Day: July 18, 2019

Study Abroad

If you are considering a study-abroad experience, the first thing you should do is contact Pavlis Honors College by going to their offices on the 7th floor of the M&M Building or attending one of their publicized information sessions.  Study abroad programs are available ranging from several weeks in the summer to a full semester to an entire year.

It is important that you clarify your goals for your study abroad experience according to these guidelines:

  • “I want to study abroad and I am not concerned about maintaining progress in my degree program(s) at Michigan Tech.”  No real limitations on the programs a student might choose.
  • “I want to study abroad and I want to complete some required credits, but will target general education (UN, CCT, SRER, HASS) or other common credits (math, chemistry, physics, free electives, co-curriculars).”  Most programs and international institutions will be able to support these kinds of course equivalencies.
  • “I want to study abroad and I want to complete required BSME core credits (ENG, MEEM, EC 3400, etc). I do not want the study abroad experience to extend the time to complete my degree at all.”  This will limit your choices of international institutions/locations to those that offer engineering, or specifically mechanical engineering curricula.  It will be very difficult to find any study abroad equivalents to a Mechanical Engineering Practice (MEP) course. This may mean you have to carefully plan pre-reqs if you plan to “make up” the semester missed by doubling up MEP II and III when you return from study abroad.

Once you have identified a specific experience/location with IPS, it is then critical that you have all your study-abroad equivalent courses pre-approved before leaving Michigan Tech.  Typically, study-abroad credits though sanctioned study-abroad programs are considered to be Michigan Tech credits and are normally graded as pass-fail according to minimum standards of grades that are earned while studying through those programs.  Pass-fail graded courses are not included in Michigan Tech GPA calculations.  Contact IPS for more information on the pre-departure process.  Courses will be evaluated and possibly approved as equivalent to Michigan Tech courses similar to the syllabus submission process detailed below.

Study abroad courses must be evaluated for equivalency to Michigan Tech courses by sending the below information to and/or getting it from Pavlis and/or the exchange programs like USAC or ISA.  A syllabus may be sent directly to an ME academic advisor for a MEEM course evaluation.

A short catalog description is not enough information to evaluate a course for possible Michigan Tech credit. You must provide a syllabus.  The below information should be included.

  1. University or college name and location (including country, city, etc).
  2. Course number, course title, and number of US semester-equivalent credits
  3. Textbook(s) used
  4. Detailed description of topics (not just outcomes) and grading system. At a minimum, the description of topics must include a week-by-week (class-by-class, etc) breakdown of the topics/chapters covered.
  5. If all this information is available online, you can submit files or link(s). Allow several weeks for the course evaluation process to be completed by the appropriate Michigan Tech academic department.
  6. Before submitting a course for evaluation, please make sure that the course is being offered and you intend and will be allowed to take it. Please bear in mind that you will be subject to any pre-requisites or restrictions in place at the abroad institution, as well as Michigan Tech pre-reqs, etc.
  • There is an online form that you will receive from Pavlis to facilitate the evaluation process.
  • Once you have approved course(s) identified, an academic advisor will sign off your Course Planning Sheet (part of the online form from Pavlis) to make sure you understand how your overall plan for the credits to be attempted applies to your flow chart (degree progress).
  • If a study abroad course you are taking is a pre-req for a course you plan to take in your next semester at Michigan Tech, you will notify Pavlis of your registration though your planning form and an in-session (IS) placeholder can be entered into Banner.  The IS will act as a pre-req to allow you to register for the next course you need here at Tech (similar to the transfer process).
  • When your study abroad is complete, request an official copy of your transcript be sent to Michigan Tech as soon as you have completed the course(s) and grades are posted.  This may not happen automatically.  You should make a transcript request from the institution where you have completed courses and/or through the study-abroad program.  Official transcripts are sealed and must be received by Michigan Tech  directly from other institutions. Do not request these transcripts to be sent to yourself, academic advisors, etc.  Earned study abroad credits are not included in any GPA calculations, but can impact your GPAs if the credit replaces a grade of ‘CD’, ‘D’. or ‘F’ from a previous attempt here at Tech.  Removal of these poor grades for these calculations may cause GPAs to improve once study abroad credits are entered.  MAKE SURE YOU REQUEST TRANSCRIPTS RIGHT AWAY AND FOLLOW UP ON THE STATUS OF YOUR REQUEST.  A DELAY IN RECEIVING THESE TRANSCRIPTS CAN CAUSE REGISTRATION AND/OR GRADUATION ISSUES, ETC.
  • Please keep in mind that there are other international opportunities besides traditional study abroad programs as well.  ME-EM senior capstone design has offered international projects in the past.  These projects would be pre-arranged to meet your degree requirements.  iDesign – a summer/fall program through the Civil and Environmental Engineering department – is a possibility as well, but will require pre-approval of the project content for ME students (see an academic advisor for details if you are interested in this and have attended an information session for iDesign).
  • Another study abroad option for senior design is a European Project Semester (EPS) that can possibly fulfill your senior design requirement, but again project pre-approval is required.  Contact Pavlis for the availability of these EPS experiences and an academic advisor for details of ME-EM department project approval.  You should not expect to earn any other BSME-applicable credits other than MEEM 4901/4911 with an approved EPS project.


