Decentralized advising brings advisers closer to students

Sarah James

Advising for The School of Fashion Design and Merchandising underwent a few changes this fall when the advising system decentralized.

College of the Arts adviser Cassie Pegg-Kirby was brought from Taylor Hall directly into Rockwell Hall. Pegg-Kirby joined current adviser Rebecca Hollis to better serve the needs of fashion design and merchandizing students in their own environment.

“I am developing relationships with the faculty,” Pegg-Kirby said. “We can have conversations about what is in the best interest of the student. It has provided a more cohesive environment for advising.”

Hollis and Pegg-Kirby host “Walk-in Wednesdays” in Rockwell Hall. Although it is still early, Hollis said she thinks the decentralization seems to be working well.

With two advisers in the same building, students have a better chance of speaking with someone right away.

DeMario Hughes, a transfer student from the University of Toledo, took advantage of the walk-in option to see an adviser between classes.

“It was very helpful for me to come right from class up here,” he said. “It made me feel welcome.”

The advising team set up a monthly newsletter that is printed out and e-mailed to students. The newsletter outlines deadlines, events, group meetings and graduation information. Previously, these messages were sent out separately to the fashion design and merchandizing Listserv.

Hollis set up a Facebook page where students can communicate with her as well as other students. Also, she posts information about internships and job opportunities on the page. Many students post quick questions to Hollis there and use the page to connect with each other. Fashion school director J.R. Campbell is a member of the group and is able to answer student inquiries as well.

“Now that we have Cassie here, we’ve been able to brainstorm on some things that will help streamline some of the advising and get a more consistent message out to the students,” Campbell said. “It is really nice for the advisers to have a relationship with faculty. We can make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Decentralization started with the College of Communication and Information and spread to the College of the Arts. Pegg-Kirby said this allowed many of the kinks to be worked out before it was implemented in the fashion school.

“The College of Arts decided to take decentralization a little bit further and bring decentralization right in to the school buildings,” Pegg-Kirby said. “Being in the building where that work happens makes it easier.”

Prior to the decentralization, most first year students were advised through the First Year Advising Center in Lake Hall. Now, many programs have advisers located in their own buildings.

Contact fashion reporter Sarah James at [email protected].