Claremont Colleges Change Cross-Enrollment Policies

Pomona faculty approved changes to the college’s cross-enrollment policy at an all-staff meeting on Oct. 7. The changes are aimed at reducing the complexity of cross-enrollment procedures and granting more liberty to students taking classes at other Claremont colleges.Previously, Pomona students were not allowed to cross enroll during their first year, sophomores were allotted one class off-campus per semester, and upperclassmen could take up to 50 percent of their courses at another college. The new rule permits freshmen to take one class per semester at another college. In addition, students cannot take more than 40 percent of their four-year course-loads on other campuses.Courses offered by joint departments, such as African studies, Asian American studies, and Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies, are exempt from cross-enrollment constraints. Changes to the cross-enrollment policy will not impact the requirements of department majors. Current students will also be able to choose to follow the policies in place at the time of their entrance to Pomona.A joint faculty-student Curriculum Committee has been discussing proposals to reform the restrictions on off-campus classes since early September. Potential revisions to the academic catalogue and student handbook have also periodically been brought up to the Curriculum and Academic Procedures Committees since 2005. The current Curriculum Committee is composed of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, an Associate Dean of the College, the Registrar, faculty members and three students selected by the ASPC.Registrar Margaret Adorno points to the need for a policy change as a response to confusion over exceptions to the existing policy.“The fact that there were so many exemptions made talking about cross-enrollment unwieldy,” she said.The 2008-09 academic catalogue includes a lengthy paragraph detailing the many subjects and specific courses throughout the consortium that were not previously included under the terms of cross-enrollment. These exemptions range from intercollegiate departments to a blanket acceptance of any 5-C math class as a Pomona College equivalent.“If you look at the most recent catalogue, the exceptions have gotten larger and more amorphous,” said Associate Registrar Adam Pave.The changes to the cross-enrollment restrictions were not made arbitrarily. When Pomona College students needed to justify taking off-campus classes, exceptions were made that created an intricate system for determining what classes should be included in the rules of cross-enrollment.“The main thing was that when people read the rules, they got confused,” said Pomona Professor of History Victor Silverman. According to Head Sponsor Zach Barnett PO ’11, one of the students-at-large on the Curriculum Committee, the rules were not only convoluted but also diminished the role that faculty advisors could take in shaping the academic experience of their advisees.“Before, the rule was so complicated and restrictive that it almost did the advisor’s job for them,” he said. Increasing the discretionary power of the advisor was one of the main goals of the new policy. Ultimately, an advisor’s signature will be the decisive factor in a student’s ability to take classes off-campus.“Simplicity is always helpful, and with cross-enrollment being effectively a choice made by student and advisor, rather than reference to a list, it will lead to meaningful discussions about why and when students add courses from the other colleges to their program,” Adorno said.There are some worries that increasing the power of advisors will not necessarily have a positive impact on the education of future Pomona students. Some first year students have expressed dissatisfaction with the academic guidance they have received.“Unfortunately some of my colleagues don’t pay much attention to their advisees,” Silverman said.In granting more freedom and authority to faculty advisors, the new policy is supposed to strengthen the position of students in matters of cross-enrollment. “We’re leaving it up to students because students should be empowered within their own education,” Silverman said.More than just empowering students, the new policy is aimed at strengthening a Pomona identity. The distinction between a Pomona degree and a consortium education plays a key role in cross-enrollment restrictions and was taken into account with the policy reforms.ASPC Commissioner for Academic Affairs Scott Levy PO ’10 serves on the Curriculum Committee. He described the interaction between Pomona and 5C academics as “a balance.” Although he recommends that Pomona students take advantage of what the consortium has to offer them, he said that they “should also be taking classes at Pomona.”“We want students to get a Pomona education,” Silverman said. “We also want them to have the great range of courses that comes from being in Claremont.”Charley Vallejo-Anderson PO ’13 describes his own academic experience at Pomona as being closely tied to the 5Cs as a whole. By taking an Arabic class at CMC, Vallejo-Anderson has already experienced cross-enrollment without having difficulties at the registrar’s office. “A big reason why I applied here is because of the consortium,” he said.Hearing of the changes to the cross-enrollment policy, Vallejo-Anderson was not concerned, however, that his or future students’ educations would be negatively impacted.“This is a small change,” Levy said. “It’s not something that students will feel in a dramatic way.”

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply