Advising Information

Updated 2/07/2024

Name: Joel Slotkin
Office: College of Liberal Arts 5356
(410) 704-2863
Office Hours: TTh 12:30-1:45 and by appointment
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: Erin Fehskens
English Department Website:                       

When to Contact Your Advisor:

  • When you have an Advising (ADV) or Degree Completion Plan (DCP) hold on your account.
  • For help choosing classes, tracks/concentrations, or majors/minors.
  • If you are having any academic difficulties.
  • To discuss how to use your college experience to prepare for life after college. (Also use the Career Center).
  • To discuss any questions/issues that you are not able to resolve by other means.

Holds/Registration Blocks:

  • You can sign up for classes when all registration-blocking holds have been removed, and when your “appointment period” begins.
  • You can examine your holds and check the dates of your appointment period online in your Student Center.
  • Advising (ADV) holds appear every semester, usually about a week after add/drop ends. They block registration for the next semester (NOT summer or minimester).
  • Consult with your advisor when you have a hold AND we can see what classes are actually being offered next semester (this usually happens a few weeks after holds are applied). Your advisor will remove the hold when they are satisfied that you are on track.
  • FYE (First Year Experience) students need to see their FYE advisor to get their holds removed, although your major advisor can still provide course advice if necessary.
  • Students with 45 or more units also get Degree Completion Plan (DCP) holds — see the DCP section below for details.
  • Other types of holds may appear. Some may prevent your registration. Your advisor cannot remove these holds. They usually include information about which office to contact.

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 (and after next semester’s courses have been fully uploaded) but before your appointment date for registration. We can meet in person, via phone, or via video chat.
  • Always check your Academic Requirements Report before meeting with me or planning courses.
  • It is also helpful if you have a list of the courses you are thinking of taking AND what requirements they fulfill. (For DCP holds, have 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 the Academic Requirements Report (ARR). This essential tool will show you which requirements you have fulfilled and which you have not fulfilled. Instructions here.

Make sure your ARR has your correct track (literature, writing, or secondary education), or it will not work! To add or change your track, go here:

2) 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:

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

4) Information about specific course sections 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 graduate and how long it will take you.

If you have a DCP hold, you will need to take the following steps:

  • Download the DCP form, which is an Excel file. I strongly 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].[current semester].xlsx (example: Doe.Jane.124356.FA22.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.
  • If possible, for your first planned semester, check online to make sure that the courses you want to take are actually offered then, and that the time slots don’t conflict with each other. For subsequent semesters, don’t worry about this! Since you have no way of knowing what will be offered when, just pretend you can take any combination of courses anytime you want. Do be realistic about the number of units you can take each term.
  • In the “Course” column, list the course code and number, e.g. ENGL 102.
  • In the “Units” column, list the number of units (most courses are 3).
  • In the “Type” column, use the drop-down menu to indicate which category of requirement from the Academic Requirements Report this course is intended to fulfill.
  • Contact me if you have questions at any point. Try to produce a draft of the DCP before we meet, 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 email Susan or Deana in the English Department office with your TU ID# and the section of 300 you would prefer. They will add you to a list allowing you to enroll. NOTE: you still need to register yourself for the class on PeopleSoft during your regular registration period.

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 want to see how your requirements would change in a different major or track, you can run an “Advising What-if Report” (see the ARR instructions linked above). It will generate a version of the Academic Requirements Report with whatever major/track you select.

Secondary Education Track:

  • The Secondary Education (SCED) Track requires extra units and is jointly run by the English Department and the Secondary Education Department, which is part of the College of Education.
  • Students in this track must apply to and be accepted by the SCED department. Please check with them for application deadlines! The ENGL side of the track is not screened, but you cannot graduate in it without the SCED department component.
  • The SCED Department will assign you a second advisor who can help with questions relating to SCED courses, student teaching, requirements for professional certification, and specific career advice relating to secondary education.
  • Your English Department advisor will help you choose appropriate English and Core courses and serve as your primary advisor for all other matters.

Grading Options and Changing to Pass Grading:

See here:

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: