LA Advising Center begins seeing students

James Vaughn

Another advising center is up and running this semester in addition to the two that have been available to students for the past two years.

Renee Rowland and Mark Razor moved into temporary offices on the third floor of the Liberal Arts Center Aug. 4, and began seeing students immediately. They’re expecting a rush this week and next as nearly 2,000 undergraduates enter or return to the College of Liberal Arts.

“The main students that we’re going to be working with will be the incoming freshmen – they will all be assigned to us – and we’ll do programs for transfer students,” said Rowland, director of the new advising center.

Returning students will continue to meet with their faculty advisers.

“If for some reason they can’t get ahold of their adviser, of course they can come to us,” Rowland said. “We’re not going to turn students away.”

Rowland hopes to host some type of program to transition freshmen from the center to their discipline during the spring semester of their first year.

“In the fall semester, I’m hoping to have some kind of open-house-type gathering even though we don’t have an official space yet,” Rowland said. “So freshmen can meet the faculty of their discipline.”

Construction of the new advising center’s facilities is expected to begin in October. The advising center, which will be located on the second floor of the Liberal Arts Center, should be open for the spring semester.

Rowland said she also plans to focus on students who have earned 60 to 90 credit hours because they are close to graduating.

“I’ll be having workshops to show them, you know, how to read Degreeworks so they can see what they have left to make sure that they’re on track for graduation,” she said. “You don’t wait until your senior year and say, ‘Oh, well I’m going to graduate.’ Well, no, you need to start now to make sure that you’re taking everything that you need and that you are on the right path.”

As of Friday, 266 freshmen were registered for fall classes.

The Liberal Arts Advising Center, like the other two, will feature an open area for students to study in, as well as workshops about topics ranging from Core 39 to transferring from a two-year college.

Rowland and Razor worked as advisers in University Division before spearheading the Liberal Arts Advising Center. Rowland has been with the university since 1999 and has been an adviser since 2003.

She is familiar with Liberal Arts’ many majors, from art, to philosophy, to social work.

“Since I’m used to working with undecided students, I had to know about all of the different majors on campus,” Rowland said. “The majority of our students, when they did declare, would declare something in liberal arts. So it hasn’t been a learning curve for me.”

Incoming freshmen are required to take a First Year Experience course and the advisers have assigned themselves specific FYE courses, so they plan to meet with students during those class times.

“They’re only meeting once a week,” Rowland said. “So if they have a class Tuesday at 9, they should have 9 o’clock on Thursday available.”

Liberal Arts Career Coordinator Pamela Doerter will have office hours in the Liberal Arts Center once the facility opens its doors.

The College of Business remains the only college without a formal advising center, but that’s about to change, too.

Assistant Dean of the College of Business Timothy Schibik said there are two activities taking place to get the official facility up and running.

A search committee met Tuesday morning about the director’s position, which Schibik said the college received 14 applications for. He said they should hire a director in the next few weeks.

Also, construction is taking place within the College of Business’s main offices on the first floor of the Romain College of Business.

“They’re ripping out walls as we speak,” Schibik said.

The College of Business changed its advising system a year and a half ago. A team made up of Schibik, Dean Muhammed Khayum, Associate Dean Brian McGuire, Economics Instructor Tim Mahoney and three full-time faculty advised the class of 2017.

“We’re basically just adding a formal structure,” Schibik said. “Mahoney is, as we all know, a legend on this campus. He has been our advising center for the better part of 20 years.”

Faculty will continue to advise freshmen in the College of Business.