Better connections, better advising
Photo by Jack Looney.
College Advising Seminars (dubbed COLA from their course mnemonic), new this fall, are promoting better connections between incoming students and their faculty advisors. First-year students take COLA seminars in a department that especially interests them; the faculty who teach them also serve as their undergraduate advisors.
“Some of the most meaningful relationships students have with faculty are formed in classroom settings,” says Lori Schuyler, assistant dean of Arts & Sciences. “The idea was to create a classroom environment for students and their faculty advisors to get to know each other. The students who sign up for these courses know they have something in common with their faculty advisor because they are interested in the topic of the course.”
Compared to other first-year advising experiences in which students may interact with faculty advisors only once a semester, COLA students will have weekly access to their advisors in the classroom. This will help students forge better relationships with their advisors, who Schuyler believes will remain a vital academic resource as the students continue their college careers.
COLA instructors were selected based on their experience as faculty advisors and as a result of their participation in focus groups used to develop the program. The dean’s office will expand the program beyond this year’s seven COLA 101 classes by inviting faculty members to propose topics for new COLA courses. The program is funded by private donations, and faculty members who participate are compensated with a modest research account.
Capped at 18 students, the graded, one-credit seminars are offered on a variety of topics, such as Awakening Creative Potential, with Gweneth West, and Paul Freedman’s Watching the Election.