Faculty members provide consultation and support as students discover and explore fields of interest in their first year, decide and declare their majors as sophomores, and then complete a major as a substantial part of their junior and senior years. During their final two years, students are no longer expected to meet with their dean each semester to discuss class selection; instead, they meet and consult with advisers and other faculty in their major departments and often minor programs or departments as well. In addition to overseeing completion of major/minor requirements, faculty advisers in the departments discuss overall course planning during the final two years and plans for post-graduate life. These meetings should take place at the following times:
- during November preregistration for the spring semester, and
- during April preregistration for the fall semester, and
- during the first week of each semester if the advisee has dropped or added any courses in their major or the advisee was away from the college during preregistration.
Notes from these meetings, especially updates to a student’s path through the major, should be recorded in the Online Major Work Plan so as to be visible to both faculty and students.
Faculty will be invited to participate in programming sponsored by the Dean’s Office to encourage explorations of possible majors. Departments and programs will also be expected to host “Departmental Information Sessions” each semester to allow prospective and current majors to gather, meet faculty, and learn about program requirements and opportunities.
Departments differ considerably in how they divvy up the role of major advising among their members. Some allow students to choose a major adviser from any continuing faculty member; others assign advisers to work with a particular graduating class, or assign a sophomore adviser, junior adviser, and senior adviser. All of these models have advantages and disadvantages, but in any case, it is important that departments communicate clearly with students about how major advising works in that department. The Provost’s Office collects and distributes information about major advising at the start of each year, but we encourage departments to make that information available on department websites as well.
Sponsoring an Independent Major
For information on the responsibilities involved in serving as an adviser for a student completing an independent major, consult this page in the section on Majors and Minors.