A Message from Kathleen Plinske, Executive Vice President and Provost
Due to a recent update in Banner, you may hear questions from students about their selected pre-major. I want to provide you with some background information that may be helpful to you in your conversations with students.
Over the last few years, Valencia developed 22 pre-majors, which are largely intended to prepare students for transfer into their chosen baccalaureate program. The concept of a pre-major has obviously resonated with our students because more than 23,000 active students have selected a pre-major.
Although pre-majors help students make informed decisions about the courses they select to fulfill their general education and elective requirements, Valencia awards only one Associate in Arts credential. Students who complete any one of our pre-majors, as well as students who do not follow a pre-major pathway and complete the general requirements for an Associate in Arts degree, receive the same Associate in Arts credential.
As we continued to add pre-majors, we discovered that Banner was treating pre-majors as distinct academic programs. This affected the way some of our automated processes would run. To address these technical issues, students who had selected a pre-major as their program of study recently had their records in Banner updated to reflect that the credential they are pursuing is an Associate in Arts degree. This week, students received an email that their program of study had been updated to “AA-General.”
This change does not mean that students cannot follow the guided pathway outlined in their selected pre-majors, and it does not mean that Valencia has eliminated pre-majors. Please reassure students that they can continue to consider themselves, for example, “biomed pre-majors” or “psychology pre-majors,” despite the change to their programs of study in Banner.
Some students had already registered for courses in the spring that count toward their pre-major, but not toward their associate degree. As indicated in our catalog, courses that do not count toward a student’s degree are not eligible for federal financial aid. Our directors and assistant directors of advising are personally reaching out by telephone to all students who may experience an impact to their expected financial aid to discuss potential options, including looking at other potential funding sources for financial aid.
Guided pathways are critically important to help students select the right courses to prepare them for transfer into their intended baccalaureate programs. In the spring, we’ll convene a collaborative process to review our pre-majors, transfer plans, degree maps, academic blueprints and other tools that we have developed to better understand what model works best for our students.
In the meantime, please encourage students who have any questions about their pre-major or selection of courses for spring to contact their academic advisor or program advisor. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.