Undergraduate Academic Advising

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Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising

Trakenya Dobbins, Interim Director
Student Services Center, Suite 320 | (501) 569-3386 |

Academic Advising

Academic advising is a process that students undertake with their academic advisor at UALR. Undergoing this process enables students to optimize their academic development and take advantage of the myriad of resources available at UALR. Advising is a shared responsibility between an advisor and the student and advising is mandatory for all students each semester and must be done well in advance of published registration dates. Provisional and temporary students are not eligible for academic advisement until all required admission credentials are submitted and evaluated by the Office of Records and Registration. After this evaluation has occurred, academic advising will be required each semester. Where students are advised depends on their status:

  • First-time students and undeclared majors are advised in the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising. Freshman who need developmental reading/composition, will be advised in the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising and entered into the Collegiate Success Program.
  • Declared majors are advised in the department offering the major. Students may find their major advisor at ualr.edu/advising/major.

In addition to Academic Advising, this department offers the Associate of Arts in General Studies degree and The First Year Experience (PEAW) course. PEAW courses are designed to provide a strong foundation from which first-year students can successfully transition into college and complete the First Year Colloquium course. As of Fall 2011, the First Year Colloquium course is a graduation requirement for all entering, first-time, full-time freshman students at UALR.

Background: Undergraduate Academic Advising (Originally named University College) was created in 1987 as a part of a university and nationwide movement to address the needs of incoming and undeclared students. While students with an intended track and/or declared major often had access to advising within their respective departments, the growth of the University system and the degree options that came with it led to an ever-increasing number of students that were “exploratory.” From this need, UALR Faculty Members, namely through the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Policies and Procedures, created what is today known as Undergraduate Academic Advising.

Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising

Undergraduate Academic Advising serves as the gateway for new students, especially for those who have earned fewer than 60 credit hours. The primary function of this office is to provide academic advising for new and continuing students who have not yet declared a major. Students who are seeking admission to degree programs offered at other institutions and who are completing prerequisite coursework at UALR also are advised in this office. A complete review of the student’s academic record is provided each term; information considered includes test scores and required course placement, transfer work, high school concurrent courses, AP and IB scores, and the core curriculum requirements.

The degree plan for the Associate of Arts in General Studies also is developed and maintained in this office for students who are seeking this degree. Personalized advising conversations are intentional and assist students in learning to assess their competencies, discover their passions and clarify their academic path that leads to graduation.

Academic advising processes assist in clarifying and reinforcing optimum course sequences to plan degree completion on a full-time or part-time basis. Guidance is based on University policy, state and federal laws, major and minor program requirements and individual choices. Advising services are delivered to enable access to UALR’s diverse student population and all services are delivered in-person, via telephone, or other alternative formats as needed.

First-Year Colloquium (First-Year Experience)

To assist students in the transition to UALR, all first-time, full-time freshmen and transfer students with fewer than 12 hours of credit are required to complete a First Year Colloquium (FYC) course. Several versions of the FYC are available, but all carry full academic credit and are designed to help put students on a path to success at UALR. Planning for graduation begins on day one! All versions of the First Year Colloquium are small in size and require students to learn about and use campus and off-campus resources (libraries, career planning and counseling services, tutoring, etc.) and strategies for goal-setting and time management. Some versions include a service-learning project that applies academic learning to real-life situations. Some specialized FYC courses are aimed at students intending to major in particular subject areas. The following table indicates the appropriate course for such students. Students intending to major in a subject area that is not listed in the table may register for PEAW 1300: First Year Experience. All students should consult with their academic advisor before registering for a first year colloquium. A few colloquiums are limited to students in special programs and those receiving particular scholarships. Such students will be contacted through those programs and scholarships as to the appropriate course for which they should register. The Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising oversees PEAW 1300.

