Majors in Minutes moves to zoom


Courtesy Photo

Over 200 students attended the first virtual Major in Minutes to take place after starting in 2009.


On Tuesday, Oct. 20, the Office of Academic Advising hosted their Major in Minutes event which took place online on Zoom and tried to make use of technology to the fullest.

Majors in Minutes started in 2009 when Angela Tudor, the academic advising and career development coordinator at UNI, first came up with the idea. Tudor, inspired by an orientation activity by other schools, wanted to change the current system at UNI which saw a faculty booth set-up.

“We started because what we used to have was a major fair where the students could talk with faculty,” said Tudor. “Basically, they walked around the booth and talked with the faculty. It was my first year and I went to that event and I saw the students interact and it just did not seem like the best way for brand new students to gather information.”

Tudor thought that rather than having freshmen talk with faculty right away, they could talk to seniors of a major instead.

“After brainstorming with our team, we came up with a kind of a speed dating concept where students would visit tables,” stated Tutor. “They would visit with seniors in eight minute rotations and we would play music to kind of make it fun and they could visit as many tables in that two hour timeframe as they wanted to.”

The first Majors in Minutes event had about 40 students in attendance. Over the years, the number has increased to about 400 students at one time. Students would enter the main room where they were directed to either a separate zoom session for majors beginning with A-L or M-Z. Within those separate Zoom sessions were several breakout rooms that the students could join hosted by seniors from those majors. 

Most of the students selected to speak to underclassmen felt honored to be considered for the position and to share their experiences with them.

“I felt kind of honored to be nominated by a professor,” said Jared Larson, a senior economics major. “It means you are respected within the department, which is a good thing to hear.”

Michele Peck, Assistant Director at the Office of Academic Advising felt that there were a fair share of positives and negatives with the event going online. Peck stated the positives include social distancing and the fact that they are able to host this large number of students without exposing any of them to any health risks. Another positive is that it removes the nerves some students may have when it comes to being in a large environment.

“In years past, maybe someone who was very introverted or very uncomfortable, it’s maybe traumatic for them to go to a large event and they might find something like this acceptable and they are able to part take in the event.” Said Peck

For the negatives, Peck mentions that a lot of students want a more face to face experience and it is hard to replicate what they want over an online Zoom setting, in addition to some minor technical errors.

There were over 200 students in attendance Tudor, as well as other members of the Academic Advising Office, was very happy with the turnout.

“It has been a great event,” said Tudor. “This is the first time we have ever tried to do it on Zoom, so it is a learning experience, but we still wanted to make sure students had the opportunity to hear from seniors.”