Mohammed Khayum, Ph.D., Provost
Michael “Brody” Broshears, M.S., Assistant Vice President for Academic Success
The mission of University Division is to facilitate USI students’ academic success by helping students build a solid foundation for their college careers. University Division coordinates a variety of academic programs and services, including academic support services for all USI students and academic advising for students without a declared major or classified as non-degree seeking, guest, high school agreement, or conditionally admitted. The division is comprised of The Center for Exploring Majors, undergraduate advising centers, Academic Skills, Career Counseling, and Student Support Services. For additional information visit www.usi.edu/university-division.
Center for Exploring Majors
The mission of the Center for Exploring Majors (CEM) is to provide academic services that enhance the connection between students and the University. Students who are undecided about a major enroll temporarily in University Division instead of enrolling in an academic major. Center for Exploring Majors academic advisors offer guidance to those uncertain about their educational, career, and lifelong goals. Located in Education Center Room 1142, advisors are available to students 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 812-465-1606.
Students are encouraged to declare an academic major as soon as possible. Students must declare a major before the first semester of their junior year. Transferring from the Center for Exploring Majors to an academic department can occur at any time during the exploratory period. However, some departments or programs may have additional requirements students must meet before declaration can be made.
Regular academic advising is particularly important for the long-term academic success of students currently exploring multiple career options. Therefore, all Center for Exploring Majors students are required to see an academic advisor prior to registration each semester. Students in the Center for Exploring Majors receive specialized academic advising and are encouraged to participate in one or more career exploration experiences offered on campus. These services include individual career counseling through Center for Exploring Majors advisors, the course GENS 111 - Career Planning, Career Cruising (an online career guidance and planning system), and other resources, i.e. – Strong Interest Inventory (SII), personality types (MBTI) and Indiana Career Explorer (ICE).
Like all baccalaureate degree-seeking students, Center for Exploring Majors students spend much of their first four semesters completing Core 39 courses, the nucleus of a liberal arts education. These courses help students become better problem solvers, better citizens, and more thoughtful human beings. These requirements and the special academic advice that the Center for Exploring Majors students receive establish a strong foundation for advanced study and encourage students to use their curiosity and enthusiasm to inquire into many realms of knowledge. University Division seeks to help students become more flexible, to see relationships among disciplines of study, and to develop the basis for lifelong learning and work.
The mission of Academic Skills is to enhance student success and the educational process at USI by providing academic support services through classes and a variety of learning assistance programs. Located in the Education Center, Room 1111, office hours during the fall and spring semesters are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Peer tutoring is available at no cost to students. Check with the department for current tutoring schedules.
Placement into English, math, and reading courses are based on a student’s ACT/SAT scores and any transfer credit a student may have. Students who did not submit standardized test scores for admission can still submit scores for placement purposes. Without scores, students may need to take a placement test to determine appropriate placement. Students who wish to try to improve their course placement can also take a placement test.
Students who have taken French, German, or Spanish classes in high school and want to continue study of that language at USI will be placed according to number of years they have studied the language. Placement tests are available in French, German and Spanish in certain circumstances by appointment. Students who took Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Latin in high school should contact the World Languages and Cultures department at 812-465-7026 to schedule an interview.
For those students who required testing to determine placement, Academic Skills administers math, reading, and writing placement tests. These tests can be taken in a variety of ways:
- On-campus testing is available by appointment Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Central Time), unless the University is closed.
- Students unable to come to campus may take their tests online with a virtual remote proctor. This option allows the student to test at home using their own computer. It requires a high-speed internet connection and a webcam. Contact Academic Skills for more information.
- Arrange for testing at a testing center in your community.
- Take the test at home using Examity. This option requires the student to use a webcam and pay a $25 fee.
Additional testing information:
- Any required placement testing must be completed at least two weeks prior to orientation advising and registration.
- The student must schedule an appointment with Academic Skills by calling 812-464-1743 at least two weeks prior to placement testing.
- A student ID number and photo ID are required to test.
- Allow 1 hour each for the English and math tests and 30 minutes for the reading test. However, the English test is the only timed test (50 minutes).
- Students who think they can improve their placement in math, English, and/or reading can take the placement test to see if they can place higher. It would be a good idea for these students to study first before taking the placement test to maximize their chance to improve their placement.
- One retest will be allowed on math and/or reading if the student still thinks they can do better. Students will be allowed one retest per subject and must wait a minimum of one week before the retest occurs. It is strongly recommended that students spend some time studying before taking the test again.
- Students with disabilities requesting special accommodations must be registered with Disability Resources (812-464-1961) at least two weeks prior to scheduling an appointment for placement testing and must provide Academic Skills with a letter from Disability Resources stating their approved accommodations.
Math, reading, and writing placements are mandatory and GENS coursework should be completed by the end of the first year. Credit hours for all these courses count toward a student’s full-time status, but not all the classes offer academic credits. However, these courses save time, academic standing, and financial aid, all of which can be jeopardized if students try to advance to courses for which they are not prepared. For additional information on placement and testing, visit www.usi.edu/university-division/academic-skills/placement-testing.
Academic Skills strives to provide the best services possible to help students succeed. Tutoring is available in a variety of subjects including accounting, biology, chemistry, economics, finance, geology, history, mathematics, modern languages, physics, psychology, sociology, study skills, and writing. All peer tutors complete a comprehensive training program. The mathematics, subject-based, study skills, and writing tutors are all certified by the National Tutoring Association. The academic coaches can assist students with enhancement of study skills, including time management, note-taking, and test-taking strategies. No appointment is needed for most tutoring, although appointments are available with academic coaches and writing consultants. Students interested in becoming tutors should visit Academic Skills for more information.
Supplemental Instruction (SI)
SI is an academic support program that provides regularly scheduled, out-of-class review sessions to all students in a variety of courses. Facilitated by an SI leader (a student who has previously completed the course), the sessions provide an informal environment to review notes, discuss readings, and prepare for exams. By participating in SI study sessions, students can improve grades while learning effective study strategies that make efficient use of their study time, and, at the same time, make friends who also have strong academic goals.
General Studies (GENS) Classes
University Division offers general studies (GENS) courses designed to prepare and enhance students’ ability to meet the demands of college-level work. GENS 098 - Strategies for Writers prepares students by giving them the skills essential for success in college classes, but the hours do not apply toward graduation. GENS 151 - Academic Reading Strategies is a three-hour elective credit course that helps students prepare for a university reading load. Academic Skills also offers one-hour elective credit courses that help students get off to a sound academic start.
Student Support Services (SSS)
Student Support Services is one of the eight grant funded TRIO programs offered through the U.S. Department of Education. At USI, the SSS Program helps motivate 140 eligible students to successfully complete their bachelor’s degree. The SSS Program provides students free comprehensive services through peer mentoring, academic advising, scholarship search support, student leadership opportunities, graduate school preparation, personal and financial aid counseling, and cultural experiences designed to enhance the collegiate experience on USI’s campus.
To receive assistance: students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and
- Meet a limited income criterion and/or,
- Be a first generation college student (neither natural parent residing in the household with the student has a four-year college degree) or,
- Have a documented learning or physical disability
Students must show academic need and also be willing to take full advantage of all support services offered by the program. Student Support Services is located in ED 1142. The office is open from 8-4:30pm Monday through Friday. If you are interested in participating in the program and meet the eligibility requirements please contact 812-465-1606 for more information.