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School of Design + Construction Policies + Procedures

3.6 Academic Program Unit

Definition
The academic program unit (APU) at the School of Design and Construction (SDC) is comprised of the academic program manager and academic coordinators. This unit serves in the best interest of the school and its academic programs. These interests are not mutually exclusive and the academic program unit should operate with this understanding.

The academic program manager provides leadership for academic program unit activities with additional responsibility related to travel experiences, marketing and recruitment, and graduate program coordination.

The academic coordinators are responsible for advising and supporting students and participating in recruitment and retention activities for programs in architecture, construction management, interior design, and landscape architecture.

Guiding Principles
The academic program unit will:

  • Support all academic programs and the SDC equally;
  • Accomplish functions in a timely manner;
  • Utilize efficiency while preserving opportunities for face-to-face interaction;
  • Be knowledgeable and familiar with faculty/staff/students and program/SDC needs;
  • Maintain ability to respond to priority needs;
  • Be a service-oriented environment;
  • Employ best practices;
  • Uphold clear lines of responsibility and supervision;
  • Remain flexible and committed to adjustments as necessary;
  • Preserve staff morale.

Position Responsibilities
Academic Program Manager (APM):

  • Leadership for academic program unit operations;
  • Organization of academic courses (e.g. schedules, fees, evaluations, curricular and catalog changes, departmental room usage);
  • Coordination for teaching assistant application and award process;
  • Development and coordination for study tour/education abroad experiences;
  • Management of marketing/recruitment; website content; social media;
  • Coordination for graduate programs and students.

Academic Coordinators (AC):

  • Provide advising and academic support for undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture, construction management, interior design, and landscape architecture (as assigned) to include:
    • prospective student recruitment (e.g. on-campus visits and SDC Ambassadors);
    • major certification (e.g. applications, requirements, and acceptance letters);
    • academic progress and graduation (e.g. SAP, reinstatement, to-do lists);
    • professional development (e.g., on-campus interviews, career services);
    • student retention, program data collection, and assessment activities;
    • curriculum (e.g. course schedule data entry/maintenance, catalog and curricular changes)

Unit Structure
The academic program unit works directly with program heads, graduate program head(s), and the director regarding items broadly outlined in the areas of curriculum and advising; recruitment and retention; and other school and program support. Supervision of the academic program unit is provided by the director. Annual reviews will be completed by the director with input provided by others as essential.

Academic program unit staff are administrative professionals (AP) who perform managerial, professional, research, public service, extension, or combinations of these responsibilities; whose work is critical to the success of the SDC and its academic programs; and who are exempted from coverage of the Title 357, Washington Administrative Code under the provisions of the Civil Service Rules.

Expectations for AP positions at the SDC focus on the job, not time or tasks that are hourly. Some weeks or months require more work, and some weeks or months require less, but the expectation—regardless—is that the job gets done and that school needs determine employees’ specific work schedules. Failure to meet deadlines and expectations outlined in sections 3.6 through 3.9 of the SDCPPM, and/or receipt of excessive complaints from students, faculty, or other university offices, will be addressed by the director as appropriate.

Additional Resources
For additional reference please reference the Administrative Professional Handbook.

Unit Operations
The APU is committed to providing a full range of services during the normal business hours (8am-5pm, Monday through Friday) as follows:

  • Office Schedules
    1. In the event APU staff needs to be gone during the business day, an e-mail to the director (cc: administrative manager, administrative assistant, and other academic staff) and posted signage on your office door should indicate your absence.
    2. Academic staff are responsible for communicating their regular schedules to the director and posting them clearly outside his/her respective workspace. This includes communicating when sick, late, or out of the office.
    3. Annual leave for all staff is scheduled with approval of the director and should be requested a minimum of one week in advance.
    4. The academic program manager and administrative assistant will work together to establish schedules for the front-desk student workers.
  • Drop-in Hours
    1. There are designated drop-in hours each day when academic staff are available for general questions (less than 10 minutes).
    2. Students seeking assistance during non-drop-in hours will be directed to the front desk and/or asked to e-mail his/her advisor to make an appointment.
  •  Appointment Hours
    1. Academic staff set specific hours each day for scheduling advising appointments, or appointments that are specific to meeting with students in designated advising areas. Please note, these are separate from, and different than, drop-in hours.
    2. Students seeking assistance without an appointment and during non-drop-in hours will be directed to the front desk and/or asked to e-mail his/her advisor to make an appointment.
  •  Other Hours
    1. Hours not designated for drop-in or appointments as defined above will be utilized for attending meetings and trainings, answering e-mails, working on projects, etc.
    2. Schedules should be developed each semester or each academic year that support the implementation of items 1, 2, and 3.
  • Advising Tools and Resources
    1. Efficient systems will be utilized to schedule appointments and communicate information to students including but not limited to use of online scheduling software and sign-in kiosk, and Blackboard.
  •  Advising Policies
    1. Students will be instructed to access existing tools on our website.
    2. Advisors will enforce student preparedness for appointments in order to respect the professional nature of his/her position and to help educate students about their responsibilities and expectations of active participation.
  • Communication Policies
    1. With four professional accredited programs, presenting a positive and optimistic attitude regarding the school and the university is of utmost importance. Since staff is often the first point of contact for our constituents, the image of the school begins with each staff person. We always want our school and programs to be represented with respect.
    2. An automatic reply will be set by all academic staff as follows:
      1. Thank you for reaching out to the School of Design and Construction-Academic Program Unit. Your email has been received and will be responded to in a timely manner. Please note that our working hours are 8:00am-5:00 pm (PST) Monday to Friday. Typical response time is within two (2) business days or less after receipt. We appreciate your patience and understanding. You may refer to our FAQs at http://sdc.wsu.edu/advising-faqs/ for more information.
    3. In normal operations response time for voice messages and e-mails will be within two (2) business days of receipt. In times of high-advising or in periods where response time may be impaired, the response time can be adjusted as follows: Thank you for your email. With the start of the semester/certification/graduation/winter break/extended leave, etc. the School of Design and Construction is currently experiencing a delayed response time to e-mails and voice mail messages. It may take us a few days to get back to you but we will do so as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
    4. For professional firms coming to recruit and interview students, advisors must work efficiently to respond to firm questions, set up presentation and interview rooms, obtain parking permits, and generally serve as host for the firm representatives. It is critical that all firms coming to recruit SDC students are welcomed and their accommodation is of the highest priority.
    5. Front desk staff will be instructed on handling students and communicating academic program unit hours and access policies.
    6. As stated above, staff is the first point of contact for the school’s constituents. It goes without saying, presenting a positive and helpful demeanor is most important.

