Advising Information

Updated 10/2/2019

Name: Joel Slotkin
Office: College of Liberal Arts 5356
(410) 704-2863
Office Hours:  TTh 12:30-1:45 and by appointment (Fall 2019)
Mailbox:                                 LA 4210 (the English department office)
Email: jslotkin at towson dot edu <– The best way to reach me!
My Website:                       
English Department Office: LA 4210, (410) 704-2871
Administrative Assistants: Deana Johnson
Susan Weininger
drjohnson at towson dot edu
sweininger at towson dot edu
Chair: Chris Cain
English Department Website:                       

I urge you read the whole page, or at least skim it so you have a sense of the resources and information available here, but…

When to Meet with your Advisor:

  • We strongly recommend that students meet with their advisors every semester in order to make sure they are on track to achieving their academic goals.
  • If you have an advising hold on your account, you must meet with your advisor before you can register for classes.
  • If your account has a “Degree Completion Plan” (DCP) hold/service indicator, you will need to consult with your advisor and submit a Degree Completion Plan before you can register for classes.
  • If you need help choosing classes, tracks/concentrations, or majors.
  • If you are having any academic difficulties.
  • If you want to discuss how to use your college experience to prepare for your life and career after college. (You should also consult the university’s Career Center).
  • If you have any other academic or professional questions that can’t be dealt with over email or by talking to one of your professors.

Registration Blocks:

  • Every semester, you should check for holds and note the dates of your enrollment period online in your Student Center.
  • Students in certain categories receive advising holds: FYE (First-Year Experience) students, new transfer students, students who have just completed 45 or 90 units, students with 45 or more units who change majors, and students on academic warning, probation, or suspension.
  • Students with 45 or more units will receive Degree Completion Plan (DCP) holds.
  • These holds will appear some time after the change of schedule period for the current semester ends but before registration for the next semester starts.
  • These holds prevent you from registering for next semester’s classes. They do NOT block registration for summer or minimester classes.
  • Your advisor can remove the advising hold after you have met to discuss your planned courses, and they can remove the DCP hold once you have submitted a DCP to them and they have approved it. See “Degree Completion Plans” below for instructions.
  • There are other types of holds that can appear on your account for various reasons. Some of them may also prevent your registration. Your major advisor CANNOT remove any of these other holds.
  • FYE (First Year Experience) students need to see their FYE advisor to get their holds removed, although your major advisor can still give you course advice if necessary.
  • You can sign up for classes when all registration-blocking holds have been removed, and when your enrollment period begins (different categories of students can start registering at different times).

Getting Course Advice and Removing the Hold:

For help with advising/DCP holds and course selection, please schedule a meeting with me after any advising holds have been applied but well before you are due to register (you can see your enrollment dates on the Student Center web page). Always check your Academic Requirements Report before meeting with me or planning courses. It is also helpful if you can bring a list of the courses you are thinking of taking AND what requirements they fulfill. (If you have a DCP hold, then bring a draft of your DCP).

Planning Your Schedule:
It is your responsibility to understand the course requirements for your degree, and you will get much more out of your college experience if you can take control of planning your academic program. As much as possible, try to choose courses before meeting with your advisor. There are a few key resources that will help you in planning your program:

1)         From the Student Center page within Towson Online Services/PeopleSoft you can display a report called “Academic Requirements.” This essential tool will show you which requirements you have fulfilled and which you have not fulfilled. Instructions here:

Make sure that your “Academic Requirements” report accurately reflects the track you are in (literature, writing, or secondary education). Otherwise, the report will not display the English major requirements. If you need to add or change your track, go here:

2)         Also from the Student Center, you can access “My Planner,” which allows you to create and edit lists of courses you plan to take in the future. This is totally optional, but you may find it helpful. See here for info:

3)         For looking up information on requirements and courses, you should consult the Undergraduate Catalog. You will need to be aware of two versions of the catalog. The most recent edition of the catalog will have up-to-date information on the university, the department, and the courses being offered. The following links list requirements and the courses that will fulfill them:

You will also need access to a copy of the catalog from your catalog year. The reason for this is that we periodically change the graduation requirements, but those changes do not apply to existing students. Your catalog year is usually the year that you started college, and it is listed at the top of the “Academic Requirements” report. This catalog is the official, authoritative source of your graduation requirements. (Note: the last big revision to the English major affects catalog years 2014-15 and later).

