FSEM Week 14: 3 More Weeks

ADVISING NOTES: A policy that comes up at the end of every term is the one on Incomplete Grades. Since this policy was updated two years ago, it might be a good idea for all of us to review it:

Incomplete grades are issued on a case-by-case basis when students cannot complete the assigned work or final examination for a particular course due to unforeseen circumstances, e.g., illness, natural disaster, or family catastrophe. Supporting documentation may be required. A grade of I is issued in lieu of an actual grade for the course. To secure permission for an incomplete grade, the student and faculty member must communicate in writing (such as an email), clearly stating the reason for the incomplete, the work to be completed, and the due date. If appropriate, students must drop any subsequent course for which the incomplete course is a prerequisite. Students must complete the course work by the specified contract date which will be no later than the end of the following semester, whether enrolled in University course work or not. A grade of F will be applied automatically to the course after the completion deadline has passed if the student fails to complete the work or the faculty member submits no other grade.

It’s not too early for your students to start thinking about declaring a major, especially those who came in with a significant number of AP or transfer credits. Again, as the policy on major declaration changed slightly two years ago, here is a review of it:

A first time, first year B.A./B.S. student is eligible to declare a major by submitting the Major/Minor Declaration Form to the chairperson of the chosen department at the end of their first year or upon completion of 28 credits. To declare a major go to the appropriate academic department. The academic department will assign a major advisor.

Here’s the form for declaring a major (http://documents.umw.edu/document/majorminor-declaration-form-2/). In the spring, we will be encouraging students to declare their major by April, and there will be a variety of messaging directly to the first-year students to help them explore options. While you will have an opportunity to discuss the declaration process during individual advising meetings in the spring, it is not too early to start a discussion about major declaration prior to the end of the fall semester.

CO-CURRICULAR ANNOUNCEMENTS: Academic Services will be offering a series of Finals Prep Workshops on Monday, 11/26 (4 to 5 pm in HCC 111), Wednesday, 11/28 (6 to 7 pm in HCC 111), and Monday, 12/3 (10 to 11 am in HCC 210). They will discuss creating a study calendar, test taking strategies, and prepping for different finals formats. A flyer is available here. Our first-year students (and second year, and third year) are feeling pretty overwhelmed at this point in the semester, and this workshop can be a great help as they start to plan for finals. Please send this info to your students when you see them this week, and then again when they get back from Thanksgiving.

Simpson Library will be holding Walk-In Citation Clinics on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 4 pm on the 1st floor of the library near Popular Reading for the remainder of the semester. Great opportunity for students to get help with citing sources and using Zotero.

The Writing Center will hold its Pajama Writing Jam on Saturday, 12/1, from noon to midnight in HCC 427. No appointments necessary- this is another great opportunity for students to get help on their end-of-semester papers!

QEP ANNOUNCEMENTS: Now that the semester is almost over, I wanted to remind you to think about the strong students in your classes and consider recommending them for academic leadership positions including peer mentors, consultants in the Speaking or Writing Centers, Peer Academic Consultants, or tutors. Let me know if you don’t know who to contact, and I’ll point you in the right direction.

I’d like to remind you that the QEP office will need to collect four randomly selected samples of student writing from each section of FSEM. Samples can be sent digitally (ltams@umw.edu) or in hard copy (Anand Rao, ELC Department- Combs Hall).

As mentioned last week, a survey for all first-time students enrolled in FSEM about their First-Year Experience will go out this week.  Please encourage your students to complete the survey so that we can make well-informed, data-driven decisions about the program for next fall. Faculty surveys about the FYE are coming as well. And speaking of surveys, your students will start receiving emails from the Office of Institutional Analysis and Effectiveness requesting that they complete student course evaluations for their courses. As we all know, these evaluations are very important to faculty, both as a tool for continuous improvement and for faculty evaluation purposes. Please use your influence to impress upon them the importance of their participation in this process.