The Core – The Only Way Out Is In

Important Dates:

Oct 26th – last day to drop a course with a ‘W’

Sometime after Oct 26th – students will see their registration dates. The reason it happens then is that all drops can be processed and we can have an accurate count on who is a Senior, Junior, etc. So for example, if someone drops a course they might go from being a Senior to a Junior and we want that accurately reflected in the registration queue.

This week’s guest blogger is Sandy Keller. Sandy provides a brief FAQ on the relationship between the CLS Core and General Education. At the end you can find a link to a Jing tutorial that uses visuals to express the same ideas .

CLS Core  FAQ:  How do I know when a General Education course counts in General Education and the CLS Core?

Answer:  General Education requires the completion of 48 credits.  The total number of General Education credits required to complete the minimum credit and course requirements in each category is 39 credits.  The remaining 9 General Education credits required to complete 48 General Education credits are General Education “elective” credits; the 9 “elective credits can double count in General Education and the CLS Core.

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The easiest way to see the courses fulfilling General Education is to select the “expand all” button at the top of a student’s Advisement Report.  Expanding all requirements permits the advisor to see the courses fulfilling each General Education category and more importantly, to identify the GE category where the student has completed more than the minimum number of credits (a.k.a. General Education “elective” credits) which may also fulfill CLS Core requirements.

An example will hopefully illustrate this concept.  The “Self and Society” General Education category requires the completion of 3 credits.  After expanding the Advisement Report, the advisor sees two courses listed in the “Self and Society” category, PSY 100 (3 credits) and SOC 110 (3 credits).  Because the “Self and Society” category requires the completion of 3 credits, SOC 110 is “elective” General Education and can be used to complete a CLS Core Social Science requirement (unless the student is majoring in a discipline found in the SOC department).

Another example involves the “Math/Logical Systems” General Education category.  After expanding the Advisement Report, the advisor sees MTH 145 completing the required math course and MTH 150 completing the second course required in this General Education category.  MTH 150 cannot be used to fulfill a CLS Core BS requirement because it is fulfilling the minimum two course requirement in the “Math/Logical Systems” General Education category.  In other words, MTH 150 is counting toward the minimum 39 required General Education credits.

Jing Tutorial – http://screencast.com/t/2gQtiq5vxYwi

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Managing your advisees

Important Dates:

  • Last day to drop (with a ‘W’) – full semester courses – October 26th
  • Undergraduate Registration begins -Winter Intercession-Nov 8thSpring - Nov 12th

Departments differ on how their students are assigned advisees. Some departments require that their advisees receive at least one one-on-one appointment prior to registration and others use large-group advising to get the job done. Regardless of how things are done, every faculty member meets with students to some degree individually. This week I would like discuss methods for arranging meeting times.

When I first started in the Department of Educational Studies I noticed many of my colleagues posted lists on their doors and had students physically sign up. Then Google Docs came along and many advisors migrated to online sign-up docs. At first we wondered if our students were sophisticated enough to figure out how to use a Google doc, but the first time I tried it I had no problems. It was convenient for students and if they needed to cancel or change their appointment they could go online and change the doc. Here’s my recipe:

1. Create a Google doc. In the doc create a 2 or 3 column table. The left column lists all the available time slots and dates. The right column is for student names.

2. Share the doc with your advisees. Copy a list of their emails from WINGS and then paste it in the email field when you click “share”. In the comment field give them instructions.

3. Sit back and watch the table fill up.

If you want more information provide more columns.

I encourage readers to share their successful methods for scheduling appointments in the comments section below.

My Planner 

Students have access to new WINGS services. My Planner allows students to plot out all courses needed, by term, for their whole career here at UW-L. Check out the tutorial to get a better idea of how it works and promote it with your students! Encourage them to map out all of their courses. This helps empower them and take the burden off of yourself, enabling you to have more meaningful discussions with your advisees.

Another useful tool students have is the Schedule Planner. This tool allows students to make a list of courses they want to register for  (import it from their shopping cart) and then give the computer some parameters – no early morning classes! – and then see all the possible variations of a schedule that are available. They can look at only open classes or include closed ones as well. This will save them plenty of time so that they can actually read for class!

With all this new enhanced productivity maybe we can get a raise and lower tuition!

Speaking of dreaming, another important aspect to advising students is stress management. We are in the middle of a long stretch of classes. Assignments and tests are rolling in and so you are up to your neck in grading. It is important to take a moment and relax. Turn out the lights, turn on the sound and put the video below on full-screen and change the quality to HD. Watch.

