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Advisers working to improve

By Uwe Hilgert, Jeff Orgera, Lupe Thompson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 8, 1999

To the editor,

UA Advisers as well as faculty and administrators recognize that the availability of timely and adequate advising is crucial for the retention, success and satisfaction of our students. The University Professional Advising Council (UPAC), is a platform for anybody involved in, depending on and affecting advising. In collaboration with ASUA, we have in April submitted to the UA administration a proposal to improve the delivery of advising campus-wide.

We suggest a systemic approach to improve, coordinate, link, highlight and expand advising at the UA. Components of this proposal are to a) install an advising hub and clearing house where students will find directions to avoid the run-around mentioned in Thursday's article (this hub is under consideration by the Dean of Students and might be located in the new Student Union); b) to provide training and improved communication for advisers; c) to increase the image of advising, especially for faculty by including advising as a fourth area of responsibility besides research, teaching and outreach; d) to recognize advising as a full-fledged profession that is comparable to teaching and counseling rather than to helping somebody out with quick answers. This proposal and other information about UPAC can be accessed on-line at http://ag.arizona.edu/vetmic/upac/proposal.htm

Having said all that, we would like to also point out that advising is a process that requires responsibility on all sides of the equation. Of particular relevance are that a) students seek advising early, and that b) students avoid deviating from what they have figured out with their adviser unless they talked about it with their adviser again. At the beginning of the semester it needs to be expected that the Freshman Year Center focuses its energy on its mission: to serve freshmen (the UA got about 5,200 this fall ...). On the other hand, this is a very busy time for anybody involved in advising and some offices have less of a leeway than others to push somebody in out of schedule. How is an advising office supposed to respond to the students that have made regular appointments if they let others in far before they are up?

Uwe Hilgert, Jeff Orgera, Lupe Thompson

Chairs, University Professional Advising Council

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