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Provost's Update

Nov. 2014

Enhanced Advising Activity to Support Students

As part of EMU's effort to improve retention and degree completion, additional staff and resources have been added to the academic advising offices across campus. Two colleges have added new offices: the College of Health and Human Services Advising, and the Francine Parker Advising Center that supports College of Arts and Sciences advising. Both have modern, technology-focused centers that facilitate effective student-centered access. All college offices have initiated new programming focused on transfer students and employ electronic note taking to create an easily accessed record of advising appointments.

Students entering EMU are now each required to attend an advising session during the fall semester before registering for winter. Students may attend group or individual sessions. Each session/appointment covers important requirements and relevant policies, information about available support offices on campus, information about course availability, and developing a professional development plan for the future. Staff advisors are also giving academic advising presentations within many of the 100-200 level general education courses offered each semester.

Transfer advising services have also been enhanced. EMU recently initiated a half-day academic transition program for new transfer students to help ensure their successful attendance here on campus. As part of the program, students receive targeted advising at the college level advising offices. It is also critical for this population of students to connect with faculty and staff members within their academic department, as most have declared majors and need to map out a clear plan that facilitates completing their academic program. EMU is preparing to go online with Transferology during the upcoming winter semester. This program will assist transfer students with early information about course equivalencies.

Finally, the UACDC has been working on streamlining communication to students who are undeclared or undecided about a major. Moving forward, these students will be identified as “exploratory” students with efforts made to provide tools/information to support effective decision making and examination of different paths. Advisors working along with career coaches have been doing presentations specifically geared towards this student population in hopes of helping them choose a major in a timely manner. Research findings support that students who identify a major within their first 60 hours of attendance are more likely to persist and graduate in a timely way.

Thanks to Calvin McFarland for contributing to this article