2006 Advising Forum

On August 31 and September 1, LSA Student Academic Affairs held advising forums that brought concentration advisors and undergraduate administrative staff together for updates, reminders, and discussion of issues relevant to advising. We distributed material that addresses many questions related to declaring concentrations and minors, diploma application and concentration release procedures, what advisors should know about study abroad, interpreting the posting of transfer credit, the new on-line student file, information from Honors, and more. We focused a lot on resources for concentration advisors on-line, with Phil Gorman (SAA Director of Advising Technology) providing information about the On-Line File, the Advising Report, the SAA Intranet, and the on-line degree audit. JoAnn Peraino from the Dean's Office talked about Teaching Support as a resource in Wolverine Access. Much of this information can be found here in the on-line Reference Manual and in the comments below. Particularly if you have questions about technology use and access procedures, please read the On-Line Resources section very carefully.

Updates Since the Forum

Updates Since the Forum:

Important updates to the Reference Manual

  1. There is a new web site where advisors and/or staff are expected to communicate both declarations and releases for non-LSA students taking LSA Minors. The site is at: https://webapps.lsa.umich.edu/data/minors/minorslogins.asp. Access is granted by Rob Wilke (rfw@umich.edu). Click here for instructions for using the site. (Reference Manual, Page 13)
  2. Access and Compliance Agreement. In order to be granted access to the on-line file, you must first agree to proper use of the information. The Access and Compliance Agreement can be found at https://sitemaker.umich.edu/ugstufilecompliance. You will be notified via email as soon as your access has been approved. (Reference Manual, Page 8)

Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips:

Many concentrations now have their checklists available in the On-Line File. It is possible to email a student's concentration progress sheet to him/her by following these simple steps:

  1. Click on Progress Towards Degree Worksheets in the Contents area of the student's file
  2. Scroll to the appropriate concentration worksheet (make sure it is up-to-date) and click Add
  3. Click on Printable View
  4. Go to File, drag to Send, then over to Page by E-Mail
  5. Type in student's email address, and send



Each concentration department/program has a general advisor liaison (see list in Reference Manual and on SAA Intranet), who is very interested in working with you whenever you think it would be helpful. Your liaison is an excellent resource who can answer questions about LSA requirements, procedures, and protocol, and who is happy to discuss undergraduate issues with you. Below are some ways to make the most of this relationship:

  1. If you have an email group for concentrators, ask your liaison if s/he wants to be put on it
  2. Invite your liaison to come visit your department
  3. Invite your liaison to visit courses in your department
  4. Get your liaison’s perspective on undergraduate issues/questions that your department wants to address. If appropriate, invite the liaison to occasional curriculum committee meetings and ask your liaison for comments about your department’s website
  5. If possible, have your liaison come to concentration advisor training (good for thegeneral advisor’s understanding of concentration advising in your department and for information s/he can provide/questions s/he can answer)
  6. Consider asking your liaison to sit in on a few concentration advising appointments, and if you wish, ask if you can sit in on some general advising appointments
  7. If there’s a meeting of GSIs/training of your department GSIs, invite your liaison to come for a few minutes, introduce himself/herself, talk briefly about when referrals to advising would be helpful and appropriate
  8. Provide all of your new faculty with the name of your liaison, and offer that person a as a resource
  9. Give the names and contact info of new faculty in your department to your liaison for welcoming outreach; new people tend to be very receptive to anyone who can help them grow more comfortable/familiar with a new situation, and it can be a nice way to establish a connection between faculty and advising right from the beginning.

Departmental Internship Policy: When advising students, clarify your department’s internship policy: do you ever give credit for internship experience? Under what circumstances? What procedure should students follow? Can the credit count towards the concentration? Can you or concentrators in the department offer any assistance in finding internships?

Office of International Programs information: check out the newly polished website: www.lsa.umich.edu/oip and note there are links specifically designed for faculty and advisors. Main thing to remember: UM study abroad credit is considered in-residence credit, not transfer credit!

