Academic Advisors | Advisement Days | Directed Study | Independent Study

Academic Advisors

At Robert Morris University, all students are assigned an Academic Advisor, who is a full time faculty member in the discipline for which you are studying. Academic Advisors in the Media Arts department typically have between twenty and thirty advisees, and unless you make a request to change advisors or your advisor goes on sabbatical, you will work with the same advisor until you graduate. This is in contrast to some other institutions, which have a full time staff member whose only job is to advise students.  This typically results in an impersonal experience between the advisor and the student. This is not the case at RMU.

As a Media Arts student, you are encouraged to interact with your advisor beyond just getting your electronic signature required for next semester's registration.  Your Academic Advisor is there for three main reasons:

1. Provide clear advice to you on what courses to take and in what order (this is called course sequencing). In fact, a Media Arts advisor can work with you to create a "road map" for all the courses you need to take in order for you to graduate on time. Your advisor will help you make any adjustments along the way if you should pick up a minor of if a special opportunity like an international experience presents itself.

2. Provide career advice. Media Arts works closely with the registrar's office to ensure that advisees get assigned to faculty members who know that discipline best (e.g. a TV/Video student gets assigned to a TV/Video/Film faculty member). Because the respective faculty know the career fields for the disciplines they teach, they can give you great advice on what to expect in the work place, what the different kinds of opportunities are in the various fields, and how to prepare your portfolio or demo reel for interviews.

3. Provide general academic advice. Have a questions about general academic issues? Academic advisors can counsel you on registration issues, on changing concentrations, and on where to get help if you are struggling with a course.

In summary, your Academic Advisor is someone you will come to trust and know well long before graduation.  If there is a question that your advisor cannot answer, they will direct you to the right person to ask.  On many occasions, that will be the department head. Sometimes it will be the registrar's office.  In any case, don't relegate your advisor to being the person who "just gives you your required electronic signature" when it comes time to register for courses.


Academic Advisors | Advisement Days | Directed Study | Independent Study

Advisement Days

The Media Arts department was one of the first departments at RMU to initiate what is now known as an "advisement day."  In the past, it was typical for an advisee to arrange an appointment with the advisor and many times, it was difficult to reconcile the schedules of both the advisee and the advisor.  By having an "advisement day," all advisors in the Media Arts department make themselves available during a broad window of time two fridays prior to the start of registration. This broad window is typically 9:30a - 1:00p and every advisee that stops by during that time will be seen, even if faculty need to stay later than 1:00p. The department provides light refreshments while you wait, and if you arrive early on in the session, you typically get to see your advisor immediately. The department head is always present in case special concerns or requests crop up. 

In the past, most advisees have found advisement day an extremely efficient (and tasty) alternative to trying to schedule an individual appointment with the advisor.  Meeting with your advisor prior to your assigned registration time is critical in ensuring that you register when it's your turn. Remember that scheduling is based on seniority and that if you don't register at your assigned time, seats in the course that you might need to graduate may fill up, leaving you on the wait list. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you do no have any financial holds on your student financial account when it is time for you to register.  Example holds are outstanding tuition bills, parking tickets, or overdue library fines.


Academic Advisors | Advisement Days | Directed Study | Independent Study

Directed Study

Directed Study may be available to Robert Morris students, in unusual circumstances, for regular catalog courses if the student provides detailed justification for the Directed Study and receives approval of the school dean upon recommendation from the department head and consent from the faculty member who will work with you. For the most part, RMU only grants a Directed Study if the needed course is not offered in the same semester of graduation, or if the course is needed to keep you on track for an on-time graduation.  A Directed Study will not be authorized for the following reasons:

1. The student does not heed the advice of the Academic Advisor as a consequence, takes courses out of order that creates a delay in graduation.

2. Working around a student's extra-curricular commitments such as athletics, employment or other similar activities.

Undergraduate Directed Study Procedure:

1. Students must obtain an application for the Directed Study from the department secretary or registrar's office and take the application and a copy of their current academic checksheet to the head of the academic department through which the course is offered.

2. Detailed justification must be completed on the application.

3. If the department head feels the justification warrants approval, the department head will pursue finding a faculty member to conduct the Directed Study.

4. If the faculty member agrees to conduct the directed study, the department head will complete approval process part of the application and the student will hand-deliver the application to the school dean.

5. Planning for a Directed Study should be done before the term begins. The school dean forwards the application to the Registrar for registration purposes.


Academic Advisors | Advisement Days | Directed Study | Independent Study

Independent Study

Independent study is an option for students with a minimum 3.00 cumulative QPA who desire additional enrichment in areas not otherwise available through traditional course selection. Often confused with a Directed Study, Independent Study is used to further a student's understanding in subject matter through independent research.  Before approaching the department head about applying for Independent Study, the student usually speaks with a faculty member who is qualified to supervise the study. One of the other key differences between Directed and Independent Study is that in an Independent Study, the student researches the subject matter herself/himself and presents the findings to the faculty supervisor. All Independent Study requires a plan for study and terms for evaluation, both of which the faculty member and student must agree upon prior to the start of study. All Independent Study for Media Arts Students must be authorized by the dean of the School of Communications and Information Systems.

Undergraduate Independent Study Procedure:

1. Students must obtain an application for the Independent Study from the department secretary or registrar's office and take the application and a copy of their current academic checksheet to the head of her/his own academic department.

2. Detailed justification as to how the Independent Study will enhance the student's education must be completed on the application.

3. If the department head feels the justification warrants approval, the department head will seek authorization from the dean. If the dean consents to the application, the deaprtment head will assign a faculty member to supervise the Independent Study.

4. If the faculty member agrees to supervise the Independent Study, the department head will complete approval process part of the application and the student will hand-deliver the application to the school dean.

5. Planning for an Independent Study should be done before the term begins. The school dean forwards the application to the Registrar for registration purposes.

 

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