Roughly a week before enlistment, a list of the next term’s course offerings is released. Students are able to plan their timetables ahead by picking their preferred time slots—and often times preferred professors—for the courses that they plan to take during the following term.
A survey conducted by The LaSallian reveals that 93 out of 104 students consider the professor listed in the course offerings when choosing which classes to enlist in. Majority have experienced enlisting in a particular class under a certain professor only to find out come the first day of the new term, a different professor was assigned to that class.
The good and bad about “shuffling”
Dubbed “shuffling of professors” by students, this occurrence is not at all new during enlistment period. Of those surveyed, 103 students claim to have experienced meeting a different professor from the one listed in the course offerings—an incident leaving most disappointed or frustrated.
“I feel disappointed because I adjust my schedule based on the timeslots of the professors I want,” Dennyse Orlido (II, ADV) shares. “I choose to consider the professors [offered] when devising my [schedule] because I want to maximize the learning [opportunity]. I also want to ensure that I can handle the workload of the professor,” she continues.
Because there are certain professors, mostly the “terror” ones, that some Lasallians tend to avoid, these students are left to dislike shuffling of professors. More than anything, however, students become frustrated at this phenomenon because it defeats the very purpose of enlisting – to reserve slots in preferred classes.
“Most of us are aiming to be in the Dean’s List, so that we could enroll ahead of others to have our ‘dream schedule’—a [perfect] combination of time, subject, and more importantly, the professor,” Colwin Tanhehco (III, AB-CAM) remarks. For Tanhehco, and many others, the shuffling of professors is unfair on the part of the students, especially those who have worked hard to land an advanced enrollment spot.
Because of this, students convey that if the professors reflected in the course offerings are bound to be changed, it might be better to leave the names out of the list instead. Some others are “already used to it” and state that adjustment is always an option when they get a professor they did not enlist for. Some respondents also voice out that professor shuffling isn’t always a bad thing.
“Sometimes, shuffling is actually a good thing because, you can learn more from the professor you didn’t expect compared to the professor you initially signed up for,” Nat Ermino (II, AB-DSM) points out.
Before the list of course offerings is released, it is consolidated by the academic assistants of the different colleges. The vice chairpersons, on the other hand, are the ones who formulate the actual list itself for their respective departments. After considering various aspects such as schedule, professor specialization, and subjects that are in demand, among others, the vice chairpersons are given the task of crafting their respective department’s course offerings for the next term. The process of assigning professors to subjects is left to their sole discretion.
Theology and Religious Education Department Vice Chairperson Dr. Willard Enrique Macaraan narrates, “The main goal is to provide these able and willing faculty members of subjects come the next term with consideration of the following: [University-implemented] rules and regulations on loading; faculty preferences and availability; and faculty deloading privileges like research load, administrative load, among others.
Atty. Antonio Ligon, Vice Chairperson of the Commercial Law department, further explains that he considers the expertise, the subjects usually taught by a professor, as well as the availability of the professors when preparing the list of course offerings. In most cases, the vice chairpersons issue a form to their department’s professors to ask for their schedule preference and availability. Some vice chairpersons also hold one-on-one sessions with the department’s professors to consult with them regarding their preferred schedules.
Shuffling does not only have a bearing on students. Even professors admit that they are affected when it occurs. “Sometimes, [the department usually does it] at the last minute before the term begins, (we) will be given a different schedule than what was originally planned,” Cesar Unson Jr. of the Philosophy Department admits in Filipino. “It gets frustrating and inconvenient on my part because even before the term begins, I have already prepared my lesson plans for the next term,” he furthers.
Professor “shuffling” explained
Shuffling, however, is still inevitable in most cases. Macaraan explains that the University Registrar’s Office requires the different academic departments to submit the list of course offerings during midterms week of the preceding term. Because of this, the departments usually include names of professors who have vaguely committed to teaching the offered subjects next term. “The names that are submitted to the University are usually temporary assignments, since the final teaching assignments are only completed at a later date,” ends Macaraan.
Professors back out of their initial assignments because of a number of reasons, including sickness, resignation, acceptance of scholarship grants, appointments in government posts, conflicts in job schedules – especially those who teaches only part-time – dissolution of sections, creation of new sections, hiring of new faculty, and the like, Philosophy Department Vice Chairperson Dr. Leni Garcia explains.
“Conflicts in schedule occur and so we have to reshuffle the faculty assignment. Sometimes, faculty members resign or take an unplanned leave of absence for various reasons shortly before a term begins. These things cannot be helped,” she states. “The faculty assignments are subject to change until things settle within the term,” Garcia says, pointing out that there are still a lot uncontrollable factors that affect the shuffling of professors. All vice chairpersons argue that the departments have no intention of hastily changing professor assignments.
Gerardo Mariano, Chair of the Communication Department, reminds other departments that professor shuffling should not be “a form of deception just to draw students [to enlist in a specific subject] only to have the intention of replacing the faculty name when the term starts.”