Intended for Declared Major Course Number Title
All majors PEAW 1300 The First Year Experience
Business (Economics, marketing, finance, or management) BSAD 1100 Discovering Business
Chancellor’s Leadership Corps PEAW 1124 Practicum: Leadership Training
Computer Science CPSC 1105 First Year Experience for CPSC Majors
Construction Management and Construction Engineering CNMG 1101 First Year Colloquium in Construction Mgmt. & Eng.
Mechanical Engineering Technology ETME 1110 FYE: Mechanical Engineering Technology
Donaghey Scholars SCHL 1101 Scholars Colloquium
Education (Teacher ed-elementary & middle childhood and secondary ed) TCED 1100 Intro Teaching/Learning
Engineering Technology/Computer ECET 1302 Freshman Yr Experience Tech/ Computer
History HIST 1314 First-Year Colloquium
Mass Communications MCOM 1300 Careers in Mass Media FYC
Information Science IFSC 1105 First Year Experience for IFSC Majors
Math and Science (UTeach) IGSC 1101 or SCED 1101 Step 1: Inquiry Teaching FYC
Systems Engineering SYEN 1210 Intro to Systems Engineering
Theatre and Dance THEA 1201 Theater/Dance: A First Experience
University Science Scholars BIOL/CHEM/ERSC 1305 University Science Scholars
Visual Arts ARST 1201 First Year Experience: Visual Arts
Courses in Personal Awareness (PEAW)

The Division Chief of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising oversees courses in Personal Awareness. The PEAW 1300 course described below can be taken to meet the First-Year Colloquium requirement.

PEAW 1300 The First Year Experience
Helps students reach their educational objectives. Interactive instructional methods promote the development of critical thinking skills and positive educational values. Students 1) complete a personal assessment to enhance their understanding of communication and learning styles, lifestyle risks, and loci of control; 2) learn to identify and use appropriate resources both on campus and within the community; 3) acquire skills needed to promote study, personal wellness, goal setting and achievement; 4) develop strategies to manage money, time and stress wisely; and 5) participate in a service learning experience outside the classroom in a setting designed to foster community service. Final course grades are A, B, C, and no credit (NC). Three credit hours.

PEAW 1190 Career Planning and Life Options
A systematic approach to developing decision-making skills and an orientation to the world of work. The focal point of the course is the student and his or her goals. Emphasis is on clarifying and formulating realistic career goals and an appropriate career plan and strategy to achieve these goals. Final course grade is credit (CR)/no-credit (NC). One credit hour.

PEAW 1310 Library Research and Resources
Basic techniques for using the library effectively. Use of information resources, including on-line catalog, computerized databases, bibliographies, and indexes. Attention to students’ individual subject needs. Three credit hours.

PEAW 1124, 2124, 3124, 4124 Practicum: Leadership Training
Designed to recognize and enhance the development of student leaders through an orientation to campus and community resources and through participation in service projects and social activities. Enrollment is restricted to students participating in official university leadership groups. Final course grade is credit (CR)/no-credit. One credit hour (NC).

Associate of Arts in General Studies

TThe Associate of Arts in General Studies (AAGS) degree was designed with the idea in mind that all students have unique goals and interests. Students’ responses on the AAGS survey, which all students obtaining the degree must complete, confirm this notion. Some students wish to obtain the degree for professional advancement within a company, while others may want to use it as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree. Regardless, the common thread is that the AAGS degree reinforces achievement for those who attain it.

General Information

The mission of UALR is to “develop the intellect of students” and to “instill in students a lifelong desire to learn.” The Associate of Arts in General Studies supports this mission by providing students with these competencies, through the core curriculum, while preparing students to progress toward completing a bachelor’s degree. This mission is accomplished through the following goals and objectives:

Learning Objectives

Complete the UALR Core Curriculum. The purpose of the core curriculum is to establish a foundation for the undergraduate academic experience and to ensure that students develop fundamental skills and a lifelong commitment and ability to learn.

  • To provide students with the UALR Core Curriculum as a base for continuing in school for a bachelor’s degree.
  • To encourage students to consider this degree as progress toward a higher degree.
  • To enable students to feel a sense of personal accomplishment upon receipt of the AAGS degree.
  • To provide students with a means of professional advancement.

Associate of Arts in General Studies

General: 60 minimum total hours, including 35 hours of UALR core and 16 hours of unrestricted electives, 2.00 GPA, completion of 15 hours at UALR.

First-Year Colloquium (0-3 hours)

Required of full-time freshmen entering college for the first time and transfer students with less than 12 hours of credit (See page 25 for requirement details.)

Core (35 hours)

See page 25 for requirement details. (It is recommended that students select their core courses based on their intended baccalaureate degree requirements.)

Directed Electives (Complete 15 hours)

Directed electives can be selected from any subject area which is included in the UALR Core.

Free Electives (Complete 9 hours)

Any course at the 1000-level or above for which they have the prerequisite (It is recommended that students select electives based upon their intended baccalaureate degree.)