Response to Senate Recommendation: Major Declaration Policy for Undergraduate Students

From the Interim President
At its December 11, 2009, meeting, the College Senate voted to approve and forward the following motion to the interim president for review and final action:

Motion to Change the Major Declaration Policy for Undergraduate Students
Introduced by the Standards for Students Committee on November 13, 2009; revision introduced on December 11, 2009 (co-sponsored by the Student Welfare Committee)

Whereas Buffalo State College is required to comply with federal policy related to financial aid eligibility to disburse aid—including the federal policy that states the campus federal aid policy must be the same as or stricter than the standard academic policy, and

Whereas the current campus policy requiring a student to declare a major by 45 credits is not enforced by the campus, which results in the de facto enforcement of a major declaration policy being enforced by the campus federal aid policy, which states students must declare a major by 57 credits, and

Whereas if a change to the major declaration policy is not made, all students with more than 45 credits who have not declared a major will abruptly become ineligible for federal aid, and

Whereas giving students until the end of their sophomore year (instead of the end of the first semester of their sophomore year) will not affect students’ timely graduation given the general education courses that must be completed for a Buffalo State College undergraduate degree, and

Whereas changing credit verbiage to class-standing verbiage will allow this policy to hold even if class-standing increments are altered, and

Whereas after review of the 2007–2009 and 2009–2011 catalog policies have indicated the need for both “native” and transfer students to declare a major by the same deadline,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Senate recommend that the major declaration policy be changed to the following, effective spring 2010:

Declaring an Academic Major
All students must declare a major before completing the credits required for junior class level. It is recommended that all students declare a major upon completing 30 credit hours. Before declaring a major, students should seek the advice of the chair of the department or division responsible for the major. A Change of Major form, available from the chair, must then be completed and sent to the Registrar’s Office.

Some academic programs have special requirements that the student must meet before being admitted as a major. For example, fine arts candidates must submit a portfolio of representative work. The department chair or program coordinator can provide information on specific requirements.

The current policy (Undergraduate Catalog 2009–2011, p. 27) reads as follows:

Declaring an Academic Major
All students who start as freshmen at the college must declare a major before completing 45 credit hours. It is strongly recommended that new freshmen declare a major upon completing 30 credit hours. Transfer students who have completed more than 44 credit hours must declare a major at the time of application for admission. Before declaring a major, students should seek the advice of the chair of the department or division responsible for the major. A Change of Major form, available from the chair, must then be completed and sent to the Registrar’s Office.

Some academic programs have special requirements that the student must meet before being admitted as a major. For example, fine arts candidates must submit a portfolio of representative work. The department chair or program coordinator can provide information on specific requirements.

The recommended policy would read as follows:

Declaring an Academic Major
All students must declare a major before completing credits that would result in achieving “junior class level” standing. It is recommended that all students declare a major upon completing 30 credit hours. Before declaring a major, students should seek the advice of the chair of the department or the associate dean of the school/college responsible for the major.

A Change of Major form, available from the chair or the associate dean, must then be completed and sent to the Registrar’s Office.

Some academic programs have special requirements that the student must meet before being admitted as a major. For example, fine arts candidates must submit a portfolio of representative work. The department chair or program coordinator can provide information on specific requirements.

I approve the revisions to the policy to change the Major Declaration for Undergraduate Students recommended by the College Senate. I authorize the interim provost to oversee the implementation of the new policy, effective with the spring 2010 semester.