BU’s colleges create different plans to remain on course for graduation

It can be a little overwhelming trying to schedule classes with the amount and variety available to students. But some students don’t have the stress of what to choose. 

For example, some College of Engineering and Technology students are accustomed to flow charts that lay out which classes students must take each semester.

“Each program has a flow chart, and I believe that is required as a component of our program’s ABET [Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology],” said Jamie Cobb, the undergraduate advisor of the college.

Cobb said the industrial, manufacturing and civil engineering departments, along with manufacturing engineering technology and construction management, use the charts. She said the flow charts have been helpful to both students and advisers.

“[The flow charts] give a visual of the program and how the prerequisites affect the flow of moving through the curriculum for [students’] majors,” Cobb said.

Flow charts are not often used in Bradley’s four other colleges, Cobb said, because other programs may not have prerequisites in comparison to engineering courses.

The Foster College of Business uses a checklist system instead, said Undergraduate Advising Coordinator Alison Jones. The checklist is more flexible than the flow chart, but the college still enforces prerequisites.

“[The checklist] is a personalized tracker of students’ credits and shows every class they need to fulfill their degree requirements,” Jones said. “I update them after fall and spring semesters with earned-to-date credits.”

Similar to the business college, Education and Health Sciences uses tentative templates of schedules for all students, but no flowcharts, said Associate Dean Lori Russell-Chapin.

The bigger colleges, like Liberal Arts and Sciences, are so diverse that each department has its own mechanism for tracking students’ coursework, said LAS Administrative Assistant Pat Campbell.

“The university undergraduate catalog details all departmental major requirements,” she said. “Some departments have more sequential curriculum requirements than others.”

The Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts uses academic advisors assigned to each student to help with course scheduling.

“These advisors work with the student on an individual basis,” said Associate Dean B.J. Lawrence. “It is our check and balance system that is so successful and results in very few last minute problems for our majors.”

Lawrence said this approach is intended to be flexible, so students have the option to study abroad or participate in Hollywood Semester.