Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact my professor?

The best and easiest way to contact any Psychology department professor is by email. Click here for a list of all faculty and instructor email addresses. Please allow up to 48 hours for a response. You can also drop by your professor's office during his/her office hours, which are listed on your syllabus. If your professor is a member of the Psychology Department faculty, check the Faculty & Staff page for an office phone number. If your professor is a graduate student or an adjunct, he/she will not have a phone in the department and is contactable by email or in person during office hours only. If you are trying to contact your instructor in an online class, email is your only option unless otherwise indicated in your course syllabus.

 

 

How can I find out when my professor's office hours are?

Click here for a list of faculty and instructors and email addresses. Your professor’s office hours may also be listed on his or her office door, and on your syllabus, which is your first and best resource for information about the class. If you are taking an online class, your professor may not hold office hours, and can be contacted by e-mail or Blackboard. Information regarding faculty office hours is also maintained by the undergraduate secretary in OMH 231.

 

 

I've emailed my professor but I haven't heard back. What should I do?

Please give your instructors 48 hours to respond to your emails. They may be getting emails from many, many students, and responding as quickly as they can in the order in which they received them. If it has been 48 hours and you still haven’t heard, please send the e-mail again, but copy it to the Psychology department by typing Angela.M.Hines@usm.edu in the cc: line. This will send a copy to the department office manager, who will make sure it gets to the instructor.

 

 

What is the Psychology Department Advisement Center?

The Advisement Center, located in OMH 220B (601-266-5662), is a facility staffed by advisors trained to answer your course scheduling and other general advisement questions. The Advisement Center is open throughout the semester and requires no appointment to attend. You can drop in whenever you have course scheduling questions. During busier times of the semester, you should be prepared to quietly wait in the general waiting area in OMH 220.

 

 

How do I know when to go to the Advisement Center and when to see my Mentor?

Your faculty mentors are available to help you with course, career, and graduate school planning on an appointment basis. The Advisement Center staff is prepared to help you with specific course scheduling questions, SOAR issues, and begin any paperwork process associated with your enrollment or graduation from USM. Advisement Center staff will refer you to your Faculty Mentor when appropriate. Advisement Center staff is available for you to drop in during their posted hours of operation (601-266-5662).

 

 

How will I know when advisement is?

Advisement dates are listed in the General Academic Calendar.You will also see posters all over the OMH building that list the extended advisement times for the Psychology Department. Your advisor may contact you via your USM email address to let you know when Advisement Center staff will be available during advisement. If your USM email address is not your preferred address, please make sure you forward your USM email to the address of your choice. To learn how, click here.

 

 

When can I enroll in classes?

After you have been advised, please allow your advisor 24 hours to check the eligible-to-enroll box on your account, and then check your Student Center for your enrollment appointment. General enrollment dates can be found in the General Academic Calendar.

 

 

I’ve been advised; why can’t I register for classes?

There are a number of reasons that you might be blocked for enrollment. It might be that your eligible-to-enroll box has not yet been checked, or it might be that there is a hold on your account. A hold on your account could be the result of an unpaid bill, a required 099 enrollment that has not been fulfilled, or a hold from the athletic department if you are an athlete. You should be able to tell from your Student Center what the problem is, but if you have any problems, please call or email the Advisement Center (601)266-5662; PsychologyAdvisementCenter@usm.edu and we will happily check your account to see what has gone wrong and direct you to the appropriate person to help you get things sorted out.

 

 

I think I received an unfair grade. Who can I talk to?

The first person you should talk to is your instructor. Take your exam or your paper to your instructor’s office during his or her office hours and ask why you received the grade you did and how you can improve. If you still feel that your grade was unfair, you can make an appointment to talk to the Chair of the Psychology Department, Dr. Joe Olmi using d.olmi@usm.edu; 601-266-4177 . He will talk to you about your situation, and about the grade appeal process. To review the grade appeal process on your own, please click here to see the relevant information from USM'S Student Handbook.

 

 

How do I avoid being accused of plagiarism?

