AU Glossary

Most colleges and schools have their own unique vernacular, in addition to other terminology collectively used across campuses nationwide. Alfred University is no different. Learn what those acronyms and buzzwords mean here.


A#/”A” Number: A student, faculty, or staff member’s identification number while here at Alfred University. Used to login to Banner, this number is also required for various University forms--including student IDs. (See also: Banner ID)

A & D: Art and Design

Academic advisor/Advisor: An advisor is a faculty mentor who works to ensure students meet all of the graduation requirements for their major and minor. They’re one of the first professors students meet at Alfred University, and they’re a great resource for any questions students might have about their academic progress. Advisors are available to meet with students (their advisees) during office hours or by appointment. Advisors meet with students often throughout their four years at Alfred, helping students plan their course schedules and complete the majors, minors and extracurricular experience that will help them reach their professional and personal goals.

Academic probation: A student whose grades or “GPA” drops below what is required in order to meet the minimum requirements for satisfactory progress toward their degree will be placed on academic probation. Students on academic probation may continue their studies at Alfred University, but there may be limits on how many credits they can take during their probationary period. Students must complete specific tasks while on academic probation at the discretion of their Dean.

Academic year: The period of year when student generally attend Alfred University (usually from late August to mid-May)

ACAM: Alfred Ceramic Art Museum

Accredited: An officially and professionally recognized college or course of study

Add/drop period: The time during which students may add/drop courses or make changes to their schedule without incurring any academic or financial penalties.

Advising week: A biannual opportunity for students to meet with their advisors or academic success coaches to discuss class registration for the following semester.

Allen Term: Refers to the weeks between the end of the fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester when Alfred University students can take courses online. Allen Term is great time to catch up on required courses, accelerate progress toward graduation, explore a new interest, or concentrate on one course without the burden of a heavy course load. Often called Winter Term at other colleges and universities, Allen Term is named after the second president of Alfred University, Jonathan Allen, and his wife, Abigail.

Alma mater: The school, college, or university that a student once attended OR the anthem of a particular school, college, or university. Alfred University’s alma mater, “Hail To Thee Alfred,” is sung at formal University events.

Alumna: A woman graduate or former student of a university or college

Alumnae: The plural of alumna; a group of women graduates or former students

Alumni: A group of people who have graduated from or attended a university or college; plural of alumnus, but it can also be used to refer to a group of men and women graduates

Alumnus: A male graduate or former student of a university or college

APEX: The Alfred University Applied and Experiential Learning Program (APEX) allows juniors and seniors to apply for up to $1,000 in funding to engage in work experience and study/research opportunities to enhance their career decision-making, increase their opportunities after graduation, and inspire them to find their passions in life. Students who are interested in more information about APEX should contact the Career Development Center.

AU Connect: Alfred University online platform enables students to discover clubs, organizations, and events around campus (See “Corq”).

AU Fresh: Our Dining Services team. AU Fresh provides Alfred’s dining, catering, vending, and coffee services. Sometimes referred to as “AVI.”

Audit: To attend a class without receiving academic credit for the class.

AVI: See “AU Fresh.”


BA: Bachelor of Arts; a degree earned at a four-year college or university. “Arts” refers to Liberal Arts. If a student is enrolled within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, they will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree AND a designated major/designated majors.

Banner: Banner is the database system used at Alfred University to coordinate and manage student and employee information and business processes throughout the University. Banner is home each student’s online account and academic records. Students utilize Banner to register for classes and to check grades. Employees use Banner to enter Timesheets or Leave Reports. Faculty utilize Banner to confirm attendance, access class lists, enter grades, and track advisees.

Banner ID: A student, faculty member, or staff member’s identification number while here at Alfred University. Used to login to Banner, this number is also required for various University forms and is printed on Alfred University-issued ID cards. (See “A#”)

BFA: Bachelor of Fine Arts; a fine arts degree earned a four-year college or university

BS: Bachelor of Science; a degree earned at a four-year college or university


CACT: Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology; pronounced CAT

Canvas: Alfred University’s online learning platform. Canvas provides students with access to online courses in addition to supplementary coursework and required materials for traditional courses. It can be accessed via the Canvas logo on MyAU.

CAS: Center for Academic Success (can also refer to a Certificate of Advanced Study!)

The Castle: The unique stone building located behind Powell Campus Center. Also known as the Allen Steinheim Museum, Alfred’s very own mini castle was once the private residence of Professor Ida Kenyon, who wanted to reproduce the architecture of a castle in her native Germany. It is now home to the Robert R. McComsey Career Development Center (CDC).

CDC: Career Development Center

CLAS: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Class standing/Class year: Used to define a student progress toward their graduate goal/year. For example, a student might be a first year, sophomore, senior, etc. or a member of the Class of 2020, 2021, etc. Class standing is determined by the number of credits a student has earned.

College: Can refer to any general institution for higher education OR to an independent institution or school within a larger institution with its own teaching staff, majors, offices, general education requirements, etc. Alfred University is made up of six such colleges and “schools”: The Business College, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The Inamori School of Engineering, The New York State College of Ceramics, The School of Art and Design, and the Graduate School.

Common Ground: The Common Ground program is a series of discussions among small groups consisting of first-year and transfer students facilitated by members of the university administration, faculty, and staff. Common Ground integrates new students into the Alfred University community through discussions in which students hear the stories of their peers from different backgrounds, interrogate their assumptions about other people or places, get more comfortable talking about sensitive topics like race, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class, and articulate the values that they will live by as citizens of the Alfred community.

Co-Op: An Alfred University co-op experience is a credit-bearing, formally recognized program combining classroom learning and productive paid work experiences in a field related to a student's academic and career goals. Co-op consists of full-time work in an industry or with a research organization for a period of 6-8 months. Co-ops are always paid! Handshake is a great place to find and apply for co-op positions.

Corequisite: A course or another requirement that a student must take at the same time as another course or requirement; two requirements that must be completed simultaneously.

Corq: Corq is the AU Connect app enables students to discover events and groups around campus from their favorite mobile device.

Credit hour: The typical academic course load of full-time students at Alfred University is 16-18 credit hours per semester. Most courses meet for 1 (50-minute) hour per week for each semester credit hour. For example: a 4-credit course meet four times a week for 50 minutes.

CSD: College Student Development program

CSI: Center for Student Involvement

Curriculum: The subjects and/or courses that make up a course of study in a school or college major


Dean: The head of a college or school

Dean’s List: A full-time degree-seeking student who earns at least a 3.5 grade point average for a Fall or Spring semester with 12 or more GPA hours, no letter grade below C-, and no grade of Incomplete (I) is placed on the Dean's List in his or her school or college for that semester.

Division III/Division 3: Division III or “D3” is a division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-III consists of athletic programs at colleges and universities that do not to offer athletic scholarships to their student-athletes.


EIP: The SUNY Empire Innovation Program (EIP) is a state-funded grant program dedicated to recruiting and retaining world-class faculty at SUNY institutions.

Empire 8: The E8 is Alfred University’s intercollegiate athletic conference. Member colleges include Elmira College, Hartwick College, Houghton College, Nazareth College, St. John Fisher College, Utica College, and the Sage Colleges.

EOP: The State University of New York's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). The Arthur O. Eve Opportunity Programs (HEOP and EOP) at Alfred University are programs that recruit, enroll, and provide undergraduate academic and financial support to NYS high school graduates who meet the program qualifications. The programs target NYS residents who demonstrate that they come from historically disadvantaged backgrounds (academically and economically). Available primarily to full-time, matriculated students, the program supports students throughout their college careers. EOP is a program specifically for public institutions within the State University of New York (SUNY) system.

EFC: Expected Family Contribution. “EFC” is an index number that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid a student would receive if they were to attend their school. The information a student reports on their FAFSA is used to calculate your EFC. The EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law. A family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) all could be considered in the formula. Also considered are a student’s family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year.

EH&S: Environmental Health and Safety

Elective: Courses that don’t fulfill a specific degree program requirement. Some major tracks require a certain amount of elective credit hours; these elective options allow students to take courses to explore a new interest or to satisfy intellectual curiosity. An elective course may be outside a student’s field or discipline, or may it may have a direct relationship to the student’s degree program.