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Better know a UW-L office – CLS Dean’s Office

Did you know that when you have a question regarding advising you can call or email your Dean’s office for help? Peter, Kathy, Tim, and Sandy are happy to help you. Below you will see the specific majors each of us handle.

Tim Walls: works with Art, Theatre Arts, Music, English, Modern Languages, Communication Studies, and Philosophy majors – 785-6634

Sandy Keller: works with all Education students after they have been admitted to the School of Education – 785-8123

Kathy Elgin: works with our Psychology Majors – 785-5454

Peter Stovall: works with Anthropology, Archaeology, History, Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, Women’s Studies majors as well as teacher candidates not yet admitted to the School of Education -785-8446

Besides providing advising support for faculty and students we also perform the following duties:

  • degree checks of all CLS graduates
  • enter substitutions/exceptions in students’ AR reports (upon consent of department chairs)
  • sign add/drop forms
  • consider appeals of academically ineligible students – we then work with these students to help them get into “good standing”
  • process change-of-program/plan forms
  • help students negotiate transfer credits – both before and after taking the transferred courses

One of our core responsibilities is to maintain the integrity of UW-L’s academic policies. Generally, we are not designated as a student’s official advisor – faculty and other Academic Advising units take on this role – however, we frequently meet one-on-one with students to help them understand and sometimes fix their AR reports. We also meet with students to perform degree checks. We want to help them make the most efficient choices so that they can graduate in a timely manner.

So if you are having a difficult time making sense of a student’s AR report, want to clarify matters in regard to a student’s degree requirements, have questions about General Education/Core requirements, or have questions about a 2nd degree or minor outside your area of expertise please feel free to contact us.

Don’t forget to bookmark the Advisingsaurus!

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Welcome to the CLS Advisingsaurus

Each Tuesday the staff in the CLS Dean’s office will be sending you a link to our latest advising nugget. Our blog will be a potpourri of advising information, advice, testimonials, and other relevant content. We hope it will be interesting and useful for both new and seasoned faculty. In addition to our weekly morsels we have created an advising portal chalk full of advising information for your perusal.

Check out the Advisingsaurus website as well!

Our first topic is brought to you by Kathy Elgin. Kathy advises in both the CLS Dean’s office and in the Psychology Department. Kathy begins our blog by discussing the advising relationship.

This week’s blogger – Kathy Elgin

With a counseling background, no surprise to find that I think Academic Advising begins with creating a relationship. As the advisor you are responsible for starting and defining the relationship with the student. It could be as simple as inviting your advisees to come meet and talk with you. From your WINGS Advisor Center you can click all the buttons and send one email to all your advisees inviting them to stop in to talk. They will need to know where and when to find you and when you want to talk about academic advising. They might even wonder if they could use technology to ‘meet’. Can they instant message, Skype, text, or phone you?  If they have you for a class they may ask you if it is all right to inquire about drop/add dates during your lectures? The only way they will know is if you let them know your preference.

The first time I email, phone, Skype, or meet face to face with a new advisee I begin defining the advising relationship. I like to do this even if I know the student in another context: they are a student in a class I teach or they dog sit my dog. Those are relationships with different boundaries and different purposes. I might say: The faculty in the department of psychology believe it is important for you to have someone who knows the psychology coursework, the requirements for graduation from UWL, and the value of liberal arts education to assists you as you make decisions about your education here at UWL. I hope I can also direct you to university resources when you have concerns and questions outside of the academic arena. I play around with different versions for different settings and different students. Find a few versions that work for you and your students. All of my versions include a reference to the student as decision maker, me as an expert on the course work in the department, and the possibility of referring the student to other resources.

A relationship is about personal exchange. Now that you are talking or emailing, ask the student a relevant open ended question, listen to the response, and follow up by connecting what you heard to academics. It helps if you ask a question that is related to academics. One of my ‘go to’ questions is:

What draws you to psychology as a major?

Student: All my friends tell me I am a good listener they are always telling me their problems.

Me: Wow, you know you could build on those skills by taking a course like Empathic Listening.

Another Student: I want a job like Halle Berry had in Gothika.

Me: She plays a psychiatrist, which is a specialty field in medicine. Psychology is a strong choice for pre-med but you will want to make sure you have the science foundation courses. Can I make a suggestion?

Student: Yes

Me: (looking up contact on UWL website) Make an appointment to meet with Scott Stine, the advisor for pre-med, and take a look at this web page about pre-med when you have a minute

Like magic you having a meaningful conversation about the student’s interests, ideas, and hopes while connecting it to academics. The next meeting where you converse about registration now has a context for each of you.

Kathy Elgin

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