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The College of Health and Human Development (CHHD) acknowledges the valuable role academic advising plays in the retention of undergraduate students and views advising as an important aspect of the professional responsibilities of faculty and staff. The college also recognizes that many students entering the university are uncertain of career goals and the alternative avenues available to achieve those goals. The college advising system is designed to help students identify and achieve their academic goals, promote intellectual discovery, become self-directed learners and decision-makers, and encourage both in- and out-of-class educational experiences. The College of Health and Human Development provides academic advising for students enrolled in the college, as well as for undecided, exploratory, and prospective students.

In general, first-year students are admitted to the college rather than a major. The exception is Professional Golf Management, which is a first-year admission program. Students in general college status retain this designation until the entrance requirements for the intended major are met. At University Park, first year premajor students are advised in the Center for Student Advising and Engagement as are exploratory and undecided students from other academic units at Penn State. A student will be reassigned at the end of the first year to an adviser in the department or school once they formally declare their major. Students who are not yet eligible to declare a major but who are confident of their choice of major will also be assigned to an adviser in the department or school at the end of the first year. Students who are still exploring will remain in general college or premajor status until they are ready to declare a major and will continue to be advised in the Center for Student Advising and Engagement.

Advanced-standing transfer students may be admitted directly to a major (if entrance requirements have been met), or admitted to the college in premajor status (if transferring with less than 59.1 credits). In most cases, transfer students in pre-major status at University Park are advised in the departments or school until they are eligible to enroll in a major.

Responsibilities of Advisers and Advisees icon-olus-circle

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources aimed at supporting student success at Penn State.

A. Responsibilities of Advisers

The Adviser Will:

1. Engage students in active discussion of their educational and career objectives with the intent of helping students to understand the range of educational opportunities available at Penn State.

2. Help students to better understand the logic of the curriculum and the relationships among educational opportunities such as General Education courses, University requirements, programs, undergraduate research opportunities, internships, study abroad programs, and other academic experiences.

3. Help students to understand the nature of the University’s academic programs and to understand the expected standards of achievement and likelihood of success in certain areas of study.

4. Assist students in addressing concerns affecting their academic progress and make referrals to appropriate support services.

5. Ensure that students are aware of appropriate University procedures and policies, and help students understand their purpose and rationale.

6. Help students to plan a course of study and give advice about courses and the adjustment of course loads.

7. Complete consistent electronic documentation of advising interactions in the “student advising system” as Penn State is based on mobility within the institution. A cohesive record of students’ movement through the institution is necessary to provide a consistent and strong advising experience.

8. Actively reach out to students as interventions are needed and provide timely responses to concerns raised by the student or others in a student’s support network.

9. Create an inclusive environment that welcomes and supports all students.

10. Participate in ongoing professional development to keep informed of and current with advising practice and University policies.

11. Where appropriate, contribute to and engage in the scholarship of teaching, learning, and advising.

B. Responsibilities of Advisees

The Student Will:

1. Acquire the information needed to assume final responsibility for course scheduling, program planning, and the successful completion of all graduation requirements.

2. Explore educational opportunities at Penn State by learning more about their [intended] major and evaluating the fit of their interests and abilities with their [intended] program.

3. Engage in planning prior to meetings with academic advisers using relevant tools and resources, such as the University Bulletin, Suggested Academic Plans, and degree audits.

4. Meet regularly with assigned academic adviser to discuss goals, plans, suitability of other educational opportunities provided by the University, academic progress, challenges, and concerns.

5. Seek a variety of opportunities and information needed to set and achieve educational goals.

6. Become knowledgeable about the relevant policies, procedures, and rules of the University, college, and academic program.

7. Use the logic of the curriculum to integrate learning across all educational experiences.

The student’s assigned academic advising unit also will monitor the progress of its advisees towards satisfactory completion of all graduation requirements. It will ensure appropriate communication and relevant interventions in accordance with other University policies designed to promote student success. Advisees in turn will routinely contact their advisers each semester and will assume final responsibility for course scheduling, program planning, and the successful completion of graduation requirements.

Assignment of Adviser icon-olus-circle

Senate Policy 32-40 specifies responsibilities for the Assignment of Advisers for various categories of students, including degree candidates, provisional students, and nondegree regular and conditional students.


