Business, Liberal Arts advisers await Centers

Shannon Hall

Two advising centers sit in place at the Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education and the College of Nursing and Health Professions, while the other two colleges continue to play the waiting game.

The College of Liberal Arts and the College of Business were supposed to open advising centers this fall, but they were put on hold until further notice.

“No one asked anyone to stop,” said Timothy Schibik, College of Business assistant dean. “I think what happened was there was funding put into place for the two centers and before the complete funding was put in place for the other two, the decision was made someplace to make sure the direction of the centers was what everyone wanted.”

The College of Business went ahead and changed the way it advises its freshmen.

“Pretty much we’ve gone ahead with our basic plan of operation without having a physical entity,” Schibik said.

A seven-person group made up of Schibik, Tim Mahoney, the associate dean, the dean and three full-time faculty advised the class of 2017 this semester.

“We went away from (the previous) model because we found as freshmen – they would say they want to be a marketing major. But the odds of being a marketing major a few years later were slim,” Schibik said. “This way they get freshmen attention from someone who does freshmen advising.”

So far, the model seems to work.

“This is the first semester – everyone survived. We have virtually no data because we are 13 weeks in,” Schibik said. “Outwardly, I think it’s working relatively well just looking at our preregistration numbers. We’ve got the same number of students who are registered now as we did this time last year.”

If a physical advising center opens in the College of Business, the only thing that would change would be the physical location – to Schibik’s understanding.

But because the College of Business has less students, it’s a different situation with the College of Liberal Arts, said Michael Aakus, College of Liberal Arts dean.

They determined how they will choose who will be advisers, but they haven’t contacted them. They’re waiting for the go signal.

“I assume we will have our advising centers, but it will be once they have more data to make sure this is an effective means to retaining and recruiting,” Aakus said.

The first-year experience, as it develops, is an overall campus issue, Aakus said, and the advising centers will play a part in it.

“I think what the centers really represent is an opportunity to really take a close look at some of the issues surrounding retention,” Aakus said.