition policies and the accompanying deadlines. She claimed they have had a large impact on the number of enrollment problems reported to the Registrar’s office.
“I started sending reminders about add, drop, and PNC [Pass/No Credit] deadlines years ago because so many students would miss the deadlines,” Adorno said. “It’s easy to miss or not think about deadlines when you’re very busy or new, so I figured reminders help everyone. It made a big difference, so I’ve done it ever since.”