Response to Senate Resolution: PIN Pilot Program

From the Interim President
At its February 12, 2010, meeting, the College Senate voted to forward the following recommendation to the interim president for consideration:

Motion to Continue Advisement PIN Pilot Program
Maker of the Motion: SUNY Senator David Carson
Seconds the Motion: Senator John DeNisco

Background
In spring 2004, the College Senate approved an extensive report on academic advisement. This report has been widely shared, and has been referenced in materials presented to the Senate in fall 2009, when a pilot program for use of a PIN (personal identification number) was introduced. The report affirmed a long-standing “mandatory advisement” requirement in Buffalo State College’s undergraduate catalogs. In addition, the development of an “Advisement Plan” for each academic department was stated as an expectation of the report.

Within the report, and at meetings held by Provost Dennis Ponton in fall 2008/spring 2009, the use of a PIN to prevent registration without advisement for target groups¹ was identified as a way to improve students’ experiences at Buffalo State, as well as retention. During spring 2009, academic departments were invited to participate in a voluntary pilot use of the PIN to take place during fall 2009. During registration in fall 2009 for spring 2010, departments from all four schools and University College participated.

The 2009–2010 College Senate was told, each time the PIN pilot was mentioned, that a “full report” regarding the results of the PIN pilot would be presented (Appendices to this resolution include excerpts from the minutes of the October, November, December meetings of the College Senate 2009 meetings and include all mentions of pilot for fall 2010. There was no clarification if the pilot was to take place in fall 2010 or during spring/summer for fall 2010). Commitment was made to opportunities for extended discussion of the pilot in the Senate before further action was taken.

Resolution
Whereas
the College Senate in 2004 affirmed multiple ways to improve department-level academic advisement for students at Buffalo State College, including use of technological means to prevent registration without advisement, and

Whereas the 2009–2011 Undergraduate Catalog underscores that student responsibilities are core to the advisement process, stating that “the task of the student is to seek advisement, to understand, and to be responsible for the decision”², and

Whereas “mandatory advisement” is a principle that can be achieved in many ways, including processes that are nontechnological, and

Whereas participation in the use of the PIN system has been described as “optional” in public meetings, and

Whereas the use of the technological approach to mandatory advisement (e.g., the use of the PIN with target groups) was introduced on a pilot basis to volunteer departments during fall 2009 registration, updated resolution for presentation to the College Senate in February 2010 for action in February 2010, and

Whereas the College Senate was promised a full report about the pilot in spring 2010 with “objective and subjective data,” such that this full report of the results of the use of the PIN would be provided in time to discuss this approach, and deliberate regarding expansion of the PIN use to the entire campus, and

Whereas such a report (even if presented in February 2010) would not allow time for discussion with constituents prior to registration in spring 2010 for summer/fall 2010, and

Whereas there was ambiguity regarding any expansion of the PIN pilot beyond volunteer groups during 2009–2010, and

Whereas the chair of the College Senate will (at the February 2010 meeting of the College Senate) charge the Standards for Students, Instruction and Research, and Student Welfare committees with the task of bringing forward recommendations for 2010–2011 regarding advisement in general, and the use of the PIN option for the target groups in specific, with at least preliminary reports before the end of the 2009–2010 academic year,

Therefore, be it resolved that the College Senate recommend that the PIN pilot be continued during spring 2010 (for summer/fall 2010) to include departments that volunteer to participate, and allow departments to opt out if they wish to do so.

I accept the recommendation of the College Senate and hereby approve the PIN Pilot Program to remain in place during the spring 2010 semester for voluntarily use by departments during academic advisement for summer/fall 2010.

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¹ (Note: footnote updated February 10, 2010.) The Banner Advisement/Alternate PIN implementation has been programmed to include students identified in the Senate’s 2004 advisement report: students whose total hours, including the upcoming registration, will reach/exceed 90 credit hours, students on probation, undeclared students, and students new to the major. It does not include “students in their first semester at Buffalo State (including transfer students)” as was indicated in the earlier version of the resolution.

² Buffalo State Undergraduate Catalog, 2009–2011, p. 23.