Advisement: Faculty

Your role as a faculty advisor is crucial to the success and retention of our students. Faculty advisors are the primary advisors for students; the CACE advisors serve as secondary advising support should a faculty member be on sabbatical leave or is otherwise inaccessible. CACE advisors may also be assigned as a new transfer student’s primary advisor before that student declares a major.  The CACE staff is happy to provide assistance to you to ensure that you are knowledgeable and able to assist your students.

Be aware of specific curriculum needs: In order to avoid overloading core requirements for the student who is as yet undeclared, ask if there is any chance the student will be majoring in one of the following, and then register accordingly:

  • Education dual-majors have a computer course in their ILC, and therefore they should not register for CS 106 or 107.
  • Business majors need two Economics courses, and therefore need only one other social science. Also, EC101 or EC102 are prerequisites for the Foundation courses in the Business Administration major – these two classes are required for a major in Business Administration and can be used to fulfill the Social Sciences requirement.
  • Nursing majors need BI209 and 210 Anatomy and Physiology and should avoid other Biology courses except as stated in the Nursing modules. One unit in SO101, AN101 or PS101 is required. The ILC for Nursing majors is NR 224 Nutrition and MI200 Microbiology, and is to be taken in the Spring of sophomore year.
  • Computer Science majors do not need CS106 or 107 and should take CS130 as soon as possible.
  • TH217 and higher are for Theatre Performance majors only. Other students interested in acting should take TH106 Introduction to Acting.

The First Year Learning Community: All content courses (non-RFT courses) in the First Year LCs count in the section for Disciplinary Perspectives. If the course is not in one of these disciplines (for example, a business or education course), then APC assigns an “MDS” number to it and includes it in one of the Disciplinary Perspectives areas.

Writing Requirement (W): 2 units – one in the first-year reflective tutorial, and one in literature.  Both units may not be taken simultaneously; for example, English courses in the FYP do not fulfill the second writing requirement, however they can fulfill a literature requirement.  Therefore, if a student takes an English literature course in the FYP, the student can then choose a Writing Intensive course from another discipline to fulfill the second writing requirement (as long as it is designated with a “W”).  Writing intensive literature courses are designated with a “W” on the schedule and in the English course offerings in the Courses of Study section of the Bulletin; Additional information on the writing requirement may also be found there.

Intercultural and American Diversity (I) & (D) Requirements: Make sure your student fulfills the Disciplinary Perspectives requirements with courses that also fulfill (I) & (D) requirements. Or, to say the same thing, make sure your student fulfills the (I) and (D) requirements with courses that fulfill the Disciplinary Perspectives requirements.

Study Abroad: a Study Abroad semester will fulfill an (I) requirement, as well as the ILC requirement.

One Major Course: Make sure that one of the courses the student takes to fulfill the General Education requirements also counts towards the major. In some cases, the student might be able to do this with two or three classes, such as EC101 and 102 for a Business major.

Only 13 units? More room for the major, right? Not necessarily: Your student’s total core requirement can be done in 13 units. However, keep in mind that only 18 units of coursework in a student’s major department may count toward the 36 required for graduation (this is a New York State Board of Education Rule). Where must at least  5 other units come from? Electives! NOTE that if the student’s major has 12 required units, the student has room for 11 electives!

BI209/210 Anatomy and Physiology must be taken in sequence. Nursing and Physician Assistant students will have priority for these courses and written permission from the instructor is required.

