FYP Instruction-Academic Advising

Jim Gadzinski- Director, Academic and Career Advisement Center

On our campus, we feel that academic advisement is important and definitely necessary, so much so that we place an adviser registration hold on your records each of your first two semesters. You will not be able to enroll in any future coursework at NMU until this hold is lifted by your adviser. This hold is in place so that you are required to meet with your adviser, but this isn't the only reason why. In the next few paragraphs, we've listed some important notes regarding the advisement process.

■ Academic Advising

Based upon discussions with students and academic advisers, we have learned that the advising process works best when all participants in the process understand the roles of advisees and advisers. The information presented below is intended to strengthen the overall quality of advising.

As an advisee, you are responsible for:
  • knowing the degree, major, and minor requirements applicable to you as outlined in the Undergraduate Bulletin;

  • keeping accurate records of your progress;

  • playing an active role by identifying areas of uncertainty and seeking your adviser's assistance in finding answers or exploring options;

  • discussing any proposed changes to your class schedule with your adviser prior to making the changes.

An adviser is a faculty or staff member and is someone who:
  • knows academic policies and graduation requirements;

  • has been assigned to meet with you for academic guidance;

  • will help you do what you need to do in order to be successful;

  • can refer you to sources of academic or personal support;

  • has reasonable expectations of your level of responsibility;

  • expects that you will be honest about your current/ past academic performance;

  • may be able to write appropriate letters of recommendation for employment or graduate school.

An adviser is not someone who:
  • selects your courses for you;

  • will do your work for you;

  • will "bail you out" of problems you create for yourself;

  • will know all and be all.

An advising meeting is a time for you and your adviser to:
  • talk about your career plans and how your experiences so far have reinforced or changed them;

  • discuss what, if any, support services might be appropriate for you;

  • discuss the tentative schedule you have designed for your next semester;

  • decide what classes are most appropriate for you based upon your current/ past academic performance;

  • discuss your future plans.

An advising meeting is not the time to:
  • finally go on-line to look at courses offered next semester; or

  • begin thinking about career and personal objectives.

Because of the unique relationship between an adviser and an advisee, you are encouraged to meet with your adviser early each semester. This will allow you both an opportunity to get to know each other and begin to establish a good working relationship.

■ Liberal Studies Program and Requirements

The Liberal Studies Program requirements are based on the principle that well-educated people need to know more than can be learned from their areas of academic specialization. To that end, the faculty, through the Academic Senate, developed the Liberal Studies Program. Liberal Studies are divided into six areas, or divisions, of inquiry.

In order to earn a baccalaureate degree from NMU, students must meet the minimum requirements of each of the six divisions (six credit hours in Divisions 1 through 4 and three credit hours in Divisions 5 and 6).

Substitute Courses

Students who wish to substitute undesignated courses to meet specific divisional requirements, should consult their academic adviser. If the adviser approves the request, a written recommendation should be submitted to the Degree Audits Office, which will handle routine matters directly. In other cases, this office will confer with the appropriate College Dean.

World Cultures Requirement

Each student must take at least one course of three or more credits designated to meet the world cultures requirement.

Laboratory Requirement

Each student must complete one course of three or more credits that has a laboratory component. (Laboratory courses are defined as those that are listed specifically in the Liberal Studies section as having a laboratory.)

Upper Division Course Requirement

At least three credits in Liberal Studies shall be at the 300-level or above chosen from the Liberal Studies list of electives. All such courses have the prerequisite of sophomore standing and completion of the composition requirement.

Liberal Studies Requirements At-a-Glance
Division 1 - Foundations of Communication Generally Two (2) Courses 6-8 Credit Hours
Division 2 - Foundations of Humanities Generally Two (2) Courses 6-8 Credit Hours
Division 3 - Foundations of Natural Sciences/Mathematics Generally Two (2) Courses 6-8 Credit Hours
Division 4 - Foundations of Social Sciences Generally Two (2) Courses 6-8 Credit Hours
Division 5 - Formal Communication Studies Generally One (1) Course 3-4 Credit Hours
Division 6 - Foundations of Visual and Performing Arts Generally One (1) Course 3-4 Credit Hours
TOTAL REQUIRED Generally Ten (10) Courses 30-40 Credit Hours*

*A student may complete the 10 courses in Liberal Studies and be short of 40 total credit hours. In this case, as long as each Divisional, World Cultures, Laboratory, and Upper Division Course requirement has been met, the student will have completed the Liberal Studies Program. The balance of credit hours may be used to take additional courses as general elective credit.