Concentration release forms: some reminders

  1. When filling out a Release Form:
    • Fill out the Release Form clearly and make sure to list current elections if they are required for the concentration
    • Always be sure to check students’ concentration GPA
      Note: see p. 7, #2 in the 2006-2007 Reference Manual for information on calculating the concentration GPA. If there are any departmental concentration GPA requirements beyond the overall 2.0 (e.g. minimum GPA for prerequisites or for any particular concentration courses), they must be stipulated in the LSA Bulletin.
    • Be careful when choosing cognates. Make sure the student is not using cognate course(s) for the area distribution plan
    • Remind students they must also apply for graduation on-line in Wolverine Access Student Business. If students are unsure whether this step has been completed or if they are having problems applying on-line refer them to the Academic Auditors Office.
    • Release Forms are accepted by e-mail if they are sent directly to the Academic Auditors Office
  2. Academic Auditors Office e-mail address: lsa.auditors@umich.edu. Use this address to send original Release Form or changes on the Release Form for individual students or to ask questions. This address can also be given to students to contact the Auditors.
  3. Deadline to submit graduation paper work: please encourage your students to apply for graduation early, preferably by the last day of classes in the term prior to their last term. Receiving the degree audit early will inform students of outstanding graduation requirements well before the drop/add deadline in the final semester, allowing them plenty of time to work out their final schedule and assure that they will meet their requirements for graduation.
  4. Deferring graduation: if you know a student is deferring graduation, please remember to refer him/her to the Academic Auditors Office to update graduation paper work.
  5. SAA website: the senior portion of the website is continuously updated, particularly graduation information.

The new Student Academic Affairs Intranet: If you have questions about access or suggestions about what would be helpful on this site, please contact Phil Gorman, our Director of Advising Technology (pjgorman@umich.edu).

Transfer Credit guidelinesInformation for Students interested in earning UM Degree credit at another institution, including UM—Dearborn and UM—Flint

  1. Up to 60 credits may be transferred from other colleges and universities to count toward the 120 required for a UM degree. Two-year programs (community colleges) are an option for students who have fewer than 60 credits; once you have 60 credits we no longer accept cc transfer credit. Thirty of your last 60 credits must be taken in residence (on AA campus or a UM sponsored study abroad program). Note that all pre-health prerequisite courses should be elected at a four-year institution.    
  2. Before you invest time and money in taking courses be sure the credit will transfer. You can check the web site for Transfer Credit Evaluation Out-of-Residence Curriculum Information (Transfer Credit Equivalencies) or request a pre-evaluation from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions (Student Activities Building). An on-line form for requesting pre-evaluation can be found at: https://www.ugadmiss.umich.edu/TCE/Student/CT_TCEForm.aspx. These resources will tell you if a course will transfer, but how the credit will work in your degree is more complicated.
  3. If the credit is "non-transferable" then don't take it unless you are interested in the subject for your own purposes; "departmental" credit indicates it is affiliated with a specific department but does not match a UM course; and as a specific course number. In order to have credits included in your concentration you must discuss this IN ADVANCE with a concentration advisor. The language requirement may not be fulfilled out of residence unless you have prior written permission from the appropriate language department.
  4. When the course is completed arrange for an official transcript to be sent to Undergraduate Admissions, Student Activities Building, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316. Grades of "C" or better will be evaluated for transfer, but the grade will not appear on your transcript (unless you attend UM—Flint or UM—Dearborn where the grade will transfer as well).
  5. Many colleges and universities in the state of Michigan require a guest or visitor application available from the Registrar's Student Service Office at 1210 LSA Building.  

    Michigan Uniform Guest Application: http://www.macrao.org/Publications/MichiganUniformGuestApplication.pdf

Tips for using the Online Major Release


In the online Student File, there is a new “Major Releases” module under the “ Contents” menu.

 You can add a new major or minor release and view existing ones for a student.

  When completing a new release form:

  • The Adv Office/Advisor dropdown selections will default to you, the current user.  If you are a staff person, you may submit a release in behalf of an advisor by changing the selection.
  • Non-LSA Program information is displayed so that you can easily identify dual degree students and students pursuing teaching certificates.
  • You can select one of the student’s currently active plans (major or minor) by clicking the radio button in front of it.  The information will be copied to the Program/Plan/Subplan text fields.  If you don’t see the plan you need in the radio button list, this means the student is NOT officially declared.  You may type the information into the text fields, but you’ll want to find out why the relevant plan is not active for the student.

