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UAlbany's award-winning professional advisement services help students get on the right track.

Philippe Abraham

Philippe Abraham, Associate Director of the Advisement Services Center is the recipient of the Chancellor's and President's Awards for Excellence in Professional Service

At UAlbany, the Advisement Services Center (ASC) is the initial advisement resource for undergraduates until they choose a major and develop relationships with advisors in their chosen academic field. The Advisement Center staff is skilled at helping students navigate the inevitable twists and turns of their early undergraduate years.

“We measure our effectiveness in terms of student success,” says Sheila Mahan, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We know that if students make a successful transition to the University in their first year – if they find courses that stimulate their intellectual development and connect with faculty who challenge and engage them – the rest of their undergraduate experience can build on that success.”

During their summer orientation at UAlbany, new students connect with a generalist, first-year advisor who is experienced in helping with transitional issues. Students work with this advisor until they declare a major and are then assigned to an advisor within their chosen academic area.

Recent UAlbany graduate, Allison Shectman, changed her major four times before finding her academic niche. At some schools Allison may have had to attend summer sessions to redeem credits lost in the shuffle or possibly risked not graduating. But she credits UAlbany’s advisement program with helping her make the changes and finally complete a major in Communications – all without jeopardizing her dean’s list academic status. “I e-mailed my advisor frequently and we had discussions about everything from my desire to study abroad to my numerous changes in my course of study. He always encouraged me to follow my dreams and helped me to follow through,” says Shechtman.

ASC advisors use an array of tools to assist students, including the University’s new web-based student records system. Both students and advisors can now readily access academic information online that helps them make good decisions about meeting degree requirements.Dan White

Another tool, the Advisement Services Center website, won an Outstanding Electronic Publication Certificate of Merit as part of the 2003 National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) National Awards Program. The publication was developed by ASC advisor Dan White (right).Linda Scoville

NACADA also recognized Linda Scoville (left) as an Outstanding Academic Advisor. Scoville advises 300 to 400 undeclared undergraduates each semester and works with her colleague, pre-law advisor Dawn Kakumba (right), in assisting students interested in law.Dawn Kakumba Linda is the third ASC advisor to receive outstanding advisor recognition from NACADA in recent years.

While ASC staff agree that academic advising is best delivered one-to-one with an advisor with whom a student has developed a relationship, the Center also provides “drop-in” service for students who seek answers to specific questions about policies and requirements. The Center also provides guidance through all four years to students planning to attend medical or other health professional school or law school.

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