The best way to not be accused of plagiarism is not to plagiarize. Fortunately, avoiding plagiarism is fairly simple: if you use phrases or sentences that you did not write yourself, put them in quotation marks and cite your source. If you copy anything and paste it into your paper, use quotation marks and cite your source. If you copy something but change the wording or the order, this is paraphrasing. You won’t need to use quotation marks, but you still need to cite your source. If you read a great argument that you want to use in your own paper, cite your source. If you cite your sources and use quotation marks when necessary, you will not be accused of plagiarism.

 

 

If you use another person’s writing without citing the source, you will be caught. The English Department subscribes to a service which, when your paper is entered, will compare it with sources all over the internet, published books and articles, papers from paper mills, and any student papers that have ever been submitted to it before. If the service finds parts of your paper that were copied from a source, they will provide a link to the source, so your paper and the source can be compared side by side. It is never, ever worth the risk. If you run out of time to write a paper, it is much better to ask for an extension or even to submit what you have than to plagiarize. If you fail a paper, you have an “F” on one paper, and still have time to bring up your grade or withdraw passing from the class. If you plagiarize, you may fail the entire course, or if you attempt to withdraw, you will withdraw failing, which counts as an “F” in your GPA. Don’t risk it.

 

 

To review the university’s policy on plagiarism, please look in your Student Handbook.


 

 

I have been unfairly accused of plagiarism. What should I do?

If you believe you have been unfairly accused of plagiarism, you should talk to your instructor as soon as you can to find out why it is that he/she feels you have plagiarized. If you are unable to resolve the issue with your instructor, you may make an appointment with the Chair of the department, Dr. Joe Olmi at d.olmi@usm.edu. He will talk to you about your situation, and about the grade appeal process. To review the grade appeal process on your own, please click here to see the relevant information from USM'S Student Handbook. Please note that you must make a good faith effort to work things out with your instructor before talking to the Chair, because if you have not, the Chair will refer you back to the instructor.

 

 

If you are unable to resolve things with the Chair, you may appeal your grade before a university committee.


 

 

What is the difference between a “WP” and a “WF?”

A “WP” (withdraw passing) means that you are leaving the class in good standing, and will not count against your GPA, although it will remain on your transcript if you are dropping the class after the deadline to withdraw without academic penalty. (This deadline will be listed in the Academic Calendar. A “WF” means that you are leaving the class failing, and will count as an “F” in your GPA. The decision whether you get a “WP” or a “WF” is based on your performance in the class and is at the sole discretion of the instructor.

 

 

What does the grade “NA” mean?

“NA” means “not attending” and it is given to students who sign up for a class but don’t attend it. “NAs” count as “Fs” in your GPA, and you will also be charged for the class, as financial aid will not pay for a class that you haven’t attended. This is something you definitely want to avoid. Check your schedule at the beginning of the semester and make sure that all the classes that are on there are classes you plan to attend. If you don’t plan to go, drop the class while you still can on SOAR, and if it is past the deadline, see procedures for dropping a class after the deadline. If you feel you have been given an “NA,” in error, please contact your instructor.

 

 

My incomplete suddenly turned to an “F.” What should I do?

Incompletes only stay on your transcript for one semester. If you have not completed your work at the end of the following semester (not including summer), the “I” disappears and is replaced with an “F.” If this has happened to you, contact the instructor of the class right away. You should develop an Incomplete Contract with your instructor before the end of the semester in which the class was originally registered. See this contract for requirements for completion of the course in which you received the incomplete.

 

 

All my classes have been dropped from my schedule. What should I do?

If your classes were there one day and gone the next, they were most likely dropped due to lack of payment. Call the business office at 601-266-4137 to find out how you can fix the situation. Once you have paid the fees, if it is past the deadline for you to add your classes back yourself on SOAR, pick up an Add/Drop form for each class in the Advisement Center (OMH 220B). You will need to fill out the forms completely, then have the instructor of each class sign the appropriate form, and then take the form to the department office for the Chair’s signature. Once the Chair has signed, take the forms to the Registrar’s office in Kennard-Washington and they will reinstate you. IMPORTANT: Keep attending all your classes while you are in limbo. If you are taking an online class, email your instructor and let him/her know that you have been dropped but will log back in as soon as you are reinstated.

 

 

How do I get into a closed class?