Unit Processes
The following processes are cyclical each year, therefore the APU has established procedures and timelines in conjunction with university regulations for the items identified below. These timelines are prior to “last day” deadlines of the university but will be adhered to in accordance with our guiding principles. It is critical that staff work to meet university requirements and deadlines, follow the BPPM, and bring issues forward to supervisor(s) to find appropriate solutions. Coordination, adherence, and timely responses are a direct reflection on our school. In circumstances where deadlines and requirements cannot be met, staff is expected to communicate directly to their immediate supervisor so that the issues can be resolved and the information can be provided to the individuals and offices that will be affected.

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
    1. All paperwork, including the advisor letter, will be completed by the Friday before the first week of classes each semester.
    2. Extenuating circumstances (such as needing to meet with a student prior to submission) may delay the possibility of completion. In this case, all paperwork will be completed no later than the Friday of the first week of classes each semester.
  •  Advisor Interview Confirmation (AIC)
    1. The Advisor Interview Confirmation (AIC) is to be completed for students on academic probation by the Friday of the first week of classes each semester.
    2. Extenuating circumstances (such as needing to meet with a student prior to submission) may delay the possibility of completion. In this case, all paperwork will be completed no later than the Friday of the second week of classes each semester.
  • Major Certification
    1. Academic staff responsible for managing the certification process will meet with program heads by April 1 (with ongoing communication as necessary) to finalize application documents, procedures, and timelines.
  • Graduation Progress, Application, and Clearance
    1. Fall graduation: academic staff responsible for ensuring graduation progress, application, and clearance will meet with program heads by November 1 (with ongoing communication as necessary) to discuss any students of concern, exceptions, and waivers.
    2. Spring graduation: academic staff responsible for ensuring graduation progress, application, and clearance will meet with program heads by April 1 (with ongoing communication as necessary) to discuss any students of concern, exceptions, and waivers.
  • Graduate Programs
    1. Fall semester: academic staff responsible for graduate program support will meet with program heads by August 16 (with ongoing communication as necessary) to ensure documents (handbooks, admission materials, etc.) are up-to-date and posted on the website, and to determine timelines and procedures for the upcoming admissions and graduation cycle.
    2. Spring semester: academic staff responsible for graduate program support will meet with program heads by January 15 (with ongoing communication as necessary) to discuss review of applications and admission notifications, and graduation deadlines for current students.
  • Professional Development
    1. Academic staff responsible for coordinating professional development activities will meet with program heads by September 1 (ongoing communication as necessary) to discuss policies and procedures for managing activities for each program for the upcoming academic year.
  • Recruitment
    1. Academic staff involved with and/or responsible for recruitment will meet with program heads, the director, and ambassadors on a regular basis to prepare for and manage ongoing recruitment activities.
  • Curriculum Management
    1. The academic program manager will adhere to published deadlines in terms of course scheduling, curricular changes, catalog changes, course fee revisions, and teaching assignments, working with program heads and the leadership team to ensure submission of required materials.
  • Data Collection
    1. All academic staff will participate in data collection efforts and use of data tools to enable efficient operations for the SDC and the academic programs, including but not limited to, data used for reporting demographics, job placement, enrollment trends and projections, scholarships and academic awards, accreditation, and assessment.
  • Other
    1. All academic staff will perform other duties as essential and as reasonable for the effective operation of the academic programs and the SDC.