Chapter II: Student Academic Affairs
LS&A students are encouraged to be actively involved in shaping their own undergraduate experience. To help them accomplish this, the College provides academic advising support to students for reaching their academic goals and objectives. Students are expected to meet with academic advisors to discuss course selections and the wider issues of educational planning.The Comprehensive Studies Program, the Honors Program, and the Residential College Counseling Office are responsible for academic advising and, in the latter two units, for academic actions and academic auditing for students admitted to their respective programs, and each of these programs is described separately in Chapter VI.
LS&A Student Academic Affairs provides the following services: Academic Advising, Academic Standards, Academic Auditing, Academic Information and Publications, Central Files, the LS&A Scholarship Program, and the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs. Student Academic Affairs is responsible for helping undergraduates achieve the expectations and rewards of the liberal arts education afforded by the College. A liberal arts education, first and foremost, is a natural forum for an inquiring mind, and the staff of Student Academic Affairs serves students and contributes to their intellectual and personal growth by encouraging informed decision making, self-assessment, and the assumption of self-responsibility. The Student Academic Affairs staff also shares with the teaching faculty and academic departments and programs of the College in the task of facilitating the student's academic path through LS&A. Student Academic Affairs is committed to promoting the understanding and accomplishment of a liberal arts education, and will do all it can to succeed in meeting its service obligation to students.
1255 Angell Hall
The Academic Advising Center serves LS&A undergraduates by:
Students first meet their academic advisors during the orientation period prior to the first term. Student-advisor contact during orientation occurs over two days and includes a group meeting and two personal interviews. The group meeting is given over to a discussion of LS&A and its mission as a liberal arts college. The student and advisor become acquainted during the first interview and explore the student's interests and academic purpose. They then plan the student's first term elections during the second interview. The staff advisors follow up these contacts by inviting their orientation students to come in for an appointment after the fall term has begun. The expectation is that many students will want to discuss their adjustments to the academic challenge in the College with their advisors at this time. A similar outreach occurs during the winter term. Students generally choose to consult the advisors whom they met during Orientation but may elect to make an appointment with any advisor who is available. Students are free to see any advisor they prefer, but they are encouraged to find one advisor with whom they can relate well and to see that advisor on a regular basis. It may be that the advisor is assigned to the residence hall in which the student lives. The Academic Advising Center staff maintain regular hours in each of the residence halls. General advisors keep regular appointment hours in the Academic Advising Center (1255 Angell Hall).
First- and second-year students most often see general advisors with questions about course elections, College requirements, and with the first queries about how to choose a concentration or degree program.
Students in Bachelor of Arts (AB) or Bachelor of Science (BS) programs are expected to declare a concentration by the end of their sophomore year. They then meet with a concentration advisor and formally declare their concentration. Students must also have their concentration advisors sign a Concentration Release Form when they are planning to graduate. Concentration advisors are, most often, faculty or staff members from LS&A departments who help students shape and focus their academic goals. They discuss with students how best to progress in a concentration program and to utilize the skills acquired in the study of a particular discipline both in graduate or professional schools or on the job. Some concentration advisors keep appointments with their students in the Academic Advising Center, but it is more common that students meet with concentration advisors in their departmental offices.
Students pursuing a Bachelor in General Studies (BGS) degree may consult with general advisors, but are urged to make appointments with BGS advisors. The Academic Advising Center employs BGS advisors who are knowledgeable and experienced staff members familiar with the College rules, regulations, policies, and curriculum. BGS students should see a BGS advisor when they declare their degree program and also when they are submitting graduation materials. Many choose to see their advisors each term to discuss course elections and program planning.
All students are required to obtain advisor approval for their original elections and for any changes in elections during their first term enrolled in LS&A. After the first term, students are encouraged but not required to obtain approval of elections if they are enrolling for a program between 8 and 18 credits.
The educational policies and practices of the College are stated in the Faculty Code. The LS&A Academic Standards Board and a number of related offices are responsible for interpreting the academic policies set forth in the Faculty Code. Students are responsible for knowing the College and departmental requirements contained in this Bulletin. Failure to work within the guidelines for a program of study may delay a student's graduation.
Members of the Academic Standards Board are able to help students individualize their programs of study and may grant exceptions to College-level academic policies and degree requirements. A student may discuss with a member and, if necessary, petition in writing for a waiver or modification of College rules. (Honors students petition the Honors Academic Board; Residential College students petition the RC Board on Academic Standing.) The petition should state the request and present clear supporting reasons. Exceptions to College policies may be granted if a student presents evidence of unusual circumstances or has an alternative proposal to specific requirements consistent with the spirit of those requirements.
