Desperate to get into a class? Call the concierge.

Neill aims to help 'stuck' students on way to graduation

1/22/2008 | By: Jill Stockton  |

(Note: This service is for not for students who are already enrolled in a course and would like to change sections or instructors.)

For today’s students to earn their degrees on time, it requires navigation of semester class schedules that often read like airport arrival and departure boards: If I take this class this semester, it should fulfill the prerequisite to take that class next semester which should allow me to get into that other class two semesters from now.

But what happens if (sticking with the air travel metaphor) a connecting flight is overbooked or canceled or you miss it because you fell asleep during the layover? Those who study abroad, have scheduling conflicts or make honest mistakes may know this feeling too well.

So how can students who find themselves figuratively “stuck at the airport” get to their destination (graduation)?

That’s where Paul Neill comes in. Filling the role of what University President Milton Glick calls “the course concierge,” Neill, director of the University’s core curriculum, will work with such stuck students, helping expedite their trip to the graduation stage.

“So far I have been able to assist more than 15 students in need,” Neill said. “I expect that number to rise when the spring semester begins on Jan. 22.”

Interested students may contact Neill directly via e-mail at Students are asked to include their student “R (registration)” number, phone number, major, standing (junior, senior, etc.), and the prefix and number of the class in which they cannot enroll.

“I’ve asked Paul to do this because I want more students to graduate more quickly,” Glick said. “It benefits both students and the institution for students to earn their degrees as quickly as possible.”

In shaping the service, Neill has conducted research and worked with college leaders and student services staff to evaluate courses that can be enrollment challenges for students. He said core humanities, introductory science, engineering and business courses are subject areas where many students need help.

“Often we can help students find good alternatives when they feel that they have run out of options,” Neill said. “If you need a class, please contact me. The University wants to see all students succeed, and we mean it. We want students to take advantage of this opportunity.”


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