ENS: Environmental Studies


FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a financial aid application that must be completed yearly. It is the key to obtaining federal financial aid such as grants, work-study, student loans, and scholarships. The FAFSA opens annually in early October and the yearly deadline to complete the FAFSA is generally June 30th.

Fiat Lux: Alfred University’s motto and the name of Alfred University’s student newspaper. Latin for “Let there be Light!”

Ford Street: Generally used to refer to Ford Street Apartments (resident halls located on Ford Street directly above the Judson Leadership Center and Connors)

Foundations: Foundations is the required first year course for all School of Art and Design students. During the fall semester students work with faculty teams from different disciplines and perspectives to tackle vital topics in the education of an artist from form and color to building and drawing to performance and kinetics. The spring semester begins to sharpen conceptual and technical skills through smaller workshops. Throughout the year, all Foundations students meet collectively once a week on Wednesday mornings for films, discussions, group projects, performances, and Visiting Artists' talks.

Full-time: In order to be considered a “full-time” student at Alfred University, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours.

FYE: First Year Experience. Each of Alfred University’s colleges has a uniquely structured FYE program.


GPA: Grade point average. A student’s GPA indicates how well they have fared in their courses on average. A “cumulative GPA” is a mathematical calculation of all the final grades a student earned from the time they first enrolled in an institution to the completion of their education.

Graduate degree: Any studies completed after an undergraduate degree are considered “graduate work.” Students may choose to pursue a Master’s degree (generally 1-3 years in length), a doctorate degree, or a professional certification program.

GRE: The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test that is an admissions' requirement for most graduate schools in the United States. The “graduate school SAT.”


Hairpin Turn: Perhaps the best view on campus. A grassy overlook located above the Miller Performing Arts Center and Miller Theater.

Handshake: Alfred University's online job posting and campus recruiting system. The first stop for AU students and alumni who are looking for jobs, internships, career events, career fairs, & more. Students can login into Handshake using their Alfred University email address and password.

HEOP: The State University of New York's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). The Arthur O. Eve Opportunity Programs (HEOP and EOP) at Alfred University are programs that recruit, enroll, and provide undergraduate academic and financial support to NYS high school graduates who meet the program qualifications. The programs target NYS residents who demonstrate that they come from historically disadvantaged backgrounds (academically and economically). Available primarily to full-time, matriculated students, the program supports students throughout their college careers. HEOP is a partnership between Alfred University and the New York State Education Department and is funded jointly between the two. It is intended for private colleges and universities.

Hot Dog Day: An Alfred tradition. HDD is one of the most popular celebrations in the community, and offers carnival games, amusement rides, bounce houses, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, Mud Olympics, a parade, and, of course, plenty of hot dogs. Alfred University and Alfred State collaborate to sponsor the event, raising money to support and serve the community. A host of volunteers from both campuses – students, staff and faculty – help make Hot Dog Day a success.

Humanities: Academic courses of study or “disciplines” that focus on aspects of human society, culture, and the arts. Includes literature, languages, philosophy, art history etc.

Hunt Seat: Along with dressage, it is one of the two classic forms of English riding. The hunt seat evolved from the tradition of fox hunting. Alfred University has a Varsity Hunt Seat Equestrian team.


ID card: A printed card students receive during Alfred University Orientation. AU ID cards contain a student’s meal plan information and allow students to check resources (or fun DVDS!) out of the University library system in addition to serving a wide variety of other needs on campus. Lost ID card? Report lost cards to Dining Services, and secure a replacement card at the Dining Services Office on the first floor of Powell.

ITS Helpdesk: Information Technology Services. Located in the lower level of Herrick Library, this office provides tech support and education for Alfred University students, faculty, and staff.


JLC: The Judson Leadership Center



LEAD Athletic: The Judson Leadership Center’s leadership certificate program for Alfred University student athletes. Created in collaboration with the Alfred University Athletics Department, LEAD Athletic helps AU student athletes become effective leaders on and off the field.

Learning Labs: Learning Labs have regular hours each week, during which students can stop by to work through difficult course material, study for exams, and get assistance with homework. Two-four tutors are available during scheduled hours to help with a variety of courses in the target discipline. Students can contact the Center for Academic Success for more information regarding Learning Labs and supplemental instruction.

Leave of absence (LOA): Alfred University recognizes that there are many good reasons why a student may want to temporarily interrupt his/her education. Therefore the University has established a leave of absence policy that assures a student the right to continue his/her education following a specified leave period. Students make take a medical leave of absence or a personal leave of absence.

Lil Alf: Perhaps Alfred University’s most famous resident--and one of its youngest! The Alfred University mascot, Lil Alf reps Saxon Nation.

LSAT: The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a half-day standardized test for prospective law school candidates.


MA: Master of Arts; a graduate degree in the humanities or social sciences.

Major: A student’s chosen field of study; must be “declared” or approved by a student’s dean/college. A student’s major is the subject they will study above all else. Majors have certain requirements that must be met prior to graduation.

MBA: Master of Business Administration; a graduate degree in business.

MCAT: The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a computer-based standardized examination for prospective medical students.

McLane: McLane Center, named in honor of former Alfred University athletic director James A. McLane, is the hub of intramural activity on campus. The modern fitness center located on the ground floor is a focal point for students, faculty and staff. Offices for the Department of Athletics and the Division of Athletic Training are also located in the McLane Center. Opened in the fall of 1971, McLane is home to the AU men's and women's basketball teams, the men's and women's swimming and diving teams and the women's volleyball team.

MFA: Master of Fine Arts; a graduate degree of fine arts.

Midterms: Exams held during the middle of the semester.

Minor: A student’s secondary field of study. While every student will declare a major, not every student will graduate with a minor. Students occasionally complete multiple minors.

MS: Master of Science; a graduate degree in science.

MS Ed: Master of Science in Education; a graduate degree in education that often includes the following majors: college student development, counseling, school psychology, and curriculum and instruction.


NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association

Non-Trad: Abbreviation for non-traditional student--a term generally used to refer to students 25 years or older who do not reside on campus.

NYSCC: The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University


Outside of Ordinary: The Alfred way of life! Also, the University's official brand tagline and motto.


PCC: Powell Campus Center

PCC Box/Mailbox: Alfred University are assigned mailboxes or a PCC box in Powell Campus Center for the duration of their time at Alfred University. The mail room is located on the lower level of Powell.

PhD: Doctor of Philosophy; a “doctorate” or advanced graduate degree.

Pine Hill: The area where the suites are located.

“Plus 1” Program: Students enrolled in the College of Business's 4+1 MBA program are set to graduate from Alfred University with a Bachelor's AND Master's in Business Administration in five years.

Prerequisite: A course or subject that a student must complete before they are able to take another course or subject.

Provost: A university’s chief academic officer; the head of all academic affairs

PsyD: Doctor of Psychology; a “doctorate” or advanced graduate degree in psychology



RA/Resident Assistant: A resident assistant (RA) is a current Alfred University sophomore/junior/senior student who assists the Resident Director in creating an atmosphere of individual and community growth within each residence hall. The RA is available to assist students with questions and problems and to help them settle into their new environment.

RAVE Alerts: Alfred University uses RAVE Alert to distribute text, email and voicemail messages in the event of an emergency that affects our students, faculty and staff. AU utilizes RAVE in situations in which there is an immediate threat to students, faculty and staff and for weather-related closings.

RD: A resident director (RD) supervises each residence hall/area. Each serves as a resource person for the residents/students as well as a facilitator. Resident directors (RD) are graduate students attending Alfred University. All RDs are supervised by a professional staff member from the Office of Residence Life.

REE: Renewable Energy Engineering

Regalia: The “uniform” of academics, regalia is typically worn at formal functions such as opening convocation or commencement. Robes are cut and style differently according to degree (so Master’s robes have different sleeves than those worn by undergraduates). The colors on the hood correspond to different areas of study.

Registrar: The registrar oversees academic records. Students may visit the Office of the Registrar to verify their enrollment status, request transcripts, update their contact information with the University, or to ask any questions they may have about course registration. The Office of the Registrar is housed within the Student Service Center on the first floor of Seidlin Hall. Sometimes referred to as the Bursar.

Residence hall: Rooms, apartments, houses, and other living quarters provided for students by the University. Formerly known as “dorms.”