College, Campus, and Administrative Advising Information and Communications icon-olus-circle

Policies and procedures regarding Academic Advising information and Administrative Support Programs can be found Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures, B-6

A listing of the names, telephone numbers and electronic mail addresses for all college representatives is provided in the handbook directory. The College Contact Person (CCP) for the College of Health and Human Development is Susan Sanders, Lead Adviser, Center for Student Advising and Engagement, 5 Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802, 814-865-2156.

Functions of the Center for Student Advising and Engagement icon-olus-circle

The Center for Student Advising and Engagement  provides academic advising for exploratory students enrolled at University Park who are considering majors in health and human development and prospective students who are not yet enrolled at Penn State. On behalf of the dean’s office, the center provides consultation and dean’s review for University Faculty Senate policy exceptions for all exploratory health and human development students. Currently enrolled students wishing to apply to one of the nine undergraduate majors or eleven minors may be referred to the center to confirm their academic interest. The center provides academic advising support to faculty, staff, families, and the university’s constituents system wide.

The center works with the college’s Student Recruitment and Engagement Coordinator on annual university/college sponsored recruitment and retention programs including (but not limited to) the following: New Student Orientation Program (NSO), Spend A Summer Day, Scholars Day, Arrival Week Orientation, Fall Career Days at the Bryce Jordan Center, and campus Major Events and LinkUP. The annual Undergraduate Adviser and Student Handbook for Baccalaureate Degree Programs and Associate Degree and Undergraduate Credit Certificate Programs is coordinated through the center. College representation as the College Contact Person (CCP) for the College Contact and Referral Representative (CCRR) network is provided through the center. In addition, the center coordinates as all changes of campus, changes of major that require college review, leaves of absence, and re-enrollments and reinstatements.

Academic Classification of Students by Semester icon-olus-circle

A degree candidate’s semester classification is based upon the total credits earned.  

Academic Renewal icon-olus-circle

Students, including those who have been academically warned, suspended, or dismissed, may request approval for Academic Renewal and Re-enrollment if:

  • They have a cumulative grade-point average less than 2.00 and
  • They have been absent from Penn State for at least four calendar years during which they have not been enrolled in any Penn State credit courses.

If Academic Renewal is granted:

  • The student’s cumulative average will start over at 0.00.
  • All prior courses and grades remain unchanged on the student’s academic record.
  • The notation of Academic Renewal will be recorded on the student’s transcript.
  • Courses passed with a grade of “C” or better during the earlier enrollment and approved by the dean of the college may be used to fulfill graduation requirements.
  • Courses taken prior to Academic Renewal will not count towards the repeated courses limit as specified in Policy 47-80.
University Policy for Change of Campus icon-olus-circle

Students request a change of campus using the "Update Campus" application found under the other academics dropdown menu in the LionPATH Student Center. This is only available to undergraduate students in degree status. A tutorial is available here.

The University admits first-semester baccalaureate degree candidates to a campus that can provide at least 2 semesters of normal progress toward the program they have selected. Generally, students are expected to complete 2 full years of academic work at their initial campus. After 2 years, they may have to change to a university campus that offers the upper-level course work required in their major.

The dean for each college will be responsible for establishing procedures to accomplish each of the following objectives:

  1. Inform each baccalaureate student (in the college) of the policies and procedures governing relocation to another campus.
  2. Identify the courses required to maintain normal academic progress for the student’s major preference.
  3. Identify the probable semester of change of campus for a student based on major preference.
  4. Assure that change of campus does occur consistent with the current course requirements of a student's major preference, the student's actual course experience, and the planned course offerings of the campus over the next several semesters.

A student may request an early change of campus in order to maintain normal progress toward his/her preferred major. The student who is headed toward a major that requires early change of campus is expected to remain in that major and to schedule courses consistent with it. Under special circumstances, request for other reasons may be approved as exceptions. (See College of Health and Human Development Policy for Change of Campus.)

The student must obtain approval from officials at his/her campus (first) and at the desired campus (second) in order for the change to be processed. The designated official at the student's campus determines if it is appropriate for the student to relocate. If the request seems appropriate, the student initiates the change in LionPATH using the "Update Campus" link. The student's current campus reviews the request and can approve or deny it. If denied an email is sent to the student. If approved the request is sent to the requested campus. The student is notified of this decision. If the change is approved, the student will be able to register for the subsequent semester at the new campus. If denied, the email will explain the reason for the denial and direct the student to the appropriate resource.