Recommended Math courses:

  • MA119 Finite Math is the recommended course to fulfill the General Education requirements for students in Social Sciences or Business.
  • MA 110 College Math is recommended for students in the Arts and Humanities.
  • MA 121 Analytic Geometry/Calculus I is recommended for science majors

Recommended Science courses for non-majors:

  • MI 109 Plagues, Outbreaks, and Biological Warfare: Lecture only, counts as Microbiology, not Biology
  • BI 110 and 110L Environmental Biology: Lecture and lab
  • BI 120 Human Biology: Lecture only
  • BI 130 and BI 130L Exploring Biology: Lecture and lab
  • BI 208 Genes to Genomics: Lecture only
  • BI 291 Special Topics: Lecture, possible lab
  • CH101 Chemistry in the Environment and Society. Lecture only
  • CH103 Color Science: Lecture only
  • CH291 Special Topics: Lecture, possible lab
  • AS105 Astronomy I: The Solar System: Lecture, optional lab
  • AS108 Astronomy II: Stars and Galaxies: Lecture, optional lab (AS105 is not a prerequisite for AS108)

*CACE recognizes the work of John Esser and Roger Wesby in providing some of these tips.


  • Please check the High School transcript or ask the student about previous experience with a foreign language!  They should build on previous study.
  • Second semester freshmen who did not continue with a language in the Fall should return in the Spring to language study.  A wider gap means loss of skills.
  • No previous language study is needed for 107 level language classes.
  • Ask about their plans for studying abroad in France, German, Italy, or Spain, since they may need 4-5 semesters of COLLEGE LEVEL language study for certain programs in these countries.
  • Mention that having a minor or dual major in a language increases employment opportunities and enhances the transcript.
  • All Modern Language courses fulfill an Intercultural (I) requirement.
Italian:  (For specific questions, please contact Dr. Colclough Sanders)
Italian 106:  for those students with 1 yr of HS or 1 semester of study
Italian 107:  for those students with 0-2 years HS or 0-2 semesters of study
Italian 112:  for those students with 2-3 years HS or 3 semesters of study
Italian 220:  pre-requisite:  Italian 111 or equivalent or permission of instructor
Italian 357: Italian Cinema.  Offered in English translation.
French:  (For specific questions, please contact Dr. Katica Urbanc)
French 107:  for those students with 0-2 years or 1-2 semesters of study
French 112:  for those students with 3-4 years of HS or 3 semesters of study
French 232:  pre-requisite:  French 231 or equivalent or permission of instructor
French 351: (H) French Women Writers in Translation. Offered in English
German:  (For specific questions, please contact Professor Renate Haugeto or Dr. Marilyn Kiss)
German 102: for those students with 1-2 years of HS or 1 semester of study
German 232:  pre-requisite:  German 231 or equivalent or permission of instructor
German 332:  (T) prerequisite: German 331 or equivalent
Spanish:  (For specific questions, please contact either Dr. Marilyn Kiss or Dr. Margarita Sánchez)
Spanish 106:  for those students with 2-3 years of HS or 1 semester of study
Spanish 107:  for those students with 0-2 years of HS or 0-2 semesters of study
Spanish 112:  pre-requisite:  Spanish 111 or permission of instructor
Spanish 232:  pre-requisite:  Spanish 231 or equivalent of permission of instructor
Spanish 291:  Short Stories, Film and Creative Writing.  Pre-requisite:  Sp 232 or permission of instructor
Sp/Eng 213:  (H). Hispanic Literature in English Translation.


If students are interested in the serious study of music at Wagner and have not yet taken the Music Theory Placement Exercise, please have them download the latter from the department website ( and submit the completed paper in the department office (Campus Hall 110). Otherwise, please look below for the information that applies to each class year and program. Please email Professor Schulenberg ( if you have any questions.
Current First-Year Students
  • If you plan to major in music and are now taking MU 111 (Music Theory I), you should continue in the spring with MU 112 (Music Theory II), MU 116 (Musicianship I), and MU 132 (Keyboard Lab I). These last three courses are corequisites and must be taken during the same semester (MU 116 and 132 each carry 1/2 unit).
  • If you have not taken MU 111 and have been advised instead to take MU 101 (Foundations of Music Theory), you should take that course in the spring and continue next fall to MU 111.
  • If you are planning a dual major in Music and Childhood Education, the above also applies to you. You should also plan to take ED 403 when it is next offered (most likely in fall 2014).
  • If you are planning a minor or a concentration in Music (including the Music Option of the Arts Administration major) you are not required to take the specific courses listed above but should do so if possible. You may also take any music history course for which you are qualified.
Current Sophomores, Juniors, and first-year students with advanced standing
  • If you are a declared music major or dual major, by now you should have taken, or be currently registered in, MU 211 (Music Theory III). You should also have taken its corequisites, MU 215 (Musicianship II) and MU 231 (Keyboard Lab II). If, however, you have not yet completed MU 111 (Music Theory I), please follow the instructions above for first-year students.
  • Please note that MU 212, 216, and 232 (Music Theory IV and its co-requisites) will not be offered in spring 2013. The music department is reevaluating its required courses and expects to announce a revised curriculum during spring 2013. Rest assured that all music majors will receive the training they need to fulfill their requirements and to graduate on schedule.
  • All students now in MU 211, including dual majors, who wish to continue their study of music should take MU 208 in spring 2013. This course is required for regular music majors and strongly recommended for dual majors. It will not be offered again until spring 2015. MU 208 includes a substantial theoretical component and will serve as the continuation of the music theory sequence. You may also take an additional elective such as MU 207, MU 209, MU 238, or MU 242 (note: MU 238 carries 1/2 unit of credit). Dual majors should plan to take ED 403 when it is next offered (most likely in fall 2014).
  • All declared music majors (including dual majors) taking lessons in voice or an instrument are required to take Performance Hour (MU 020), a non-credit (0-unit) course.
  • If you have a minor or a concentration in music you should continue in the music theory sequence, although you may also take any music history course for which you are qualified.
Current Seniors
  • All seniors should be sure that they will have met graduation requirements. If in doubt, see or email Professor Schulenberg! Music majors must take MU 400 (the Senior RFT), which is also recommended for dual majors and any other student wishing to complete a senior recital or other senior project.


For those of you advising education majors, please note that the Education Department is recommending that Education majors take ED 412, our main special education course, as soon as possible after they complete the education prerequesites; ED 210, ED 326, and ED 335.  Our rationale for this shift is because many of the upper level education courses assume a high level of familiarity with various disabilities typically seen in the classroom.  This shift in program order will allow all of our education majors heading into upper level education courses the same foundation in special education content, thus saving significant instructional time in these and other education courses, making our program more efficient.

Online registration in has made your role as faculty advisor even more important. Students need to understand fully the requirements as well as the suitability of courses they plan to register for. Please keep in mind the following tips:

Advise against registering for an inappropriate class just because it’s the only one open. The temptation is high in order to give the student full-time status, but it can create many problems: registering for a class with the intention of dropping it creates a false class load; if students keep classes past the drop-add period, they will be billed; if they continue in an inappropriate class, their grades may suffer. It is better to advise students to wait until an appropriate class is available and to check on often.

Also, in no case should a student be placed in a course that is part of a Freshman Learning Community, even if it is the only section open.

Inform your advisees well in advance if you will be on sabbatical the next semester. When advisors are on sabbatical, students should check with Academic Advisement for further information.

If a student is on probation, ask if there are courses to be repeated—they must be the same course numbers and repeated at Wagner. Also, be reasonable in choosing courses—students on probation must bring their semester and cumulative gpa to above 2.0 and should focus on classes that fulfill requirements, but also that they will do well in.

Student-athletes must be enrolled in and attending 4 units at all times. (Student-athletes repeating a course in which a passing grade was obtained will have to take 5 units). If student-athletes go below 4 units, they will not be eligible for competition. Contact the athletic academic advisor for further information at 718-390-3189.

Remember to check for prerequisites—courses with prerequisites are flagged in; however, if filling out a registration form, please look in the course descriptions in the bulletin.

