This week, the Gallatin School of Individualized Study is attempting a vastly different form of course selection by giving students a taste of potential future courses during Visiting Week.
Since Monday, Gallatin students had the option to sit in on any class of their choosing and will be able to observe classes throughout the week.
“The invitation to the students to participate in Visiting Week came from the faculty in response to requests from the Student Council to enable the students to have more information about faculty and the classes they teach before registration,” said Gallatin dean of students Susanne Wofford.
After the Student Council brought it to the attention of Gallatin administration, Wofford signed off on the plan and she expects the visiting week policy to continue before
registration each semester.
“Over time students will be able to visit the classes of a number of Gallatin faculty and will learn more about the resources available in the school,” Wofford said. “Of course we could always decide not to if it doesn’t work.
But, yes, right now my expectation is that this would continue as a plan.”
One of the obstacles of Visiting Week is the possibility that it may disrupt the usual flow of classes. Although Steinhardt professor of Educational Sociology and Higher Education Floyd Hammack supports students making informed decisions about coursework, he expressed some concern about the new
“It might not make much of a difference in a large lecture class, but having a bunch of strangers walk in and out of a class at this point in the semester would harm the pace and process well established by the students in the class and the instructor,” Hammack said.
Hammack also noted that at the beginning of the semester there is an opportunity for students to attend classes provisionally, and they are able to add or drop classes during this period of time.
“I am not in favor of seeing education entirely through consumers’ eyes,” Hammack said.
But in an email notifying students of Visting Week, the student council noted that professors can turn students away at their own discretion.
Despite the concerns, students seem receptive to the new plan.
Gallatin senior Ashima Talwar, who also serves as president of the Gallatin Student Council, was pleased with the enforcement of the plan.
“The consensus we came to was that students should experience Gallatin professors and their teaching styles for themselves rather than reading about them secondhand,” Talwar said. “From those conversations, Gallatin Visiting Week was born.”
Although Gallatin freshman Rachel Wang has already chosen her coursework for the spring semester, she has friends who have already begun taking advantage of visiting
“It’ll be helpful because Gallatin classes are structured like seminars, and sitting in [on classes] really gives you an idea of how the class works,” Wang said.
CAS freshman Jesse Hanlan said that the College of Arts and Science provides similar precedent for the new Gallatin process.
“While you can’t take them for credit, you can still sit in on them and get a feel for the class,” Hanlan said.
LSP sophomore Lauren Weiss said the Gallatin program offers a nice alternative for professor and class recommendations.
“For me, I would like it for electives. I choose classes based on what is required for my major,” Weiss said. “If I have options, I use ratemyprofessor.com or talk to other students.”
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 14 print edition. Charlie Spector is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Weekend Roam: Little Germany
- WSN Editorial Board reflects on spring semester events
- Strawberry Festival promises delicious, intergalactic fun
- Clive Davis Institute collaborates with DJ Swivel
- Best places to dine on dumplings
- 'Heroes' is not super enough for Xbox Live film program launch
- NYU SLAM sees victory through 'badidas' campaign
- Victoria Ettore elected student council president
- Hester Street Fair hosts diverse vendors, delicious food