New resources expected from Academic Advising
June 7, 2010 —
A long line of students snaking through Wickes Hall, waiting to have a meeting in the Academic Advising office is a sight many SVSU students have seen during the past year.
Students have taken notice of these longer waiting times and explained their experiences to the office.
Tory Watson, a communication senior, says that she went in to have a degree audit before school ended and “it was hard to meet with someone.”
Briana San Miguel, a political science and history junior, has tried to avoid the hassle, saying that she only seeks help from the office when she needs a degree audit and can “take it from there” once she has her audit.
According to Daniel Strasz, the director at Academic Advising, the office is trying new things to be more efficient during the school year and in the summer, particularly during weeks with orientation.
“Right now, we’re just short in staff in general, so we try to make do with the number of staff we have,” he said.
During the summer, Strasz said that the office holds reduced hours just like other services on campus. In addition to reduced hours, Academic Advising has certain days in the summer where the staff helps with freshman orientation and is unable to meet with other students. During days of class registration, as well as during the first week of classes for the fall semester, the staff meets with students on a walk-in basis. Normal hours of operation will return after the first week.
Much of the difficulty in keeping up with students stems from the decrease of staff and resources in recent years. Minority Student Services, which used to be a part of Academic Advising, moved and became a separate office. Graduate assistants were also helping in the office, but Strasz said funding for that has since disappeared.
To meet with the growing number of SVSU students, the office tried a new schedule format at the end of the winter semester where certain days were dedicated to each class standing. Strasz said this change happened following a period where students were waiting, in some cases, two hours to meet with an adviser.
“We had to try something because we just weren’t able to keep up,” he said, adding that the office would probably have to try a similar schedule to meet with as many students as they could.
He noted that trying the new schedule at the end of the semester was successful. The only time the staff fell behind was on the days reserved for freshmen, but sophomores, juniors, and seniors experienced only a short wait before being able to meet with an adviser.
Strasz also said the office would consider continuing this new schedule in the fall semester during the weeks leading up to winter registration.
Another option Academic Advising is looking into would be having a degree audit feature on Cardinal Direct. Strasz said this would make meeting with faculty advisers more helpful by having a current audit and not a dated piece of paper, adding that “having that happen within this year is a real possibility, especially with the upperclassmen.”
With degree audits on Cardinal Direct, Strasz said this would be beneficial to students and staff alike because “staffing levels just won’t keep up” to meet with everyone.
Watson thinks that having audits available on Cardinal Direct would benefit a lot of people, especially freshmen and transfers “who don’t have any idea where they need to go for their degree program.”
Academic Advising also is working to have a third step of orientation for freshmen based on their majors. Strasz said that having them work with the office to register for classes “might take them out of the mix and free up time for other students.”
San Miguel offered a suggestion where advisers could “specialize in different majors or areas.” She says this could help students who need advice in their majors.
At the end of the day, Strasz says that the office has two goals for the work that they do.
“Really, we just want to get information to the students, and we want to make sure that students aren’t waiting a long time for that information,” he said.