I am feeling stressed. What can I do? (And Study Tips)

Stressed? Many things happen during college life that can increase stress. Trying to balance everything – good academic performance, social life, family obligations, employment, activities, etc. – can be tough. First, understand and remember why you are here and keep reminding yourself of that (graduate, get into a desired career, self sufficient income, etc).  Second, remember you are here for yourself and not anyone else. Realizing that you choose to pursue this degree is an important factor in your success.  Your daily choices need to support that long-term choice.

Why have I chosen to be here? Your goal may be something like this: To earn a nationally accredited mechanical engineering degree at one of the nation’s top engineering universities. To obtain a position with a successful company. To be financially viable and independent in your career.  To go on to earn a graduate degree, etc.  To accomplish long-term goals, you must set supporting short term goals for yourself (exam/project performance, course grades, semester GPAs, Dean’s List, 3.0 cumulative GPA, etc) and effectively work towards them.

  • Establish personal priorities that will allow you to perform well academically and meet your goals.
    • How do the daily and weekly choices you make affect the short and long term goals you have set for yourself?
    • If your friends want you to hang out, but you’ve got homework or a test, hang out another day.
    • If you are working too many hours, evaluate your need to work or consider reduced course loads and/or additional financial aid options (loans, etc).
    • If you are involved in too many organizations (including enterprise) or a leadership position that takes away time and hurts your grades; cut involvement back, limit your hours, or postpone participation.
    • Are your expectations of the time commitments you expect from yourself realistic – especially also considering instructors’ expectations of you?
    • It is perfectly OK to graduate in 4.5 or 5 years.  How you perform and what you learn matters most, not how long it takes to earn your degree.  Employers typically don’t care how long it takes you to earn your degree.
  • Attend all your classes.
    • One of the most important factors for success in college is class attendance.
    • Don’t skip a class to catch up on sleep or to catch up in another class. This time is where you begin to learn what you need to know in order to be successful on quizzes, homework, and tests, and where you should be achieving a deeper understanding of the course material.  Feeling the “need” to skip class for these other considerations is an indication of overall poor time management or general overloading.
    • If you rely on just reading the textbook, you will miss out on important information or waste time on material that may not be included in the course.
    • However, pre-reading and previewing the assigned material before class times will make those class sessions more effective.  The text and class time go hand-in-hand to best facilitate your learning.
  • Get help when you need it.
    • If you are falling behind in any of your classes, see your instructor, a learning center coach (whenever available for appointments or walk-in), and your academic advisor.  Form study group(s), especially for upper level courses that may not have learning center assistance available.  Utilization of these resources from the very beginning of a semester can also help prevent falling behind in the first place.
    • If you are feeling undue pressure from many/all areas of your life, are overwhelmed in any one or more aspects, feeling depressed or homesick, or having difficulty coping with anything at all; see Counseling Services (see link below) right away and nip it in the bud. You have to watch out for yourself, have balance for a healthy lifestyle, and seek help if needed.
    • Also, for any difficulties with substance abuse – including alcohol – please contact Counseling Services.
    • If your grades or midterm marks are low (or if you feel they will be), see your academic advisor early and often (in your academic career, in a semester, etc).  Keep track of your estimated grades throughout each semester so you proactively realize when things are going well and when they are not, and to what degree.
  • Get your homework done (graded or ungraded), study for quizzes and exams, and work on project progress, etc as your main priority. There will be plenty of time for fun after that.  If you reverse this priority, your grades and your chance for success will suffer.  Your academics are your current full-time job and must be a top priority in your life in general in order for you to be successful.

