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Wednesday, Oct. 4
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

New initiatives, resources for incoming students will aid in major, career exploration


IU has implemented a new model this semester that assigns University Division students an academic adviser and a career counselor, making IU one of the only universities of its size to integrate academic and career services in this way.

A group of faculty and staff met to discuss new major and career exploration services for University Division students Tuesday evening in the Indiana Memorial Union Maple Room. The presentation was given by Patrick Donahue, assistant vice provost of undergraduate education and executive director of career development, and Elizabeth Guertin, assistant vice provost of undergraduate education and executive director of 

University Division is the academic home and advising resource for first-year students at IU. The University provides these services for to give students the chance to explore as many options as possible before making a final decision about a major.

“IU has made a tremendous investment in career services to make sure students are taken care of,” Donahue said.

Donahue said the academic advisors and career counselors will use parallel planning, which emphasizes collaboration between advisers, to provide the best help for students who may be uncertain about what path they want to take for undergraduate education.

Guertin said the new Parallel Planning Initiative is intended to encourage students to do a lot of research on their interests in the first and second years of undergraduate education..

Twenty-five to 30 percent of students enter the University as exploratory students, and, of the other 70 to 75 percent of students who enter with a declared major or are direct-admits, more than 50 percent will change their major at least once before 

The Parallel Planning Initiative includes a policy that went into effect this fall that requires students pursuing a major requiring a GPA higher than 2.0 to declare a second major that is less competitive.

“Students find out a lot about themselves and what is possible at an institution like IU in their first semester,” Guertin said.

Guertin used nursing as an example of a competitive major where students who fully explore their options may be driven to different areas of study like social work where helping others is a uniting factor with their initial choice of major.

All UD students outside of the more competitive majors are strongly encouraged to declare a second major as part of the initiative, Guertin said.

There are also new technologies available for students that will aid in exploring their interests and accessing information about the advising process.

The online Student Center will now include each University Division student’s assigned career counselor as well as their academic adviser.

Guertin said aspirational résumés have been implemented for the new class on campus. Students are prompted with questions that help reveal their long-term goals and what they hope to accomplish, and this information is used as a starting point for academic advisers.

Online modules that are devoted to career exploration and preparation will educate students on topics like job fair preparation and networking. These modules will be on a new canvas site that will launch in late fall.

There is also a new UD website containing an explore tool that allows students to enter areas that interest them and be presented with information on degrees that align with those interests.

“It’s a very nice tool for students to explore possible majors and minors,” Guertin said.

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