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College Expands Enrollment Options, Finds New Way to Involve Parents

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by Alan Finch
Freelance Writer

Administrators at Wallace College are making headlines with a recent decision allowing parents to enroll in place of their children. The new registration status, defined as “Proxy” by the college, was approved last night by Wallace president Dr. Sheila Jefferson.

Believed to be the first of its type in the nation, the new registration option permits parents of current Wallace students to register for up to 12 credit hours per semester. According to reports, the cap is designed to encourage students to register themselves for an additional 3 credit hours – or 15 total each semester – in order to graduate on time. Proxy registrees attend class and complete assignments as a typical student would. In addition, they are expected to spend one hour each week reviewing notes and information with their child.

Wallace faculty and administrators are split in their opinions regarding the change. Dr. Susan Strathmore, president of the faculty senate, stated, “We’ve received mixed feedback. Certainly, some faculty expressed concerns that actual students won’t learn the material themselves. That’s why we pressed for the material review expectation in the policy. We see that as an excellent win-win.”

Career Center Director Lindsy Dupris takes a more guarded view of the policy’s impact. According to Ms. Dupris, she has received phone calls from several campus recruiters, all of whom are reportedly adopting a “wait and see” attitude of future Wallace graduates.

Others, however, are more enthusiastic of the new enrollment option. Basic Composition instructor Terri Burkowitz is optimistic the increase in proxy enrollees will positively impact course participation. Citing her experience working with nontraditional students, Burkowitz said, “They (nontraditional students) arrive to class early, sit in the front row, and aren’t afraid to contribute. It’s like pulling teeth to get the younger ones to do any of that.”

Sophomore English major Jessica Cho is hopeful the new policy will result in expanded career possibilities. “My parents told me I could be anything I want, even a doctor. But science is, like, really hard. Knowing my dad, a heart surgeon, can take those classes for me takes my dream one step closer to reality.” Cho plans to change her major to Pre-Med within days.

Junior Trisha Stratton is equally excited. “My mom is already my best friend. Now we can be study partners, too!”

While the policy currently pertains only to the classroom, director of student activities Dr. Henry Espinoza is exploring how the decision might be expanded to include student organization and campus involvement. According to Dr. Espinoza, “This opportunity could bring about new levels of campus participation the likes of which we’ve never seen.”

The new policy is slated to take effect this fall.

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