Grades, probation, and suspension:
If you are earning/estimating low grades and/or unsatisfactory midterm marks (1st-year students), see your academic advisor early on. Once you become a student on academic probation, it can be a difficult process to get yourself back to good academic standing. If your grades do not improve and you have two bad semesters in a row (remaining an academic probation student), you may be placed on academic suspension (see FAQ #7 regarding probation and suspension).

If you feel that you are doing the best you can, approaching your academics very seriously, and utilizing resources in a systematic way, but still are unable to get good or acceptable grades, you may want to consider whether or not you are in the right major.

Resources

Career Services offers career advising.  This may be a very helpful process for you if you are considering a major change or are at least unsure of your current major.  The Career Services web site and staff also offer many other services that are helpful for job searches, being prepared for Career Fairs, Career Fair information for each semester, résumé and interview help, etc.

Counseling Services offers academic and personal counseling and can connect you to resources beyond their on-campus presence if needed. Call 906.487.2538 or go to their offices on the 3rd floor of the Administration Building to make an appointment.  Please contact them ASAP if you are feeling overwhelmed, unable to focus on homework and studying for exams, experience test anxiety, are depressed, have other anxiety, have substance abuse issues, etc. Learn new study skills, coping strategies, and how to focus on what is important to you in order to reach your personal goals.

The Wahtera Center for Student Success offers academic skills development and mentoring/coaching, especially for new students.  If you feel that you are capable of doing well and are feeling good about being at Michigan Tech, but mostly just need some direction on how to approach your studies correctly, the Center for Student Success has programs that can help.  They can also connect you with more experienced student mentors that can help you find your way here at Tech.

Student Disability Services is part of the Dean of Students (DOS) office.  If you have a diagnosed or possibly undiagnosed physical or mental condition or learning disability, please contact this office to see how to handle your specific situation according to university policies.  You should also always contact DOS if you have to document any excused absences from classes (illness/injury, death in the family, etc).

Academic Approach

When you are in tough class(es), which you are every semester – and especially if anything is not going well – do not just give up.  Seek help throughout the semester (starting right away in Week 1) and whenever you feel you need it.  See your instructors regularly and an academic advisor whenever necessary. Go to learning centers in a structured way.  Make regular weekly learning center appointments whenever possible. Even if you don’t feel you need this help, it can only improve your performance.

Homework prepares you to be successful on quizzes and exams but may not be collected and graded.  Whether it is collected and graded or not, you must do this work.  If you don’t understand how to do a problem, don’t accept that situation. See your instructor and/or a learning center coach. Do the problem over and over until you can do it yourself without error. Repetitive study – including homework – will help tremendously on exams.  As you move into the core ME curriculum, grading will become more and more based on exams, sometimes solely, so exam performance is critical to your long-term success. Take interest in your subjects. One class is a building block for another, so it is important to do well in each and strive to truly learn the material in addition to earning a good grade.

What is Repetitive Studying?  The reason that it takes a lot of time to be successful in your courses is that you need to practice and have repetition in the concepts you are learning. Just like you need to practice to improve in athletics, the same is true for academics.  By following the below steps to go through material over and over, by the time you get to the point of taking an exam, that material should be second-nature to you and easily recalled.

