Monday, November 2, 2015

Spring 2016 Registration

Course offerings and registration appointments for Spring 2016 courses are posted now on MyMadison. To see your appointment, go to the Student Center. The enrollment appointment appears in a box on the right side of the screen; clicking the "Details" link will lead to specific start time information. Most students will have their appointment between November 8 and 11. Open enrollment will begin after 12:01AM on November 12.

Please chat with me about your spring courses before you enroll. You are welcome in office hours; if your schedule precludes this, send me an e-mail to schedule an appointment.

In general, the things to keep in mind for spring registration are:

      1. Reasonable next math/stat courses (see below)
      2. Math 167, the one credit student-led seminar, Thursdays, 3:30-5:30. This is a wonderful opportunity to see interesting advanced topics in a fun, stress-free environment. There is no out of class commitment. I very much recommend this course.
      3. Phil 250, Introduction to Symbolic Logic, is an excellent course that helps one learn how to write proofs.
      3. General Education and completion of Cluster One (see below).
      4. Minors or other programs in which you are involved.

Courses you should take in the spring semester if you are a mathematics major: 

**If you are currently taking Math 231: Calculus with Functions I, you should take Math 232: Calculus with Functions II in the spring.
**If you are currently taking Math 235: Calculus I, you should take Math 236: Calculus II and Math 245: Discrete Math, in the spring.
**If you are currently taking Math 236: Calculus II, you should take Math 237: Calculus III and Math 245: Discrete Math, in the spring. 
**If you are already taking Math 237 and/ or Math 245, talk with me individually about the spring.

If you are a statistics major, talk with me individually about spring courses. 

General Education courses you must take in spring semester:

Every student must take all of the Cluster One courses from the General Education Planner in the first year. (Except for the exceptions, which we will get to shortly.) So, for spring semester, you need to enroll yourself in whichever courses you have yet to complete.

The required Cluster One courses are: 
* Writing (WTRC 103), 
* Communication (one of COM 121, 122, 123), and 
* Critical Thinking (Preferably PHIL 120, or another course listed under that heading on the General Education checklist, a copy of which may be found here:

Exceptions: Some students have AP or transfer credit for WRTC 103. If this applies to you, it should appear on your Degree Progress page in MyMadison's Student Center. If you think the credit should be there and it is not, check with the Registrar that your test credit or transfer transcript was received. On the other side, if your academic program is so crowded with courses that you cannot take the required Cluster One courses, you may petition for delay by filling out the Cluster One Course Deferral Form:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How to Reach Me, Fall 2015

Please be proactive about coming to see me. I can give advice about academic problems, and I am interested in general discussion about your academic program. One of your responsibilities at JMU is to choose courses that give you a compelling, challenging and useful education. A part of my function is to help you figure out what those might be, if you want my input.

My first preference is to see you in person, during office hours. You do not need to make an appointment for these. Just show up. I can answer brief procedural questions through e-mail, which I reply to once a day Monday through Friday. If we are going to talk about something important please come see me. The e-mail medium is not conducive to more thoughtful conversations. If you have classes that conflict with all of my office hours, we can arrange (by e-mail) an appointment at our mutual convenience.

My office is Roop 122, inside of Roop 119.
From August 31 forward, my regular fall 2015 office hours are current on my web site:

 My e-mail address is brownet (at) jmu (dot) edu, or e.theta.brown (at) gmail (dot) com

Fall 2015 Start of Term

I. To Do List for the week of August 24-30:

A. If you have not already done so, walk your schedule and locate all your classrooms before classes begin on Monday the 31st.  It is very annoying to miss the first ten minutes of term because you are on the wrong floor of the right building.

B. Purchase the books and other materials you will need for your courses. Expect that there will be reading assignments starting with the first class meeting. If you do not have the book then, you will be behind.

II. Adjusting your schedule:

If you decide you need to change your schedule, do so as soon as possible. The university add/drop period for Fall 2015 extends until midnight on Tuesday September 8, but it is to your advantage to be in your right courses sooner rather than later.

You can change your enrollment via MyMadison, using the same process as in the summer. If you do change your schedule, please send me e-mail to that effect.

(If you need to change your schedule after the Add/Drop deadline, you may be able to withdraw from a course. Whether or not this is a good idea varies with circumstances. If you are considering this, please see me first.)

III. Declaring a minor or a second major:

You may declare a minor or second major starting Monday August 31. Print the Change or Declaration of Major of Minor Form off of the Registrar's  web site:

Collect the relevant signatures, and return the form to the Registrar.

I strongly encourage you to consider a minor in a subject you find interesting, and especially in the humanities. There is a growing chorus of lament in the scientific, business, and industrial communities about STEM graduates' lack of exposure to the humanities. An humanities minor would be excellent for your education and excellent for your career prospects.

IV. How to flourish at JMU:

A. Plan your time. Because you are mathematically inclined, you may be less ready for the demands of university study than other students who have always needed to work hard in their courses.

Make a weekly overview schedule that includes: your classes, two hours of dedicated study time outside of class for every hour you are in class, and at least eight hours of sleep every night.  (Seriously: the eighteen year old brain is still growing. You want your brain to grow. It needs sleep to do this. A dizzying litany of studies show that chronic sleep deprivation stunts academic performance.) Your schedule might also include dedicated time for physical recreation, and other activities that are important to you. Please note that,  unlike in high school, extra curricular activities do not correlate with increased success later on. Focus on doing well in your courses and do extras because you like them.

B. Own your education. Ask questions. Go to each professor's office hours at least once. If a class is too easy, push it forward or change classes. The work should stretch you; come see me if it does not. We can fix that.

V. Please come see me when you are in Roop.
Ask questions if you have them, or tell me everything is going well.