April 29, 2009

Class lists moving to electronic-only distribution

By admin

Beginning summer quarter 2009, class lists (both first- and tenth-day) will no longer be printed and distributed to instructors.

Why is the Registrar putting an end to this practice? For many reasons, but primarily because there is and has been for years an alternative in place: Class lists can be generated (and printed if desired) right from the “Teaching” tab of MyUW. Printed class lists become out-of-date quickly as students add or drop classes during those first weeks of a quarter; online class lists are always current. Plus, that alternative got a lot better recently with the recent addition of student photos to class lists. The popularity of the photo class lists will further lessen the need for the paper copies of names-only class lists printed from our office.

There are other reasons for the switch, too, all of which strengthen the decision. We hope that these make sense to you and you’ll appreciate our efforts to maintain and improve service while adjusting to other factors:

  • Resource savings – Each run of class lists requires a whopping 7 boxes of paper. Each box contains ten, 500-sheet packages. And since we printed class lists twice per quarter (on the first and tenth days), that’s 70,000 sheets of paper per quarter!
    According to Conservatree.org and the Environmental Defense Paper Calculator, one tree yields 8,333 sheets (16.67 reams) of copy paper. So a quarter’s class lists require almost eight and a half trees to print; that’s roughly 32 trees a year, or just over one ton of paper. Producing that much paper requires 19,075 gallons of waste water, 2,278 lbs. of solid waste, and 5,690 lbs. of greenhouse gases.
    Now those are some “green” reasons to stop printing class lists!
  • Cost savings - That much paper costs the University nearly two thousand dollars a year. Given the budget shortfall we’re facing, saving every penny is not only fiscally responsible, it’s necessary.
  • Labor savings – Printing and distributing printed class lists required a lot of staff time upwards of 24 hours a quarter that is better used in other ways. With the recent (and upcoming) staff cutbacks, finding ways to work smarter becomes even more important.
  • Protecting student data – Class lists contain personally-identifiable student information and therefore fall under FERPA regulations. Accordingly, old class lists must be shredded before being recycled at additional cost, time, and effort.

There are legitimate needs for advisers and other non-instructors to view class lists and we’ve made sure there are options for them:

  1. “DeptInfo” - The new Enterprise Data Warehouse initiative’s Class List functionality will soon be online. It will provide all the information available now through the existing Departmental Information service, but with common data, tools, and definitions, as well as a convenient web access. Sound good? Send an e-mail to dmc-support@u.washington.edu and specifically request access to the “New DeptInfo” Class List report.
  2. SDB – The SRF130 screen within the Student Database (SDB) provides class list information (instructions on the screen are available online).

Although we hope the impact of this change is minimal on you while providing significant savings to the University, we are happy to help answer your questions or address any concerns you may have.

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