Undergraduate Council
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
S1410 Melville Library
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Present:  Janet Clarke,  Arlene Feldman, Sarah Fuller, Jeff Ge, Kane Gillespie, Ellen Hopkins, Norman Goodman, Lloyd Lense , Joe Mitchell, Anne Moyer, Jean Peden, Peter Stephens, Scott Sutherland. 

Minutes of the previous meeting:  The minutes of November 20, 2013 were not approved.  They will be amended by Norm Goodman and reviewed at our next meeting. 

There was a detailed discussion concerning major declaration.  There is concern among faculty and staff that many students’ declared majors do not match their intended major.   Many students also change their majors several times during the course of their education. 

Some majors require successfully completed prerequisites, minimum GPA, and, in some cases, a formal acceptance into the major. 

It was suggested that all majors have an AOI (“Area of Interest”) so departments can know which students are interested and can reach out to them.   The idea is to require students to have a conversation with the department advisor. 

Students can go to “undecided” if they change their mind about original major and are unsure of a new intention.  This would allow departments to recruit potential majors.

A suggestion was made to have students not declare a major on their application to the University.  Jean stated that there is a concern among those in Admissions about not having accepted students declare a major when that was suggested.  The thought is that some students would be deterred from attending Stony Brook and attend one of our competitor schools where they knew they already had a seat in their intended major.  It was suggested that this discussion should not take place without a representative from Admissions present.   Jean suggested that students who do declare their major during the admissions process be required to meet with their major advisor during the first month of classes.   

Better major tracking is a major concern, and it was suggested that students be required to meet with a major advisor and a registration block be placed to ensure timely meetings.  Students would be required to state their intentions every semester and see the department advisor if making any changes.  Students would be blocked from registering for a subsequent semester if they had not met with a department advisor. 

Currently students need to declare their major at 57 credits (once they reach junior status) although they are encouraged to do so once they attain 45 credits.  Some students have 45 earned credits as freshmen if they transfer in a significant amount of AP credits or college credits earned while in high school.

Due to the importance of collecting data, Joe suggested requiring students to answer a brief survey before they are permitted access to register for classes. The Council decided to continue discussing this issue at our next meeting when Joe Mitchell will present his plan in more detail.   Data is also important for scheduling of classes as well as having TAP implications, as well as student debt and financial aid issues.

Respectfully submitted,

Arlene Feldman and Ellen Hopkins