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Advisers to become boss over declaring a major

Submitted by LaShaune Rostagno on April 18, 2013 – 12:08 pmNo Comment

Students who want to select or change their major will no longer be able to make the request in the Banner Online Service System, known as BOSS. Instead, beginning June 1, students will have to meet with a department adviser for approval of any change to their declared major, according to administrators.

If students attempt to use BOSS to change their major, they will see directions outlining the new process, including who to contact for the major.

“Without personal contact, it is impossible to guide the student to the right major,” said Daryl Rice, associate vice chancellor for student success.

Students began using BOSS to change their major 10 years ago to simplify the process for students. While BOSS is more accessible to students, it has not made the system better, he said. The universities colleges, and departments have received numerous reports of students becoming frustrated at the current system.

“To me part of advising should be more seamless and more hands on. The idea is to create a system where the student, the department, and the dean are all on the same page,” Rice said.

Without human interaction, the student does not know if or when the appropriate individuals have received the request. Further, without communication, those reviewing the petition do not know whether the student has made an educated decision regarding their major.

Additionally under the current system, if an adviser needs to make changes to the students’ declared major, Banner will not allow it. The adviser must instruct the student to make the necessary adjustments before the adviser can proceed.

But with the new system, UALR Technical Services has designed a master website that enables a department chair, or dean to make changes to a students’ declared major eliminating the existing multiple steps.

Academic advisers will begin training on the new website mid-May.

Each department will determine how they want to communicate with their students: in the office, by telephone, or email. This matches the purpose of the universities’ advising department, which is to provide the student with one on one attention ensure they receive training in the appropriate field of study.

After advisement, the student will sign a statement affirming the declared major. It will be the responsibility of the adviser to change the students’ records to the new major immediately.

“These relationships ought to happen naturally. However, it is necessary to structure to cause these relationships to happen. We know good advising is crucial to students’ success,” said Rice.


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