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FAQs about Undergraduate Academic Advisement

More information about our advising process. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is the role of my advisor?

A. Your academic advisor will assist you with course selection, understanding college policies and procedures, learning about and utilizing college services and resources, and fulfilling educational and professional goals. However, the responsibility to meet the requirements for graduation at the intended graduation date, both with respect to selecting courses and to completing them satisfactorily, rests with you. 

Q. How do I change or declare my concentration? How do I select a new advisor?

A. Complete a Declaration or Change of Major/Minor/Advisor form and submit it to the Education Office for processing. 

Q. What do I do if I find courses not being offered that are required for my concentration?

A. Meet with your advisor. They might have to help you fill out a Deviation Request form allowing you to substitute one course for another, as long as it is an appropriate substitution. This substitution must be approved by your advisor; the department chair; and the dean of the School of Education, Health, and Human Services.

Q. What is “double dipping”?

A. “Double dipping” means that one course fulfills two requirements. For example, if you have a social studies concentration with a history in-depth study, you can use HIS308 to fulfill your Global Issues requirement in addition to your in-depth study. One exception is that you cannot “double dip” within your major.

Be careful with your total credit count when you double dip — course credits only count once (in other words, a three credit course never becomes a six credit course). You need to work very closely with your advisor to make sure that you will have the total number of credits required by your respective program.

Q. I took a health class at my community college that transferred in as HED310. Why do I need to take the “Child Abuse and Maltreatment” workshop?

A. This is a state mandate and is covered in Plattsburgh State’s HED310 course. Chapter 544 of the Laws of 1988 established the requirement that classroom teachers, pupil personal service professionals, administrators, supervisors, and other certified or licensed school professionals must complete two (2) hours of class work or training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment.

The law states that a person applying for a license, certification, or permit on or after January 1, 1991 must provide a documentation of completion of the required training.

Starting February 2001 you will need to complete an additional two hour workshop in “School Violence and Prevention.” Project SAVE (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act), requires schools to make a number of significant changes in their policies and practices to help make schools safe. Individuals applying for teacher, teaching assistant, pupil personnel service professional, school administrator, supervisor, or superintendent of schools certification on or after February 2, 2001 will be required to have completed two hours of course work or training in school violence prevention and intervention.

Information on registering for both workshops can be obtained at the Office of Field Placement.

Q. What are the new changes in teacher education?

A. The changes are too numerous to mention in this format. However, the most notable are:

  • If you graduated from high school after May 2000 or began college during or after fall 2000, you will follow the new General Education Program (GE3).
  • If you are graduating during spring 2004 or later, you will be under the new state certification regulations.
  • First year students will not be able to use American Sign Language (ASL) for the General Education foreign language requirement. You may still use ASL to satisfy New York State certification requirements, but you will need to take one semester of a foreign language (or take a proficiency test) for the General Education requirement.
  • Concentrations: The science concentration contains the most significant changes, so be particularly careful there. Students graduating after February 2004 may no longer choose a general science concentration; they must concentrate in biology, chemistry, or earth science.

Q. My advisor tells me that I need to maintain at least a 2.5 in all of my non-education courses. What does that mean?

A. The Center for Educational Studies and Services (CESS) maintains high standards to ensure a future generation of highly qualified teachers who can make a difference in the field of education. It is the policy of the CESS to require a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 for education majors in order to begin or continue any required education course.

In addition, you must complete all required work in the academic specialization by the semester preceding the senior field experience with a GPA of at least a 2.5 in the area of concentration.

If your GPA, not including education courses, ever falls below a 2.75, meet with your advisor to discuss the situation and formulate an action plan for your academic progress. Here are several options:

  • Retake courses with “E” or “D” grades and take other non-education courses to raise GPA.
  • Take as many remaining non-education courses (general education, concentration, electives, etc.) to raise your GPA.

Q. What happens if I earn a “C-” in an education course?

A. You must maintain an overall education GPA of 3.0. Completion of all required education courses including cognates must be at a grade of “C” or better to continue to the next level in the sequence. You are allowed to retake any education course once. If you find that you need to repeat a course after the second time, you will need special permission. Contact the department chairperson.

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