Students will now have to declare a major as sophomores

Beginning next year, the University of Oregon will require students to declare a major by spring term of their sophomore year, the UO Faculty Senate decided Wednesday.

Students can currently declare a major at any point in their college career – including their senior year. Now, full-time students will be expected to declare a major at the end of their second year at UO, or more specifically, during the fourth week of their sixth term of enrollment. The new policy will begin in fall 2017. Transfer students must declare a major by their fourth week of their third term at UO.

“It is geared very much to identify students who are struggling,” said anthropology professor Frances White. “It is very much to help students who have not picked a major yet.”

Students who fail to declare a major by the end of their second year will be blocked from registration and required to see an advisor, who will either help them choose a major or give them an exception. Advisors will give these students a PIN allowing them to register. Advisors who have gone through advisor training will have access to the PIN, White said.

The vote was almost unanimous, but Jarred Umenhofer, a student, voted against the policy. Umenhofer said his choice to vote against the new policy was because of his worry that the new policy would coerce students to pursue a major before they are ready.

The senate also voted to get rid of the “Y” grade, a grade that was to be given when a student did not turn in any work and had never attended any class. There has been confusion and misuse of the “Y” grade, so the senate voted to eliminate it. All “Y” grades that have been given to students will go through the process to become F’s, said Senate President Bill Harbaugh.

At the meeting there were several reports from faculty members to update the senate on campus issues, including a report from business professor Ron Bramhall on the current accreditation process. The UO is undergoing re-accreditation this year from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, something that happens every several years.

The senate meeting ended before Harbaugh could give a report on Diversity Plans and journalism professor Chris Chavez could update the senate on the BERT task force, which Harbaugh said have both been moved to next meeting’s agenda.

Follow Emma Henderson on Twitter @henderemma .

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Emma Henderson

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