o   If a minor is selected from the list of active plans, then the response is automatically set to No and can’t be changed (since there cannot be an Honors Minor)

o   If a plan with an HONORS subplan is selected, then the response is automatically set to Yes and can’t be changed.

o   If a plan for the major with no HONORS subplan is selected, then you must select a Yes/No response.   If you choose Yes, you’ll want to find out why the Honors Plan does not have an active HONORS subplan in MPathways.


o   SAA, RC or HONORS is selected automatically for department users.  Auditors office users will be able to re-route releases if appropriate.

o   If the student has an active “URC” career (rare) or “RESCO” plan, the release is routed first to RC (including Honors Plan releases).

o   If the student has any active “HONORS” plan or “SUBPLAN”, or you have indicated that the form is an Honors Release, the release is routed first to Honors.

o   All others will be routed first to SAA.

  • You can use the Save and Cancel buttons.
  • Once you’ve saved a new release form, a copy of it will be emailed to the student automatically.
  • Once you’ve saved a new release form, you will not be able to edit it.  You must create a new release form if any of the information in it must change (such as required classes).  Only Auditors Office users have access to edit or delete release forms directly.

  A list of all submitted releases will be displayed in the Student File. The Auditors Office will mark a release “Received” once it has begun the release review.  “Not Yet Received” or “Received” will be displayed for each release.

  Only Auditors Office users can edit or delete releases, but all users can open the Printable View. The “AUDITORS OFFICE ONLY” processing section will be visible after a new release is saved.  This will include the Received status, last change information and Auditors Office notes.

 An Activity Log record is created when a new release is saved and when a release is deleted by the Auditors Office.

Helpful Hints for Writing Exceptions in the Electronic File

Whenever possible, please use the available drop-down menu to select the student’s major (unless the student has not yet declared), rather than typing in the major. This will generate the official number of the student’s field of the major (it will look something like “4050ABLSA History BA”). If you do have to enter the major manually, please indicate whether the student is pursuing the BA or BS, as this makes a difference to the person entering the exception.

The exceptions window doesn’t offer much room to write a long narrative, and is really just the place to post the details about the exception being granted. Please be sure your entry includes the following:

  1. Name/description of the requirement (e.g. “Two courses in pre-1830 literature;” “Modern Algebra” “Chinese Second Year Language”)
  2. The course that will count, (e.g. “STDABRD 486”; “MATH 513”) or the reason the requirement is being waived or changed (“Waived due to Placement Exam”)
  3. The term, credit hours, and grade (if course already completed) associated with the course being permitted (e.g. “STDABRD 486 in W06, 4 hrs, A-”)

This is especially important for Study Abroad courses!

  1. If students typically can only fulfill the requirement using one or two courses, include the number of the course that usually fills the requirement: 

    “Biology Prerequisites: I approve EEB 320 instead of BIOLOGY 162”


Please note:

If you run out of room when writing an exception, please find a way to shorten your description. Adding a second entry makes it more difficult for others to determine whether one or two exceptions have been granted. The explanation behind the exception belongs in the “contact notes” portion of the E-File, not in the Exception entry box. For example, the contact notes might read:

Susan did a Study Abroad in Paris this past winter semester and took a course on Parisian History which I am allowing to count for her European History Requirement. 

And the related exception might read:

One course in European History: STDABRD 342.005, W06, 4 hrs, B+ is approved to meet this requirement


Extra Credit: The R.O. has created outlines for each major which specify the specific group and line numbers that each major requirement has been assigned. If you have one and you feel comfortable doing so, you can use it to specify the line numbers that you wish the exception to be made.

e.g. , to count a class for pre-1830 literature for English Majors, the exception might look like this:

“Transfer credit course ENGLISH 301X in F06 approved for pre- 1830 requirement (RG 713, RQ 1942, LN 0020).” (See example outline on reverse)

Exception outlines can be requested from the Office of the Registrar or via your department’s student services staff.




Reference Manual for Departmental/Program Advising Staff (PDF)

Reference Manual for Departmental/Program Advising Staff

LSA Advisor Handbook

The LSA Advisor Handbook contains information for all advising fuctions, general and concentration/departmental alike.
If you are a concentration advisor and would like access to the LSA Advisor Handbook, email lsaadtech@umich.edu and we will add you in.

Honors Plan Advisor Information

Honors Plan Release Instructions

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