The best way to get into a closed class is to attend it and talk to the instructor after class. It is possible that other students who are enrolled are not attending, in which case there might well be a space for you. You can also try emailing the instructor, but you double your chances if you make the effort to show up, particularly if you participate in class. If you want into a closed online class, email the instructor and ask permission. Please note that instructors will be much more inclined to let you in if they learn of your intent the first week of class. If you show up the third week of class and want in, most likely they will tell you to try again next semester when you haven’t already missed so much class.

 

 

How do I drop a class after the deadline for dropping classes?

Ideally, classes should not be dropped after the deadline. To determine your best course of action and discuss your options, please meet with your instructor before proceeding. If it is determined you can drop a class after the deadline for dropping classes on SOAR has passed (see USM’s Academic Calendar for dates), you will need to use an add/drop form, which you can get from the Registrar’s office in Kennard-Washington or from the Psychology Department Office in OMH 231. Fill out the top of the form completely (all the information you need is available on your SOAR page) and bring it to your instructor. Your instructor will assign you a “WP” (withdraw passing) or a “WF” (withdraw failing) and sign the form. Once the form has been signed by the instructor, please bring it to the Psychology Department Office for a signature from the Chair. You will most likely need to leave the form overnight and pick it up the next day. Once you have the Chair’s signature, you can take the form to the Registrar’s office and they will withdraw you from the class. Please note that you must return the form to the Registrar’s office within five business days of the instructor’s signature or they will refuse it and you will need to start the process over.

 

 

I’m trying to enroll in classes but SOAR won’t let me. Why?

There are three reasons that you might not be able to register.

 

Your window is not open. To check when your SOAR window will be open, look on your student center page for enrollment dates. 2. You have not been advised. Please visit the Advisement Center in OMH 220B (601-266-5662) with you scheduling questions and issues. If you have been advised, please allow 24 hours for your Faculty Mentor to click your “Eligible to Enroll” button. If you are still not able to enroll, please contact your Faculty Mentor. 3. You have a hold on your account. To check to see if you have a hold, look on your student services page for holds. This will tell you the reason for the hold. If it is financial, please contact business services at 266-4774. If you are on probation continued or suspension, you will need to talk to your faculty mentor and sign a contract detailing your plans for improving your grades. The Advisement Center Staff can supply the paperwork and associated directions for suspension and probation issues. Before you see your Faculty Mentor, please go to the Advisement Center to retrieve this paperwork and information.


 

 

How can I find out when my final exams are?

It is available here: Exam Schedule from the Registrar’s home page. Also, make sure to double check your class syllabus and course schedule provided by your instructor as that will always have the most accurate date for your specific class.

 

 

I am having trouble in one of my Psychology classes. How can I get help?

Your first resource is your instructor. Instructors hold office hours each week specifically to help students who are having trouble. He or she will be happy to answer any questions you have about the lecture, or to go over papers you’ve written and suggest areas for improvement. If you’re having trouble with your writing, another resource is the Writing Center, located in Cook Library right next to Starbucks. The Writing Center has tutors who will talk with you about your writing project and help you figure out what you want to say and how you can say it most effectively. To make an appointment at the Writing Center, please call 266-4821.

 

 

I’m taking an online class and I don’t know where to start.

Your first stop should be Southern Miss ELO Click on the Current Students button at the top of the page. Click on the Students link, and then Student How-To’s. This will give you all the information you need to know. If you are having technical problems, please call the iTech help desk at 266-HELP. If you are having problems with a particular class assignment, please email the instructor of the class. Note: Please do not call the Psychology Department Office for help with an online class. We do not have the resources to help you with technical issues.

 

 

I got a letter telling me I am on probation or suspension. What should I do?

You received this letter because you were on a list of students with low grade point averages. First, go to the Advisement Center in OMH 220B to retrieve paperwork and information on the probation or suspension process. Following that you will likely need to make an appointment with your Faculty Mentor. They will discuss with you ways that you can improve your GPA, and will work out a contract with you which will allow you to continue your education here at USM while you try to bring your grades up. For more specifics about academic probation or suspension, please visit the Registrar’s web page and check out their FAQs.