  • Preview material (before class, reading, any pre-quizzes, videos, Canvas, etc)
  • Attend every class and take good notes
  • Review notes and formulate questions (instructor’s office hours)
  • Complete homework/practice problems (learning center coach)
  • Work on projects/labs as applicable
  • Study for quizzes/exams

Instructors: Your instructors want you to succeed and robustly learn/retain the course material. They are not trying to trick you. Ask questions, learn how to learn and understand your contribution to the process. Explore the subject. Master the material. Instructors don’t ‘give’ grades, you earn grades. Our curriculum is challenging. Get help as soon as you need it (or before that with proactive use of resources, like learning center appointments). Know your instructor’s office hours and utilize them (or make alternate arrangements to meet with them).  If you have any difficulty in understanding any of your instructors, this is not an excuse to miss class or do poorly.  By seeing your instructor during office hours you should be able to communicate effectively one-on-one. Your instructors are experts in their fields and enjoy teaching those who want to learn.  Also, if you ever must miss class for a legitimate reason (university travel, illness/injury, death in the family, etc) please communicate this directly to your instructors; in advance whenever possible.  Also document these absences with the Dean of Students office.


Academic Probation & Suspension

Academic Probation

What is it? Academic probation is a strong warning to students that their academic performance is less than that expected by the University. Notices of academic probation are sent to students through email at the end of the semester, when final grades are released.

Please note that probation is retroactive. When a student is notified of academic probation they already have one semester of probation (for the semester that was just completed).

How is this determined? A student seeking an undergraduate degree is placed on academic probation under any of the following three conditions:

  • The University cumulative GPA is below 2.00.
  • The GPA for the most recent semester is below 2.00.
  • The cumulative departmental GPA is below 2.00, based on at least 16 credits. For ME students, this means all MEEM credits taken.

What are the consequences? A student on academic probation is not permitted to register for more than 16 credits per semester unless approval is granted by the Dean of Students Office. Academic probation is also an intermediate step toward academic suspension (see below). Financial aid may be impacted as well, contact Michigan Tech Student Financial Services to inquire about consequences specific to your aid package.

What can be done? When does probation end? See an advisor to develop a plan that may include repeating courses (see FAQ #6).

A student is removed from academic probation (back to good academic standing) when all of the following conditions have been met:

  • The University cumulative GPA is 2.00 or greater.
  • The GPA for the most recently completed semester is 2.00 or greater.
  • The cumulative departmental GPA is 2.00 or greater, based on at least 16 credits.

Academic Suspension

What is it? A specified period of time where a student will not be permitted to enroll at the University

How is this determined? The following are grounds for academic suspension:

  • The student earns a semester GPA of 0.0 while attempting 12 or more credits, or
  • The student’s cumulative GPA is below 2.00 after two semesters of academic probation (remember that this is only one semester after triggering probation status), or
  • The student does not achieve good academic standing (i.e. not on probation) after two semesters of probation (two consecutive semesters of below 2.00 semester GPAs).

What are the consequences? This depends upon how many times the student has been placed on academic suspension and how well the student performs upon return:

  • Upon receiving a first notice of academic suspension, a student may not attend Michigan Tech for at least one semester, plus a summer. That is, a student suspended at the end of a fall semester may not re-enroll until the following fall, and a student suspended at the end of a spring semester may not re-enroll until the following spring semester.  Students may appeal their suspension to avoid being unable to attend Michigan Tech for these time frames (see below).
  • Upon receiving a second notice of academic suspension, a student may not attend Michigan Tech for two semesters, plus a summer.
  • After returning from a second suspension, failure to achieve good academic standing (i.e. not on probation) or show substantial academic progress within one semester will result in academic dismissal. There is no opportunity for reinstatement after academic dismissal; however, a student may request an appeal.

What can be done? The University has a reinstatement process in place for students returning from suspension as well as a suspension and dismissal appeals process.

Suspension appeals must be received prior to the published deadline for each semester. Appeals must be submitted online to the Dean of Students office.

Reinstatement requests must be made 6 weeks in advance of the start date of the planned return semester. To request reinstatement, students must follow the procedure on the Dean of Students office website (date due for each semester published on this page also).  The reinstatement request online form will ask a series of questions regarding goals, previous academic history and future plans for improvement. Students will also be asked to submit a letter of recommendation/performance review from their current employer, a transcript for any courses taken during the suspension period (see FAQ #5 for how to transfer coursework completed at other institutions to Michigan Tech) and a three-semester academic plan developed in conjunction with an ME academic advisor.