MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXVI No. 4
March / April 2014
The Importance and Value
of Our Graduate Students
MIT "Town Gown Report"
to the City of Cambridge
One Investment Worth Making:
Graduate Student Housing
Analyzing the Draft Report by the
Graduate Student Housing Working Group
Executive Summary of the Draft Report to the Provost of the Graduate Student Housing Working Group
Observations from the Swartz Report
Community Engagement Process
Faculty Need a Campus Planning Committee as a Standing Committee
The Value of a Faculty Campus
Planning Committee
New Enrollment Tools to be Piloted
in CI-H/HW Subjects
Women as a Percentage of Total Undergraduates, Graduate Students, and Faculty: Academic Years 1901-2014
Printable Version

New Enrollment Tools to be Piloted in CI-H/HW Subjects

Diana Henderson

When pre-registration for fall term begins on May 1, a new suite of online enrollment tools will be piloted in subjects designated as Communication Intensive in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CI-H). CI-H subjects are part of the undergraduate Communication Requirement and include a subset concentrating more particularly on the writing process, which are designated CI-HW subjects. The changes are important for undergraduates, advisors, and departments as the tools will help prioritize decisions made during pre-registration; thus advisor-student consultations during late spring, and related departmental planning over the summer, will become more meaningful.

The tools and process changes in this pilot have been designed to ease chronic enrollment issues for students, faculty, advisors, and departmental administrators involved with CI-H subjects. These are subjects that have enrollment caps for educational reasons mandated by the faculty and upheld by the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement, and are part of the only “paced” General Institute Requirement (GIR). Therefore, it is crucial that students who need these subjects to proceed in a timely way towards their degrees receive priority.

This pilot is a subset of a larger enrollment project that began two years ago, when we surveyed all instructors, and is part of the Online Registration Phase Two Initiative.

The big change for continuing students this spring is that pre-registration for these CI-H subjects becomes necessary if they wish to be considered for prioritized placement.

They must request CI-H/HW subjects by June 16 to be eligible for advance scheduling into the subjects. After that date they can only add themselves to waitlists, to be considered by permission of the instructor after fall Registration Day.

Freshmen, other new students, and students returning from leaves will be able to request CI-H/HW subjects during Orientation in the fall. Spaces will be available for them in accordance with the prioritization principles, with the goal that all students will be able to proceed to an appropriate CI-H or HW subject swiftly and can benefit from an entire semester of study.

In the fall, instructors and advisors as well as students will see the benefit of the new system, when the waitlists with real-time information on openings will be available for CI-H/HW subjects.

I am the business lead for the project, and the Office of Faculty Support, Registrar’s Office, and IS&T are jointly providing sponsorship and staffing. Faculty champions for this change include the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement (SOCR) and the SHASS Dean’s Office.

Why CI-H/HW subjects?

CI-H/HW subjects were chosen for the pilot for a number of reasons:

  • They are part of the Communication Requirement, which is a General Institute Requirement for all undergraduates.
  • The HASS-D Lottery, which was the primary tool for limiting enrollment in some of these subjects, has been discontinued.
  • The Communication Requirement is paced. Students are required to complete an appropriate CI-H/HW subject each year.
  • Enrollment in CI-HW subjects is prioritized according to rules set by SOCR; not all students have an equal chance of registering. For example, a CI-HW Required upperclassman who has not completed a CI-HW subject would have a higher priority than an upperclassman who has completed it.

June 16 is the deadline for continuing students to select preferences for fall CI-H/HW subjects. This is the only way they will be scheduled into these subjects! If students wait beyond this deadline, they can add themselves to the waitlist, and they will be prioritized lower on the waitlist than those who met the deadline but were waitlisted instead of scheduled. Please stress this to your advisees, who may be under the assumption that they can always register “later.”

What’s next?

During and after the pilot, the tools used in this pilot will be assessed by the project team: please let them know your experiences and suggestions by e-mailing them at Any future expansion will be considered as part of the Education Systems Roadmap currently being developed.

We hope that these tools will help departments offering CI-Hs to plan more effectively; assist advisors in locating appropriate classes with available space more easily; allow our students to locate and join the appropriate classes from the start of the term; and support our faculty and instructors who teach these important Communication Intensive subjects in using the full semester effectively.

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