Letter to the editor: The Degree Progress Report and My Academic Planner

There have been some controversies in regard to the article published on Wednesday November 19th, 2008 by the Daily Sundial on the Academic Advisement resolution passed by the Associated Students senate. The main purpose of my resolution is to help students be on track and expedite their path to graduation by having the right information provided to them by advisors. It was my only intention to request mandatory advisement for freshmen and transfer students for them to get to know the system and requirements.

I was elected to office by the students to represent their views and promote all sorts of resources for us (students) to reach graduation day in a timely manner. The Academic Affairs Committee, which I chair, conducted a one-month long, campus wide survey and students spoke clearly that they want mandatory advisement. Furthermore, freshmen students declared not to have mandatory advisement. We, Academic Affairs, think advisement is a right for all students. However, we decided to recommend mandatory advisement for freshmen and transfer students only, because returning students can contact advisors at any time for guidance. It was not, by any mean, our intention to confuse students with the resolution passed by the Associated Students Senate. The University administration suggests that advisement is mandatory for all freshmen students already, but our survey results show that some freshmen students do not get mandatory advisement. Thus, we decided to recommend that advisement must be mandatory for freshmen students.

However, the resolution on Academic Advisement goes beyond recommending mandatory advisement. We are also suggesting that the Degree Progress Report and My Academic Planner, two very useful yet complicated tools to understand, are unified into one file for easier reading by students and advisors. We, also, ask advisors to inform students that several classes may count for more than one section of the General Education requirements. This not only saves students time by taking less classes, but also frees up spaces in classrooms. As long as I’m an elected official in the Associated Students, I will search for new resources students can take advantage of to obtain their degrees in less time.

A high percentage of students at Cal State Northridge live check by check or have a hard time counting penny by penny to pay for tuition. We must help students save money and time during their college education. We were elected as Associated Students officials, to propose changes to the benefit of the student body. I know what it feels to account with barely enough funds to pay for my tuition, but I was lucky to be advised with the right information and graduated as a computer engineer in four years. Now, I am pursuing a master degree in electrical engineering.

I am glad that the University administration has responded to the passage of this resolution. Furthermore, I applaud that we [Associated Students and the University] agree that academic advisement must be mandatory for freshmen students because advisement is a key component on students’ path to graduation.

Luis Carbajo
Senator, Associated Students ‘amp; Chair, Academic Affairs Committee