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Vice provost hopefuls to ask UA for advice

Juan Garcia
By Andrea Kelly
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, December 8, 2003
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Improvements to advising and adjustments to the general education requirements are two of the concerns students want the new vice provost for instruction to address.

The four candidates for the position will hold public forums this week to speak with the university community and gain insight on the status of undergraduate instruction.

Students who crowded into the library this weekend to prepare for upcoming finals have some suggestions for the four candidates.

Sarah Sloviter, an art history senior, said that the four candidates need to address freshman advising. She said that, as a freshman, she did not know what resources she could access.

"I didn't talk to advisers enough. I didn't know what was there for me," Sloviter said.

She said she knew there was help somewhere, but she didn't know how to find it.

"I didn't know who could have helped me. I didn't know where the resources were," Sloviter said. "I'm sure there were people there to help."

This lack of understanding, Sloviter said, meant she wasted a lot of time. She said it would help if there were a way for students to access information on where to go for advising and help.

"They could advertise advising more, like a full page ad in the Wildcat," she said.

Stacey Stanley, a public health senior, said she shared some of the same confusion her freshman year. She said it can be hard to drop classes and deal with financial aid problems because it is not clear where to start.

"Sometimes you go to the financial aid office, and they tell you to go to the Bursar's office. Then they tell you to go back to the financial aid office," Stanley said.

She said it is up to the administrators to help students who are new to campus.

"People need to be more forthcoming and helpful," Stanley said.

Part of the responsibilities of the vice provost for instruction include managing the general education program.

Amit Gitterman, a mechanical engineering junior from Israel, said that general education requirements for international students need to be reevaluated.

"They should waiver gen-eds for international students because gen-eds are aimed for Americans, based on the evaluation of their high school education and all of the information they accumulate before college," Gitterman said.

He said international students have a different education before they come to college, and that some of the gen-ed requirements should be replaced by more major work for international students.

"If they can make adjustments for international students, I think it will benefit both the university and the international students," Gitterman said. "It would allow the students to have more courses in their major, and it would improve the university because more international students would come here and pay non-resident tuition."

In contrast, Jeff Sjulstad, a finance senior, said he thinks gen-eds can be repetitive for anyone.

"Gen-eds can be tedious; most people don't take them seriously," Sjulstad said. "They have their place because they give the university variety, but in general, they seemed a lot like high school."

Sjulstad said he thinks that the vice provost for instruction should also focus on improving writing proficiency.

"They definitely need to emphasize basic English skills. Some people come out writing at a ninth grade level," he said.

He said he sees this problem in the business college, and that it is important to address.

"If kids can't communicate what they know, what does it matter what they learned?" Sjulstad said.

Juan Garcia, Chris Impey, Jim Shockey and Jerry Hogle were selected from 11 applicants to contend for the position. Garcia will be the first to face questions and comments today from 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. in Social Sciences 100.

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