Declaration of majors, minors goes paperless
The transition to declaring online is designed to save both students and department administrators the time it takes to fill out and deliver the current paperwork.
The program is in its pilot phase and is being tested by a few Arts & Sciences majors, including psychology, anthropology and International and Area Studies.
The new system is set to launch for Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering on Feb. 18.
The Olin Business School and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts will transition to the WebSTAC system by the fall of 2011.
According to James McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, the new system will cut down on errors and miscommunications, demand less time of students and faculty advisers, and be more eco-friendly.
With the launch of the program, students will be able to log onto WebSTAC and add majors and minors under the “Major Programs” tab on the left-hand side. Once students select a major or minor online, the system will automatically send an e-mail to an administrator in the department to set up a time to meet with the student and finalize the declaration.
“It’s a very high priority to create more occasions where we can just have more time to talk and have a face-to-face conversation,” McLeod said.
While the pilot program is still in effect, students must be “activated” by a department administrator in order to declare online.
The move to a paperless system for coursework at the University has been gradual over the last 15 years or so, McLeod said, beginning with the shift to online course registration.
“Our hope is to move to a system with virtually no paper processes, although this probably won’t happen anytime soon,” McLeod said
Sharon Corcoran, coordinator for undergraduate studies in the psychology department, has already helped several students declare majors and minors online. The students, she said, responded positively to the pilot program. Corcoran is hopeful that online declaration will eliminate the bothersome delays of the current system.
“It’s making everything work more quickly and more efficiently with less paperwork and less traipsing around on the part of students, trying to get signatures and delivering forms here and there,” Corcoran said. “It’s like a welcome step forward into the 21st century.”
Under the current system, students must deliver signed forms to both their major department’s office and to the office of their school.
Students are interested in this new method.
“I haven’t declared yet. I have, like, nine days to do it. It’d be a lot easier for me, a lot less stressful than running around campus trying to figure that out,” said Jordan Fischer, a sophomore who must declare his history major before the Feb. 16 deadline for Arts & Sciences sophomores.
Some students, like freshman Ana MarkdaSilva, thought that the program was already in place.
“Honestly, I already thought that WebSTAC had that. It seems convenient.” MarkdaSilva said.
One challenge Corcoran said she might have with online program is keeping track of which students she has already met with and which she has not. However, she does not anticipate any significant problems.
“We tried to make it easy to use,” McLeod said. “We hope that the students find it a time saver, and we certainly want to cut down on any mistakes.”