Academic advising to become more personalized with next year’s freshmen

Kiera Manion-Fischer

Beginning in Fall 2008, some first-year students will each be assigned an adviser as part of a new freshman advising center. They will meet with the same adviser at least three times throughout the year.

Gary Padak, dean of undergraduate studies, said he hopes the advisers will build relationships and reach out more to students.

Currently, in some colleges, Padak said freshman advising is more generalized, and students are not guaranteed to see the same adviser on subsequent meetings.

The advising center will be established as a pilot program when the PASS program starts this February.

“When a person sets foot on this campus, they don’t feel like they’re starting this experience totally alone,” Padak said.

The colleges of Arts and Sciences, Nursing and Technology will participate in the center, and the change will affect students from the general major in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

Padak said he will hire at least six new advisers to help with the load. Each adviser will have approximately 225 to 250 students.

He said students may be mandated to meet with their advisers at least three times a year.

“Hopefully, they will want to meet with and interact with that person,” Padak said.

Academic adviser Barbara Miller said her role will change somewhat.

“We’re probably going to be a lot more intrusive than we’ve been so that we can establish a stronger relationship with students,” Miller said.

She said advisers will do more outreach, such as phone calls, e-mails and even visits with students.

“We won’t wait for them to contact us,” Miller said. “We’ll be more proactive in making contact and making sure they’re on track.”

Freshman exploratory major Ryan Fear said his adviser visited his first-year colloquium class a few times, and he was required to meet with her once.

He said he would like to have more one-on-one contact with an adviser, but he said he wouldn’t want to be required to meet with one.

Freshman architecture major Arthur Schmidt was assigned one adviser for his major at the beginning of the semester and keeps seeing the same adviser all through college. He said he thinks it’s a good system.

“They know your strengths and weaknesses in terms of LERs,” Schmidt said. “They’ll be better able to know what classes you should take.”

Contact academics reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].