4)         Information about specific course offerings and times for next semester should appear on PeopleSoft about two weeks before the first students are scheduled to begin pre-registration. See

Degree Completion Plan (DCP):

State law mandates that students with a certain number of units submit a Degree Completion Plan. It is basically a list of the courses you still need to graduate (NOT courses you have already taken). It is not a binding plan; the idea is to make sure that you know how to meet the graduation requirements, and in particular, to ensure that you have a sense of how soon you can graduate. Students who need to complete a DCP will have a “service indicator” (aka a hold) on their accounts, called “Degree Completion Plan” (code: DCP), that will block course registration until it is removed. You will need to take the following steps:

  • Download the DCP form, which is an Excel file. I recommend using my customized version. (You may also download forms and instructions from the departmental website if you prefer).
  • Rename the file [last name].[first name][student ID].xlsx (example: Doe.Jane124356.xlsx).
  • Fill out the information requested in the top part of the form.
  • The lower part of the form consists of boxes representing terms/semesters. Using your Academic Requirements Report and the other resources described in the “Planning Your Schedule” section of this page (above), choose courses that will fulfill your remaining graduation requirements.
  • List only courses you need to take in the FUTURE, not current or past courses.
  • Contact me if you have questions at any point. If you wish to meet, I prefer that you attempt to produce a draft of the DCP first so that we have something to work with.
  • When the form is complete, email me the Excel file. If it looks good, I will upload it and remove the DCP hold.

English 300:

English majors should ideally take ENGL 300 before beginning upper-level course work in the major. Registering for ENGL 300 requires an extra step. You need to contact Susan in the English Department office and let her know which section of 300 you want to take. She will add you to a list for that section. Once you have signed up with Susan, you still need to register for the class on PeopleSoft during your regular registration period. But you must be on Susan’s list for that section in order to register.

Getting Answers:

For many of your questions, I’ll need to look up the answer. You have access to a lot of the same information that I do, so you may be able to save time if you know where to locate the information yourself. Although I am here to help you, the more you can take charge of your own academic planning, the more successful you will be.

The two offices most commonly involved with advising-related issues are the English Department, which handles issues related to the English major, and the Registrar, which handles issues at the University level related to enrollment, registration, grades, and graduation. If you need something done besides removing your advising/DCP hold, you will probably need to talk to one of these offices. Also keep in mind that academic departments are typically the ultimate authorities on matters relating to their own courses (e.g. the Math Department decides whether you should get credit for a Math course). Below are some other informative links you can check.

Academic calendar:

Includes links to important scheduling information, including registration periods and exams:

Changes to Major, Minor, or Track:

To add, remove, or change a major, a minor, or a track within the English major, use the online form on the Registrar’s website:

It’s labeled “Change of Major/Minor Form,” but it also covers adding or changing tracks or concentrations. It can take a couple of days for the changes to take effect, but if they are not showing up after 3 days, try again and/or contact the Registrar.

If you just want to see how your requirements would change in a different major or track, you can run an “Advising What-if Report.” In the online Student Center, right below the link to the Academic Requirements Report, there is a drop-down menu that say “Other Academic…” Select “Advising What-if Report” and follow the prompts. It will generate a version of the Academic Requirements Report with whatever major/track you select. See

Secondary Education Track:

Students in the Secondary Education Track need to register with the Secondary Education Department (which is part of the College of Education) as well as the English Department. The Secondary Education Department will assign you a second advisor (in addition to me). You should go to them for questions relating to SCED courses, student teaching, and requirements for professional certification. English advisors will help you choose appropriate English and Core courses.

Transferring Course Credits:

  • If you wish to transfer courses from another school to Towson, you will need to fill out a Transfer Petition Form. The form, and detailed instructions, can be found here:
  • If you wish to transfer courses from a Community College in Maryland, you should consult ARTSYS to see how they will be counted.
  • If your school and course are not listed in ARTSYS, you should contact the Towson academic department in which you would like course credit (e.g., the English Department if you wish to transfer an English course). You will probably need to submit a syllabus or course description to them along with your Transfer Petition Form.

Additional Resources: