Indiana Daily Student

Provost seeks to revamp advising

Students want changes to be made to academic advising, according to the IU Student Association’s VOICE report, released this week.

Now, the IU administration is now taking steps to improve advising.

“You have an adviser that is linked to certain majors or scholarship programs, and they may not be well-versed in other areas,” said Augustin Ruta, IUSA chief of staff. “We took all the recommendations we had and the key one is centralization of university resources. We think that if everything is taken into consideration, we’ll have one IU advising office instead of lots of small ones.”

Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel is now taking two steps to respond not only to the VOICE Report but also to faculty committees, Robel said in her State of the Campus address.

Those two steps include purchasing and using the Education Advisory Board’s product “Student Success Collaborative” as well as applying the framework created by Vice Provost Munirpallam Venkataramanan and the IU Leadership program at the Kelley School of Business.

However, the draft of the VOICE Report she based her decision on had not included freshmen and seniors due to a technical issue, Ruta said. All grade levels are included in the final version published last Tuesday. Robel refers to the Educational Advisory Board’s product as the “Student Success Collaborative.”

“The main points of the Student Success Collaborative take into account, for Indiana University, data from the past 10 years,” Samantha Mocknick, an Education Advisory Board partnership manager, said. “It prioritizes which students need assistance and how they can graduate within the next four years.”

The Student Success Collaborative is not currently available to advisers.

However, it is not entirely clear how advisers will be affected other than receiving data.

“The framework suggests that all advising be actively involved with students,” Venkataramanan said. “If you engage the students from year one you can say, ‘Here are your potential opportunities,’ because students need to explore their options.”

It is also suggested by Venkataramanan that faculty should be integrated into the students’ educational paths at different points.

The suggestion is whoever is teaching the course will be able to give further guidance to the student on the different paths they can take to achieve their goals.

“We cannot force the faculty or students to interact outside of the classroom,” Venkataramanan said. “But we would like this opportunity to be open.”

It is with this new tool and framework that students will be better able to take part in an internship, study abroad and/or conduct research, Robel said in her address.

Progress in determining what funds are needed for this endeavor is currently hindered by the fact that IU does not know how many students participate in the three areas, said Venkataramanan.

“Once we measure where we are, the mechanisms needed and what students want, we can come up with a good estimate,” Venkataramanan said. “We’re going to start the benchmarking process.”

There are many programs already in place. One place where a partial list of research opportunities is located is the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity’s website. These opportunities are open to all undergraduates and graduates.

“We would like our partners to commit opportunities for our students,” Venkataramanan said.

While these programs may not be advertised well, Venkataramanan believes students will be able to continue moving forward.

“Independent study is a very big way to work with a faculty member,” Venkataramanan said. “There are literally a lot of schools and courses where you are expected to write a thesis or design your own major. The opportunities are out there.”

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