By GEORGE PHELAN
Alterations to the major declaration process are among the many changes the University of Mary Washington implemented for the new school year.
The new process, official as of Aug. 27, will require students to fill out a major declaration form, largely consisting of information such as the student’s name, intended major and Banner ID. There will also be an additional area for comments pertinent to the student’s major or minor alteration of choice.
Forms are available at the Office of the Registrar in Lee Hall and in the chosen academic department, and may be downloaded from the UMW website. This use of a paper form is in contrast to the prior, predominantly internet based method, which did not require meeting with an advisor.
“We began to look at the process and felt like students had to sit down and meet with someone before they made such a major decision in their life,” said Registrar Rita Dunston. “So this summer we looked at the process and decided to go back to a paper version and give students the opportunity to meet with an advisor [or] someone in[the] department and then make the change in the Registrar office.”
A signature from the chosen major’s department head will be necessary to complete the form. The department chair will proceed to send the file to the Office of the Registrar. Once on file, the major will be declared official for any B.A. or B.S. student who has successfully completed 28 credits or more.
Additionally, the form will give students the ability to declare one or two minors. Second or third majors may be declared, each requiring a separate signature from their respective department head. Students may also use the form to change or drop their current major or minor for the 2012-2013 school year.
“I think it’s something that should have been done a long time ago,” said Cesar Ramirez, a sophomore Philosophy student. “I think that department chairs will know that the most difficult things about a particular major that a student may not be aware of, and the student can declare his or her strengths and weaknesses and may decide that the major is not for him or her.”
Further changes will occur, as the system will move away from having to provide students with Registration Permission Numbers, or “RPNs.”
“The way the system was working was the student was assigned a seven digit number which then had to be provided to the student by the advisor,” said Fred Pierce, associate provost for enrollment management and student services. “We’ve altered Banner SSB where the advisor can just remove [an] advising hold after the student and advisor have met and discussed a plan of action. The advisor removes the advising hold and the student is free to register without entering any RPN.”
The goal of these changes is to make the experience easier for the students and allow them more time to focus on their classes.
“We hope all of these changes will make the experience better,” said Pierce. “We make the process as easy as possible for them in terms of navigating the system at UMW and keeping them focused on their academic pursuits; and the quicker we can get them assigned with academic advisors and keep those conversations focused on their academic objectives.”
The deadline to declare is Tuesday, Sep. 11.