Undergraduate Academic Council

 

Meeting Date:

Wednesday, February 16, 2005, 2:00-3:20 PM.

 

Present:

J. Philippe Abraham, Seth Chaiken, Randall Craig, Richard Collier, Chris Faugere (replacing David Smith), Robert Gibson, Anne Hildreth, Carolyn Malloch, Sue Phillips (Guest), Karin Reinhold, Crystal Rion, Joan Savitt

 

Minutes:

Minutes from the February 9, 2005 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. Those minutes, with required updates, were approved

 

Minutes from November 15, 2004 remain in need of review.

 

The Advisement Task Force Proposal:

 

The Council recognizes the need for resources do develop and maintain current information on what courses are offered as well as in which semesters so that advisors and students can plan several semesters ahead. The Council also recognizes the needs of advisors for answers to advisement questions and updates of advisement policies and procedures as soon as possible, in addition to the collected information resources recommended by the Task Force. The Council agreed that a sentence reflecting this concern should be added to the proposal.

 

A report on the task force will be presented to the Senate on Monday. Faculty responses have been forwarded to Council members. Electronic copies of the proposal, the cover letter, Sheila’s memo, and the Dean’s e-mail have been sent to UAC members. The Chair is saving this information on his web page so outsiders cannot access the information via the Google search engine. A response from Rosemary Hennessy in English consisted of a memo and how their departmental advisement works. She also forwarded a proposal for mentoring in the English Department which is one UAC previously approved, revamping their major. Eloise Briere in LCC requested six issues for UAC’s to review. The Economics Department requested more time since their subcommittee has a meeting this coming Friday. The Department of Political Science holds a staff meeting this afternoon and will discuss the proposal at that time.

 

As mentioned previously, advising varies from one department to another. Perhaps Barbara Wilkinson, Director of Assessment, could present ideas at a future UAC meeting.

 

Dick Collier mentioned that the Assessment Council discussed the need for assessing undergraduate academic advisement but was awaiting further information from UAC. We should not expect each advising office, department or school to have their own method of assessing since both Middle States and SUNY regulations take precedent over office and departmental

 

methods. The draft policy states satisfaction is regularly reported and students are regularly advised. We should add a draft statement stating our recommendations. The Assessment Council should review and follow-up with a report to the Senate.

 

The Council should provide a short list of UAC recommendations to the Senate, including our assessment recommendations.

 

Publicizing advising accountability could translate into student feedback when the stated minimum expectations were not met.  We should explore each department to determine their advising method. Once we receive departmental and student feedback, that information would be given to the assessment council. The question was asked whether there be student review with the academic/program review, since advisement is not part of the academic major. It was noted that the Assessment Council specifically asks about advisement as part of the program review template.

 

ASC objectives should be given to the task force for them to review.

 

After receiving individual departments’ full advising policy, they should provide answers to how their departments will reach the task force’s objectives. A statement should be included in the proposal that departments are expected to provide written statements on how they organize their department to meet these responsibilities.

 

The assessment council should pay attention to stating that advisement is part of academic review.

 

Although the Chair, Dean, or Director may give feedback, are the actual individuals performing advising work asked their opinions?

 

It was mentioned that we need to reach out to faculty advisors to strongly urge them to read the proposal and letter.

 

The Chair mentioned that Sheila Mahan will be attending the CAS Chairs meeting in March.

 

In reviewing actions taken: (1) add to section on recommendations for rewards in advising students an explicit line item, (2) the Council agreed to direct assessment of advisement to the assessment council, and (3) it was agreed that major that combine minors (sue Maloney said)??? Page 3 mentions that declared majors and minors require advisement that orients the student to the curriculum of the major or minor.

 

To many advisors, the terms “advising” and “mentoring” are interchangeable. Although the task force report mentions this, there is no mention in the draft. The Council agreed that a unifying statement be given that the Council is united in this. Perhaps it should be a mission statement surrounding academic advisement. We should consider everything and ensure all pieces are available. With recommendation #7, we will distinguish the meanings of mentoring and advisement. 3.5 and 3.6 of the report emphasizes the task force’s reasoning translates into the student obtaining as much as possible out of their education. Recommendation #8 has nothing critical but is now haphazard and not available in some departments Mentoring can not be formalized. The reason for mentoring should be included in the statement. Where mentioned in #2 and #7, mentoring is lumped together. It could come together at the same time for whatever is appropriate at the time. Mentoring is in various degrees, but does it address a minimal bar? This should be in placed in items #1, #2, #3, and #4.

 

We should draft a baseline document that includes the word “mentoring”. In section 3 of the policy is listed nine items that have an impact on mentoring. There are five subsections in the report. The Council should add an additional subsection that is bolded.

 

One member suggested wording changes. Advisement is an assigned role. Mentoring is more of a personal relationship. “Unfortunately, some students truly need mentoring but never seek it out. Advisement” would be referred to as “basic advisement”. Basic advisement is what students need in order to graduate within four years. It was suggested that a goal of advisement is to help the student reach a point where advisement isn’t necessary, while mentoring is ideally a building, continuing relationship. The idea to many is that mentoring is more of a personal relationship with the faculty advisor. Perhaps change “mentoring” to “value-added advisement”. Value-added advisement provides means/ways for students to get more out of everything that would lead to career opportunities upon graduation and would include mentoring for networking leading to job opportunities.

 

The Chair mentioned that during the task force meetings, the Dean stated that individual needs vary as students move forward in college and changes occur within the student’s life.

 

Section 3.6 mentions that our task is how to call attention to these items and what policy suggestions would be sent to Senate The report should emphasize that mentoring and advisement could be the same in people’s minds.

 

In addition to a writing definition, students should have access to the information. Students just beginning their college career should be able to access what the University expects of them and of the advisement process. Some students are unaware of required information or are too shy to have an advisement consultation with the instructor.

 

No substantial changes will occur for ASC once the proposal’s incorporation has been achieved. The framers of this policy have in mind what is pertinent for ASC. Advisement is a two-tiered system. Primary responsibility for advisement, before a student declares a major, rests with ASC. After a major is declared, advisement responsibilities are given to department advisors. It was mentioned that the task force attempted to improve communication between ASC and the teaching faculty. Many smaller colleges do not have an ASC type office, and only faculty advisors provide advisement.

 

ASC or EOP function is not to only advise freshmen. Sophomore level or higher students are provided advisement as well. It was mentioned that any University policy allows a department wishing to take over freshmen advisement of its majors to do so.

 

Some faculty have problems accessing student audits for minors and double majors. Bob Gibson stated this problem will soon go away. Some students require advisement in their minor. It was questioned on whether departmental advisors for minors actually need access to student audits.

 

Mary Beth Winn sent an e-mail dated 2/14/05 to Eloise Briere, LCC. She speaks of among the topics of interest to them is advisement in relation to gen-ed requirements (e.g., how to induce students' home departments to advise them regarding the language requirement; poor placement of students in pre-major language courses; the need to take into account both workload and merit increase, the mentoring of students that faculty is expected to do; the need to provide freshmen with information about language courses of study, before they are sidetracked into other courses.

 

Within faculty activity reports, departments will be required to show how their advising or mentoring is being achieved, their current workload, and what criteria is being used.

 

Language courses being waived and later haunting students was discussed. Honors programs, teacher certification, and Phi Beta Kappa acceptance require foreign language. A mention to students should be made of possible future problems when foreign language waivers are granted.

 

Next Meeting:

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Wednesday, 2/23/05, 2:00 PM, LC-31.

 

Minutes Taken:

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies.