Students prepare to move forward
Advising begins; classroom size continues to be ‘an experiment’
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 16:02
Ready, set … Not quite yet.
Advising for the 2013 Summer and Fall semesters begins Monday, Feb. 25.
“Best practices indicate that professional academic advising is really important to student success,” Dr. Paul Swets, Dean of Arts and Sciences, said. “Most students want that help to make sure they enroll in the right classes and proceed towards their degree.”
University-wide advising and having professional development for advisors is becoming a trend, he said.
“ASU is well in line with what other universities are doing [as far as advising], in fact, we are ahead of some,” Swets said.
Different colleges throughout the university have different missions, he said. For example, some may specialize in balancing intervention with students who are on academic probation, or working with first generation students.
“I would advise any student to make an appointment at their advising center if they have questions about their schedule after attending the group advising session,” Swets said. “Understanding your schedule could be the difference in extra semesters here and getting your degree on time and not getting it on time.”
Dr. Andrew Wallace, the Dean of Freshman College, is apart of a team that deals with pre-declared freshmen. Advising for these students consists of mostly core classes to get them started.
“The pre-declared advisors have some specialized training, not just with the core classes, but to help students explore majors,” he said. “We don’t push too many electives on them because some majors require more than others but if you don’t have an idea on what major to pursue taking those extra classes may hold you here over five years.”
The goal is to find a major for students who come in as indecisive their first year of being in college, Wallace said. Pre-declared students take career surveys with the Career Development Center to try and see what best interests them. The electives that are chosen for those students are chosen based on their inventory skills from the surveys, he said.
Sophomore Jerrica Handy said she is excited about advising for the upcoming semesters.
“I am excited about advising because it helps me realize how much closer I am to receiving my degree,” Handy said. “It is also a plus that my adviser answers all the questions I might have then, and in the future.”
Handy came in as a transfer freshman and did not do regular advising her first semester.
“I lived out of state and the history department was nice enough to do my advising over the phone,” she said. “If I had to do it on my own, I would struggle as to what direction I should take,” she said. “With professional advising, someone with more experience could help guide and give me a variety of options.”
Classes will continue to grow in size, Swets said. One reason to keep pushing growth is facilities issues.
“As a student I am very concerned about how I can progress and retain the subject matter when the teacher is instructing a larger group of students,” Handy said. “Some information could not be delved into as much as in the past.”
Handy said she is worried about science classes growing because it is her worst subject, and she would need extra attention.
“If we want to accommodate growth in students as our board has said we need to do, some of those classes are going to have to meet in larger classrooms because we don’t have enough rooms for everybody,” Swets said. “We know that some classes put more demands on faculty and students than others, and so we are trying look at all of the things that affect the university.”
Money and student outcomes are two factors that play a major role in classroom growth, he said.
“We are doing some experiments to see where that optimum balance lies,” Swets said. “Perfect would be a one on one class settings, but we can’t afford anything like that. We have not found that middle ground yet, but we are working on it.”
He believes the university has a good advising system in place and that it improves every year.
“We have a great faculty and good students [whom] we want good outcomes for, so I believe the whole administration is doing its best to make sure we have the best things in place for those students to be successful,” Swets said.
Advising will be open from Feb. 25 to March 8. Be sure to get advised so advising holds can be lifted. Pre-registration will not begin until March 18, and it is done by classification.
Group advising is scheduled by department, and is posted in the area of each department. It is safe for students to contact the department of their major if they need extra help.