 

 

How do I change my major or add a minor?

To change your major, you need to go to the department office of the major you are changing to. If you want to change your major to Psychology, hurray! Please come to the Psychology Advisement Center, OMH 220B (601-266-5662), where you will be given information about the department and advised on coursework for the next semester. Then you will need to visit Margie Newsome in the Dean’s office (OMH 121C) in order to make the new major official! To add a minor, you need to pick up a form from the department office of the minor you are trying to add. To add a minor in Psychology, please come to the Psychology Advisement Center, OMH 220B, and you will be given information about the department and an advisement form to fill out. After being advised, you should visit Margie Newsome in the Dean’s office (OMH 121C) so that she can add your minor to your transcript.

 

 

How do I declare a minor in Psychology?

To minor in Psychology, please come to the Psychology Advisement Center, OMH 220B (601-266-5662), and you will be given information about the department and an advisement form to complete. After being advised, you should visit Margie Newsome in the Dean’s office (OMH 121C) so that she can add your minor to your transcript.

 

 

I am feeling overwhelmed, depressed and anxious. Who should I talk to?

Psychological services are also available through three clinics in our building: 1) Assessment Clinic operated through the Counseling Psychology program-266-4601; 2) School Psychology Service Center-266-4594 operated by the School Psychology program; 3) Psychology Clinic operated by the Clinical Psychology program-266-4588. Current USM Students can receive free mental health services at the USM Counseling Center,www.usm.edu/counseling/. If it’s after 5:00pm or a weekend and you need to talk to someone right away, please call 601-606-HELP (4357) or 911.

 

 

I have questions about my financial aid package.

Please call the Financial Aid office at 601-266-4774. You can either ask your question over the phone or make an appointment to talk with a financial aid counselor, who will be happy to go over your options with you.

 

 

I have questions about my bill.

All billing questions need to be directed to the Business office at 601-266-4091, even if the question is about lab fees for Psychology classes. The Psychology department cannot remove or adjust fees.

 

 

I’ll be ready to graduate soon. What steps do I need to take?

For all the information you need on how to graduate from USM, please visit the Registrar’s web page on the subject. There you will find the application itself, the mandatory exit survey, instructions on everything you need to submit, and a printable checklist that will help you determine whether or not you’ve got everything you need. You can visit the Advisement Center (OMH 220B; 601-266-5662) for help with this paperwork. Additionally, you will need to schedule an appointment with your Faculty Mentor to review and sign this paperwork. Please note the “Deadline for Graduation” document on the Registrar’s website and pay close attention to the dates your application is due. Make sure to allow plenty of time for your paperwork to be signed and processed.

 

 

How do I activate my USM email address and why should I?

You can activate your email address by logging into your SOAR account, going to Self Service, then USM Self Service, then Activate Email.

 

 

You should activate your USM email and check it daily because you may get important communications from your professors. (For example, if one of your classes has to be cancelled at the last minute, the news will be sent out via SOAR to the entire class roster, and only to USM email addresses. For obvious reasons, it would be much better to receive that news the night before than to show up at 8:00 a.m. and find a note on the classroom door.) They might also send you information about your assignments, advisement, or about where a class is meeting if it is not meeting in its regular classroom.

 

 

If you need help having your USM email forwarded to the email account that you prefer (Yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc.), please call iTech at (601) 266-HELP and they can walk you through the process.


 

 

How do I fill out my course evaluations?

You can fill out your course evaluations through your SOAR account. Click here to go to the course evaluation page in SOAR. (If you are not logged in to SOAR, you will be taken to your login page first and then the course evaluation page.

 

 

How do I appeal a grade?

If you believe you have been unfairly graded, you should talk to your instructor as soon as you can. If you are unable to resolve the issue with your instructor, you may make an appointment with the Chair of the department, Dr. Joe Olmi; He will talk to you about your situation, and about the grade process. To review the grade appeal process on your own, please click here to see the relevant information from USM'S Student Handbook. Please note that you must make a good faith effort to work things out with your instructor before talking to the Chair, because if you have not, the Chair will refer you back to the instructor. If you are unable to resolve things with the Chair, you may appeal your grade before a university committee.