If a student mentions having a disability, please refer him or her to Dina Assante in the Center for Academic and Career Engagement, 718-390-3278. Students are entitled to accommodations due to documented disabilities. Further information can be found on the CACE webpage at

Honors classes are open to all students; however, they are not always suitable for all students. An honors section is identified by an “H” in the section column. Discuss with the student if it would be an appropriate choice and to avoid registering for it just because it is the only section open.

At Orientation:

  • Establish your identity as RFT instructor/advisor.
  • Explain your role as First-Year Advisor—students will meet with you for advisement in October/ November.
  • Explain the major declaration process—after their first semester, students may declare a major by filling out the Formal Declaration of Major form in the major department. This must be done before the end of their sophomore year. They will then be assigned a new advisor from the major department.
  • Reassure students that either you are knowledgeable about all academic areas or that students may go to the web page for any department they wish to explore.
  • Inform students of your office hours and welcome them to visit you often. Develop a rapport with each student so he/she will feel comfortable coming to you for assistance.
  • Inform students of academic support services: yourself, Peer Tutoring Center, WITS, RITS, Center for Academic and Career Engagement. Review and distribute General Education Requirements checklist.

By end of first week:

  • Keep careful attendance records in RFT — all of your advisees should be there.
  • Let CACE know if any of your advisees have stop attending.

By end of first month:

  • Meet each student at least once during office hours.
  • Discuss co-curricular involvement, including weekend activities. Refer students to their Resident Assistant or to the Office of Co-Curricular Programs to become involved in campus activities. Clubs and organizations are described in the Student Handbook.
  • Meet with LC colleague to discuss any student concerns. When necessary, alert CACE staff for assistance with intervention.
  • When appropriate, facilitate contacts for advisees with interests in other departments.

By mid-term:

  • Follow-up with both student and colleague on contacts made.
  • Discuss mid-term academic progress (e.g., praise, warnings).
  • Discuss mid-term co-curricular progress (e.g. friends, clubs) journals and logs.
  • Discuss areas of academic interest and long-range plan of studies.
  • Promote Study Abroad options—hold group discussion or invite upperclass students who have been abroad to share experiences with the class. The Center for Intercultural Advancement can assist in finding speakers to promote these options.
  • With the Registrar’s Office and the CACE, provide information regarding for students to access their academic records on-line. Emphasize that they should check to ensure that they have no “holds” on their registration. Refer students to appropriate office for resolution of existing holds.

By registration period:

  • Remind students of upcoming registration period and to make an appointment to meet with you for advisement prior to registration in order to be cleared to self-register. They should not wait until their registration period to do both.
  • Discuss spring course selections – involve faculty in other departments where appropriate to assist students in exploring disciplines of interest or starting major requirements.
  • Inform students who are in danger of failing their RFT that they will be required to take EN101 the next semester to meet the writing requirement. This course is offered in the spring.
  • Encourage freshman and sophomore students to take an Intermediate Learning Community as soon as possible in order to fulfill their General Education requirements. NOTE: A Study Abroad semester that includes two or more classes will fulfill the ILC requirement.
  • Spend extra time with students who express a desire to transfer to determine why they are not satisfied at Wagner and refer them to appropriate offices such as CACE, Financial Aid, or the Center for Health and Wellness.
  • If necessary, make sure students have met with faculty in other departments of interest (i.e., Education, Nursing, Theatre, Music, Computer Science, Pre-Professional Sciences) before coming to you for advising. See General Advisement Tips in this handbook for more information.

By semester end:

  • Make sure you have met with all of your advisees and that they understand self-registration before you clear them.
  • Inform CACE of any student who did not register.

Throughout the semester, keep brief but detailed notes about your meetings with students. This record provides an important means of verifying information in case of a dispute about advisement. It also will help acquaint students’ major advisors with the interests and any on-going issues of their advisees.