■ Graduation Requirements

There are two other baccalaureate graduation requirements that students must complete:

Active Health Promotion Requirement

All four-year baccalaureate students must complete HP 200 (one credit) and any other HP 200 level course (one credit) to meet this requirement. Those students enrolled in a two-year associate degree or one-year certificate program must complete only the one-credit HP 200 Physical Well-Being course.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students (unless enrolled before the 2006 fall semester) must pass both composition courses- EN 111 and EN 211- with a grade of "C" or higher.

■ Course Registration Tips

Although the advising process is much more than just registering for courses, it is important that you learn how to use the registration tools provided for you- MyNMU, the Undergraduate Bulletin, the on-line Schedule of Classes, a general audit sheet or departmental curricular guide, and so on. The following are steps that may be taken to help you complete the course scheduling process smoothly and easily.

1. Conduct and maintain a self-audit of what courses you have completed and what requirements you have completed:

  • Ensure that MyNMU has listed your correct major, minor, concentration, etc.

  • Use MyNMU to look at your transcript.

  • Ensure that you are following the correct Undergraduate Bulletin (you "keep" the bulletin under which you started at NMU, or the one under which you'll graduate).

  • Ensure that you are aware of program requirements, Liberal Studies requirements, majors, minors, etc.

  • Compare your completed self-audit with your adviser's notes (some advisers will ask you to do this electronically before they meet with you).

  • When your formal degree audit is made available, make sure it aligns with your self-audit.

  •  Ensure that any substitutions you and your advising department agree upon have been communicated to the Records Office.

  • Make an appointment with your adviser (regardless of whether or not you have an adviser hold).

  • Take care of any holds (adviser, financial, medical, etc.) as soon as you can (you will not be allowed to register for anything until the holds are lifted).

Registration "Do's". . .

  • Pay attention to information coming via e-mail from the Registrar, ACAC, your adviser, etc.

  • Prepare to meet your adviser (you should do so early and often every semester).

  • Go on-line to look at courses being offered (remember to write down CRNs in case something goes wrong).

  • Go to your adviser with a tentative course schedule (they may advise you to take different courses).

  • Make sure you have some alternative courses (if something is closed, you can easily substitute).

  • Ask for help if you need it - don't leave confused.

Registration "Don'ts" . . .

  • Don't wait until the last minute to see your academic adviser (you might just be surprised to find that you've moved to the back of the line).

  • Don't go to your adviser un- or under-prepared.

  • Don't depend on your adviser to select your courses for you.

  • Don't rely on your roommate, a friend down the hall, your landlord, etc., to serve as your adviser or to definitively provide answers to policy questions.

  • Don't select courses based on other student's opinions of the instructor (they may dislike an instructor that you'll truly enjoy)- also consider the source.

  • Don't accept "I don't know" as a definitive answer. Go to other advisers in your department, department head, ACAC, etc.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help

2. Go on-line and register during the time you've been allotted (if you're uncomfortable with MyNMU, or get stuck, seek help with the Registrar's Office, Student Services Center, ACAC, etc.).

  • Be aware of "drop and add" procedures in case you're not able to enroll in all the courses that you want.

■ Virtual Advising at NMU

The Virtual Advising Center at NMU is your online location designed to provide you with helpful academic information and resources. The goal of the Virtual Advisement Center is to answer your questions and provide a way for you to access information at your convenience. It does not replace your academic advisor, but supplements the personal assistance you receive from your advisor.

  • Access your personal academic record (e.g., class schedule, GPA, transcripts, etc.).

  • Communicate with an academic advisor from any location 24 hours a day.

  • Look up course requirements for your major, minor, liberal studies, and graduation requirements.

  • Explore different major and career options.

  • Declare or change your major and/or minor.

  • Access information regarding support services available to you such as the All Campus Tutoring Center and tips to help you succeed academically.

  • Learn to calculate your GPA and how to determine what grades you will need to obtain a certain GPA.

  • And much more.

Visit the Virtual Advising Center at http://www.nmu.edu/advising .