Residency requirement: Alfred University is a residential university. Alfred University students are required to live on campus for three years. Students may be eligible for an off-campus release if they meet one or more of the following criteria: married, in a legal domestic partnership, or a single parent; 23 years of age or older; commuting from their permanent home and primary residence of parent or legal guardian within 60 miles of campus; participating in a co-op or study abroad program; transferred to Alfred and lived on campus for three years at another institution.


Saxon Nation: Saxon Nation is an organization that supports Alfred University's Athletics Department. It provides a great opportunity for Alfred University alumni and Saxon supporters to assist and enhance the experience of the University's 400-plus student-athletes, as well as offering the chance to get involved and be part of an exciting and vibrant Athletics Department.

Service learning: Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that combines meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enhance the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Alfred University is home to the Gary Horowitz Service Learning Program (housed within the Career Development Center).

SI: Supplemental Instruction (SI) consists of regularly scheduled, informal, peer-led review sessions for traditionally difficult foundational courses such as chemistry, physics, and biology. SI study sessions focus on skill-development and review of difficult concepts and are open to anyone in the course. Students work collaboratively with their peers to review notes, discuss readings, develop organizational tools, and prepare for examinations. The SI leaders attend lectures, meet regularly with the faculty and CAS (Center for Academic Success) staff, and are trained to facilitate the study sessions using collaborative learning techniques.

Social sciences: A group of subjects or academic disciplines focused on the study of human societies and relationships. Includes anthropology, sociology, history, political science, etc.

STEAM: Stands for science technology, art, engineering, and mathematics.

STEM: Stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

STEP Lab: The Student Engineering Projects (STEP) Lab is one of the Mechanical Engineering labs that students can use to complete assigned and personal projects. The lab contains a machine shop that students can get trained in and use for their projects as well as the option to be trained in welding. The lab is open to all majors and has knowledgeable staff that can assist students with their projects as well as instruct them in the safe use of the lab. Located behind Seidlin Hall, the STEP Lab also offers space and tools for clubs such as the SAE Baja team.

Student Accounts: Student Accounts is responsible for maintaining each student's financial account, student billing, and cashiering operations at Alfred University. Students who have questions related to billing or CASHnet should visit Student Accounts in the Student Service Center on the first floor of Seidlin Hall.

Student Service Center: Located on the first floor of Seidlin Hall, the Student Service Center is home to the Office of the Registrar, Student Accounts, and Loan Services. The Student Service Center is AU's "one-stop shop" committed to providing friendly, professional service for assisting with student academic records, registration, financial obligations, and loan services for alumni.

SUNY: The State University of New York. A system of higher education institutions within New York State. The largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States!

Syllabus: A syllabus serves as a course overview and details what will be expected of students who enroll in the course. Generally, a syllabus will include course policies, rules and regulations, grading rubrics, required texts, the instructor’s contact info and office hours, and a detailed calendar or breakdown of all major assignments.


Transcript: A transcript is a copy of a student's permanent academic record, which usually includes all courses taken, all grades received, all honors received and degrees conferred to a student from the first day of school to the current semester.

Transfer: A student who has completed coursework or classes at another institution after completing high school and before enrolling at Alfred University.


Undergraduate: A student at a college or university who has not yet earned a bachelor's degree

Undergraduate degree: An undergraduate academic degree is awarded by an institution of higher learning upon completion of a course of study lasting generally between 3 and 5 years.



WALF: WALF 89.7 FM is Alfred University’s own student-run radio station.

Wellness Center: Provides health, counseling, and health education services to Alfred University students.

WILD About Alfred: WILD About Alfred helps students make the most of Alfred's unique physical setting in Western New York. WILD encourages students to experience AU’s gorgeous location and have fun in the outdoors with friends, professors and staff.

WLA: The Women’s Leadership Academy

Writing Center: The Writing Center provides free writing assistance to all Alfred University students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty, and support personnel. Student tutors represent a wide range of disciplines. Each tutor is trained to deal with all kinds of writing tasks such as pre-writing, drafting, and revision. The Writing Center is housed within the Center for Academic Success on the second floor of Herrick Library.