Your advisees include the freshmen who were in your RFT and those sophomores who have not yet declared a major. Your complete list of advisees can be seen in Click on Faculty-Advisor and Show My Advisees to see all of your advisees. Click on a student’s name to see Academic Details and Biographical Details. You can also review the student’s unofficial transcript and academic record through

Freshmen should give thought now to their Intermediate LC. Encourage students to take an ILC if they have not done so already. Taking the ILC early increases the chances that the courses in the ILC also can meet General Education “Disciplinary Perspectives” requirements. Education, Nursing, and PA majors will have specific ILCs required. A Study Abroad semester will fulfill the ILC requirement.

Foundation Courses (Writing Intensive, Math, Computers, Speech) should be completed by the end of 2nd year.

Facilitate interaction with other academic departments before selecting courses, when appropriate. Students with academic interests other than your discipline should obtain advice from a faculty member from the area of their interest.

Encourage sophomores to declare a major. Help students to stay focused on the goal of deciding on a major. Checklists for major requirements are posted on the department pages on the Wagner website. Please feel free to send them to CACE for further help with exploration and decision-making. NOTE: Students may believe they are declared because they are in certain programs, such as Nursing or Theatre, but they still need to declare officially in the department.

Students who wish to declare or change their major must fill out the Declaration of Major form in the major department. If they want to declare or change a minor, this also must be done in the department.

Suggest summer classes for those students who are deficient in units. (Students should complete nine units per year.) If taking at another college, courses must be pre-approved by the registrar to ensure transfer

Proficiency exams in Speech and Computer Science will waive the General Education requirement, but will not earn a unit. Math placement exams are for placement only and do not waive the math requirement. Check with the departments for dates of testing.

ED 399 Math and Science for Childhood Education does not meet General Education requirements.

Remember that your signature on a registration form or drop/add form indicates your approval of the courses to be registered or dropped. Do not sign a blank form or give a blank form to a student. If you fill out a registration form, keep the pink copy for your records, and if you fill out the yellow drop/add form, draw a line under the last entry you make.

A plan being implemented in Learning Community 17 by Don Stearns and Chris Corbo (Fall, 2012)


Each year, many capable freshmen come to Wagner College with an accustomed approach towards learning that largely involves fuzzy memorization without real understanding, as well as a procrastinating mindset. Apparently, filling of short-term memory banks with memorized information shortly before each exam has largely worked for these students throughout high school. While they may be aware of conceptual learning, where the challenge is to understand concepts rather than blindly memorize them, that awareness pales in comparison to the last-minute, memorization approach toward learning that most have practiced daily for several years before college. Conceptual learning requires that the student take the time to think about something and mentally examine it. Students not accustomed to this approach will likely wait until shortly before an exam before they “study,” and discover too late that there is not sufficient time to assimilate the information and mentally come to grips with it to reach a conceptual understanding. As a consequence, erstwhile capable students greatly decrease their chances of succeeding in college. Approximately 10 percent of the freshman class each year leave Wagner College after the first year, some because they mistakenly do not see themselves as capable enough to handle college demands. What is needed for these students is some sort of structured approach that prepares freshmen for conceptual learning, together with fundamental study skills and habits that equip the students with ways to deal effectively with procrastination and other factors that affect their college success. A student who successfully meets this transitional challenge is more likely to have the confidence to continue. What follows is an attempt by Learning Community 17 (Don Stearns and Chris Corbo) towards such a structured approach.

Each Student Structures His/Her Own Fall Semester Activity Calendar

In the combined Reflective Tutorial (RFT) class during the first week of the term, each LC17 freshman will be given a fall semester calendar with all the known deadlines/important dates for assignments, activities, and exams for the learning community already filled in by the two learning community instructors. As an assignment due the following week, each student will complete his/her calendar by including deadlines/important dates associated with the fourth course being taken, as well as planned athletic, employment, and other nonacademic activities. Each student’s calendar will likely not be complete, because the timing for all student activities will not have been completely determined for the entire semester yet, but this will be a start. While this exercise should point out any glaring conflicts early in the semester, the calendar will mainly give each freshman a fleshed-out program s/he will be following for the semester, a program s/he can keep and consult periodically. This calendar presents each student with a concrete idea of what is academically expected each week (and beyond) and which blocks of time are available to achieve academic goals. It is the first step towards the development of a realistic, strategic study plan.