Note: Relocation to University Park during the first two years of academic work will be approved only under exceptional circumstances.

(Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, D-1)

HHD Policy for Change of Campus Location icon-olus-circle

Change of campus to University Park should generally take place after the student has completed 4 full-time semesters (or equivalent) at another campus.

Confidentiality and Security of Student Records icon-olus-circle

Educational records are kept by University offices to facilitate the educational development of students. Faculty and staff members may also keep informal records relating to their functional responsibilities with individual students.

Entrance to Major/Change of Major/Update Academics icon-olus-circle

A student who wishes to enter a major will use LionPATH’s “Update Academics” to request entrance to the major. To participate in this process, students will actively request entrance to majors when they are within an established credit window, have completed specified courses, and have earned the stated grade-point average. Administratively controlled majors will be reviewed by the academic unit.

Exceptions to Degree Requirements/Course Substitution icon-olus-circle

A student is expected to satisfy all University degree requirements (such as General Education, First-Year Seminar, Intercultural and International Competence or United States and International Cultures, Writing Across the Curriculum) that were in effect when the student first scheduled a class after his/her admission or most recent re-enrollment as a degree candidate. Requirements for a program (such as major, minor, option, honors) are those in effect at the time of the student's admission or most recent re-enrollment into that program.

Course substitution and exceptions to degree requirements do not require a petition to the University Faculty Senate. A petition is not required for correcting registration errors or changing a grade if the request is made before the deadline.

College of Health and Human Development Process for Exception to Degree Requirements

College advisers are encouraged to initiate course substitution petitions when appropriate, by using the online for Course Substitution system. Upon completion of the on-line form, the adviser will submit the request and the form will follow the pre-set approval path for authorization and LionPath entry. The student's reason for requesting the substitution and the adviser's rationale for supporting or denying support should be noted. Upon completion of the process, students are automatically, electronically notified of all final decisions.

Holds on Student Registration and Records icon-olus-circle

Authorized University offices may place a hold on a student's record that will prevent registration. Because of the seriousness of this action, the office placing the hold is required to notify the student. Holds are placed because of:

  • Academic issues--placed and removed by the University Registrar or by the College Dean’s offices;
  • Financial issues--placed and removed by offices such as Parking, Library, Bursar;
  • Disciplinary issues--placed and removed by Student Affairs;
  • Health issues--placed and removed by the University Health Center;
  • Administrative issues--placed and removed by the University Registrar.

(Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, N-2)

Nondegree Students icon-olus-circle
Petitions for Exceptions to Academic Policies and Procedures to Senate Policy icon-olus-circle


Students are responsible for preparing the student request, obtaining supporting documents, completing university forms, and obtaining a transcript and relevant registration records.

Student Request

The student should prepare a brief, factual letter that includes the following:

  • date the petition is submitted,
  • PSU ID number,
  • current address,
  • current phone number,
  • e-mail address,
  • a clear statement of the requested action,
  • a description of the conditions that warrant an exception, and
  • the reason University policy and/or procedure could not be followed


Trauma Petitions

  •  Trauma drop/withdrawal procedures should be followed when a student’s circumstances require unusual confidentiality (e.g., the victim of a sexual assault or violent crime). This procedure is streamlined to reduce the number of people involved in processing.
  • At University Park, a trauma drop/withdrawal is initiated by the student in consultation with the following people:
    • If the student has not met with a counselor at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the student should consult with Margaret Lorah, Director, Gender Equity Center, 204 Boucke Building, 814-863-2027.
    •  If the student has met with a CAPS counselor, the student should consult with this counselor; or Tammy MacAlarney, Case Manager; or Dr. Ben Locke, Director; CAPS, 221 Ritenour Building, 814-863-0395.
  • At non-University Park campuses, a strong letter of support from a staff member, petitioning for trauma drop/withdrawal may be forwarded to the appropriate contact for processing. The appropriate contacts are:
    • If the student has not met with a counselor at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the student should consult with Margaret Lorah, Director, Gender Equity Center, 204 Boucke Building, 814-863-2027.
    • If the student has met with a CAPS counselor, the student should consult with this counselor; or Tammy MacAlarney, Case Manager; or Dr. Ben Locke, Director; CAPS, 221 Ritenour Building, 814-863-0395.
  • A student letter is not required and the appropriate University form(s) will be submitted by the above mentioned person(s).
Reference Materials icon-olus-circle