SNC Spring advising brings a new cache of classes


Photo credit: Zoe Tuttle

Incoming students stand in line for breakfast at SNC's new river orientation for freshman and transfers.

Madison Schultz, Associate Editor

As students at SNC reach towards the end of the Fall 2019 semester, a recur- ring “to-do” for undergraduate students has risen once again; academic advising sessions. With a new year on the horizon comes a new semester—and the opportunities available for all students at SNC are ever expanding.

Starting Oct. 28, students will be given the opportunity to meet with advisors within their majors on a designated day that is agreed upon between the student and the advisor. During this meeting, both will create a tentative academic plan on what classes students should take for the upcoming Spring 2020 semester, as well as if students would like to enroll in additional classes offered at SNC over the summer.

“As soon as a student advises, they can register for classes,” said Katie Zanto, chair of interdisciplinary studies. “This is a good incentive for motivated students to get the classes they want.”

Similar to SNC’s current fall semester, this upcoming spring will also include a mandatory intensive course; however, un- like the previous intensive course offered at the beginning of the fall semester, this proposed two-week spring course format will be completed at the end of the semester instead of the beginning. This course will begin April 28 and conclude May 13.

Integrating the format of intensive courses into the academic calendar is summarized by multiple SNC faculty as a “trial run,” though many professors and advisors are enjoying the new layout.

“It’s very new and exciting,” said Sheri Leigh O’Connor, chair of fine arts. “I’ve directed our summer art workshop program for many years, in which we offer one-week intensive classes that meet all day for a week. Students really get into their art, and learn a lot of techniques, and information in a short time span.”

The largest appeal for these intensive courses is the ability to get one class completed in a short period of time. This gives students the opportunity to complete their normal 12-week courses with fewer classes on their schedule and it provides students with longer class times. However, it is still being attempted as a new academic model.

“This is the first year that we are trying this format,” said Henry Conover, director of Academic Support Services. “I would encourage students to have an open mind regarding this new layout and definitely come see me or their advisor with any concerns regarding this layout.”

The new courses that will be offered for students in the intensive two-week schedule range from creative electives such as Digital Arts in Special Effects, to mandatory classes that all students must take prior to graduating, such as English courses. Depending on the student and what education level they are at, the advisor and student will agree on a course that will satisfy an academic requirement for the student.

Advisors and students don’t know why the two-week course is being put at the end of the semester for spring, compared to the beginning of semester, as it was for fall. According to Zanto, it could be a weather issue.

“I think we can do a really good intensive at the end of the semester,” said Zanto. “I think the weather leads itself to more of the field-based/outdoor related classes, and those are some of SNC’s signature courses, I think it’s definitely worth a try putting the two-week courses at the end.”

Though offering these courses at the end of the semester presents a more flexible and experiential learning platform, some faculty see certain issues with this new layout.

“The one downside that I saw was lack of depth in academic offerings during the intensive block for our continuing students,” said Conover. “Many students struggled to find a class they wanted and/or needed during this time.”

Many students and faculty are looking forward to the new opportunities this new schedule presents, though it is evident that there is a lot of information that is still unknown to most on campus.

“I think because it’s new, we’re not all talking about the opportunity in the same way,” said Zanto. “Some of us are calling it a two-week or a three-week, or a fall block versus spring block. There’s a lot to be figured out, and I have no doubt that our faculty can, but it’s a challenge with how quickly this semester is going and how soon advising is coming up.”

Prior to the scheduled two-week block, students will engage in a normal 12-week semester, beginning in January. Advisors are largely involved with engaging their appointed students in the decision about which classes to enroll in for the spring semester.

“Come to advising appointments prepared,” said Zanto. “find your notes from the last time, pull up your graduation plan, look at the courses that are being offered for the upcoming semester, and come with questions for us. Be proactive, and if you haven’t heard from your advisor, reach out to them.”

Advising appointments are scheduled to begin for students in late October and conclude in early November. Students are advised to check their accounts for any holds that could delay registration for the spring semester, as well as actively check their student emails during the advising period for additional information.

For any questions or further information on advising, reach out to appointed advisors, the registrar’s office, or Henry Conover in Academic Support Services.