Each Student Meets with His/Her RFT Instructor and Fleshes Out a Study Plan for the Calendar

The LC instructors will meet with their freshman advisees individually during the first couple of weeks of the term, to go over the student’s calendar. The main purpose of the individual meeting is to help the student develop a study plan that works with that student’s schedule. For maximum effectiveness, the study plan should be structured such that the student has a weekly study routine that becomes habitual, using free blocks of time that are regularly available every week. (According to Baumeister and Tierney [2011], making study habits habitual and routine and essentially automatic reduces stress and enhances the likelihood that serious studying will take place. The authors also note that willpower to accomplish effective studying is strongest when the student is rested and nourished. If a student plans to party until all hours one night, the following morning is not an appropriate time slot for effective studying, even if that time slot is free.)

Assessing the Effectiveness of the Student’s Study Plan in a Timely Fashion

Developing, with a student, a study plan with regular time blocks allocated for preparation does not necessarily mean that the student will follow the plan, especially if the student has never followed a study plan before. It therefore becomes important for the faculty advisor to devise ways to monitor progress during this transition period. We will require each of our freshman advisees to make weekly entries in a study log and/or journal, so that we can monitor their progress in the development of healthy study habits. We will expect each student to reflect on their own study habits, to see where they see themselves improving. We will also charge each student with conceptually understanding at least one challenging concept s/he learned during the week, reflecting on that topic in the study log, and being prepared to discuss the concept with the RFT instructor. We plan to meet our freshman advisees individually on a weekly basis for at least 15 minutes of quality time per session, to go over the journal entries and offer guidance where needed. (If scheduling becomes an issue, we have the option of handling these weekly meetings electronically.) According to Baumeister and Tierney (2011), rapid feedback that is individually tailored is the most effective way to facilitate positive change here. If there are study issues that are common to several students in the RFT class (e.g., practical ways to organize and prioritize), we will take some RFT time to discuss these issues with the class, with the emphasis on development of more effective study skills. The goal here is to embed the development of appropriate study habits into the RFT curriculum early and often enough to be effective in preparing freshmen for the academic challenges that lie ahead.

Students can be overwhelmed by a large homework assignment (e.g., a 20-page term paper), especially if they have not yet developed appropriate study habits and see it as a massive project to do at the last minute. Baumeister and Tierney (2011) recommend carefully advising students regarding how to take a longer-term goal such as a major paper and breaking it down into smaller steps that are cumulative. Each step becomes an attainable goal that is not overwhelming.
As assignments come due and exams are given, each student’s grade will be an indication of whether or not appropriate study habits are being developed. When a student performs badly, that is an opportunity for the RFT instructor to meet (directly or electronically) to help the student address the situation. To counter the negative (and probably false) impression that the poor grade indicates that the student is incapable of college work, the RFT instructor could take that opportunity to reexamine, with the student, that student’s study habits and to emphasize that the process is in place to help the student attain study skills that will sustain him/her for the rest of their college years and beyond.

Advising Freshmen About Long-Term Plans

Often a student will not begin thinking about long-term goals such as selecting a major until the deadline is fast approaching. At the same time, when students are presented with many choices (e.g., many possible majors), they often tend to postpone decision making (Baumeister and Tierney, 2011). To encourage undeclared first-semester freshmen to begin the first steps of that process, one of the goals of advising for us will be to introduce each student to the different general areas of instruction at Wagner College (the five divisions) and describe the different majors in each division. While we will not be requiring the student to settle on a major, we will be encouraging the student to begin thinking systematically about the process, beginning with general areas of instruction.

Literature Cited
Baumeister RF, Tierney J. 2011. Willpower: Rediscovering the greatest human strength. New York [NY]: The Penguin Press. 291 p.