Members of the Academic Standards Board also administer academic discipline. Each term the Academic Standards Board, after reviewing the academic records of students who show evidence of academic difficulty, acts in accordance with the policies described in Chapter IV. The Academic Standards Board has responsibility for readmitting students dismissed because of unsatisfactory academic performance.
The Academic Auditors are responsible for preparing the degree list which is forwarded to the Board of Regents for approval, and therefore deal primarily with questions and issues concerning graduation and graduation eligibility. The auditors check for the completion of all LS&A degree requirements once graduation materials have been submitted, inform students of their progress toward graduation, and authorize graduation. Students who wish (1) to postpone graduation, (2) to ask specific questions about residence policy issues, and (3) to ask specific questions about graduation procedures should contact the Academic Auditors. An information sheet about the Commencement Ceremony is available outside 1255 Angell Hall. Also, students whose names were removed from the degree list should see the Academic Auditors. Students who have met the degree requirements but have not yet been graduated may obtain a Letter of Certification from the Academic Auditors in 1409 Mason Hall. Such a letter is usually acceptable as evidence that requirements have been met and a degree will be awarded.
Overall administration of LS&A Student Academic Affairs is the responsibility of the Assistant Dean. Policy and procedure matters are handled in this office and personal assistance is provided to students in special circumstances. The Assistant Dean also oversees the Academic Judiciary for Student Academic Affairs and is responsible for the administration of the Code of Academic Conduct. In addition, the Assistant Dean coordinates the communication and liaison efforts between Student Academic Affairs and the faculty and academic departments and programs of the College, as well as between Student Academic Affairs and non-LS&A units of the University.
Each year the College awards a number of scholarships to students who have completed at least one full term. These scholarships are awarded on the basis of high scholastic performance and demonstrated financial need. Applications for LS&A Scholarships are available from 1402 Mason Hall.
The Office of Academic Information and Publications is a College service distinguished by its focus on LS&A academic information. To maintain accurate and current information, the Office of Academic Information and Publications is in regular contact with the Academic Advising Center, the Academic Standards Board, the Honors Program, academic departments and programs, faculty members, and many University offices.
Academic Information and Publications maintains the Student Academic Affairs website (www.lsa.umich.edu/saa)
The LS&A Peer Academic Adising Office, staffed completely by undergraduates, offers a unique, comfortable atmosphere in which to obtain relevant academic information. Providing peer counseling, PAAO presents students with an opportunity to share and receive experiences in an informal fashion. The office maintains such resources as course evaluations and examinations. It disseminates information concerning the newest and most innovative classes. PAAO also stocks graduate catalogs from schools across the country as well as the latest in post-graduation materials.
Several kinds of academic files are maintained by the Academic Advising Center and the Academic Standards Board. The Honors Council maintains the files of Honors students. All LS&A students have a standard academic advising file containing admissions material, test scores, unofficial copies of academic records, memoranda, correspondence, and cards upon which academic advisors or Members of the Academic Standards Board make notes of their conversations with a student. Information of a sensitive nature may be removed from the academic advising file at the discretion of a member of the Academic Standards Board or at the request of the student and placed in a special file. These special files are also created for those students charged with some form of academic misconduct, and for recording grade grievances filed by students.
In addition, files exist for LS&A Scholarship applicants.
Students have the right to examine all materials in their own academic files except for confidential admissions material collected prior to January, 1975, and except for parents' confidential financial statements submitted by LS&A Scholarship applicants. Students who wish to review their advising files may do so by scheduling an appointment with an academic advisor. Access to Academic Standards files may be obtained by an appointment with Assistant Dean Nurse; access to LS&A Scholarship files may be obtained through the chairman of the LS&A Scholarship Committee.
Students may request duplicate copies of any information in their academic files at cost except for copies of academic records, parents' confidential financial statements, and confidential admissions materials collected prior to January, 1975. They may also add clarifying notes and other materials to their advising files at any time. Requests for deletion of material from an advising file should be directed to Dr. Judge (Academic Standards), Dr. Reinarz (Academic Advising Center), or Professor Van der Voo (Honors). Additions to or deletions from judiciary or Academic Standards files should be discussed with Assistant Dean Nurse. Changes in LS&A Scholarship files should be discussed with the chair of the LS&A Scholarship Committee.
Access to student advising files is restricted. Only official academic advisors, members of the Academic Standards Board and clerical staff who assist in carrying out official advising or Academic Standards Board functions have direct access to these files. Only the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs and individuals directly involved in a judiciary or grade grievance case have direct access to special academic files. Only members of the LS&A Scholarship Committee and their clerical staff have access to LS&A Scholarship files. Parents, faculty, and graduate school admission committees do not have access to specific academic files without authorization from the student.
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