Investing in Your Success

Monday, February 8, 2016

As the Spring semester rolls on, advising is front-and-center for a lot of you. As it turns out, advising is a hot topic of discussion in our offices as well. We have long realized the value of good advising in ensuring your success, so we discussed this with the student advisory board, spent several hours examining what students need, and are rolling out some big changes to further improve advising services for you. We also hope to provide the dedicated team of advisors at UGA the necessary tools and resources to be effective and efficient. I want to share with you some of the key changes we envision for advising in the near future.

We have been working with advisors and administrators across campus to develop a new plan that will restructure advising at UGA. This plan will maintain advising at the school/college level while maximizing the ability of academic advisors to support students’ career aspirations, promote persistence and guide students to four-year degree completion.

To help achieve these goals, we are taking many different steps. One is our plan to develop an “Exploratory Center” for those of you who are undecided about your major. The center will match students with advisors who are trained specifically for helping students find their career and major interests. We believe that these efforts will allow you to make continuous progress in your ultimate majors, even if you are not ready to commit to a specific major in their first few semesters. We also plan to bring together academic and career choices by promoting a close partnership between academic advising, career center services and pre-medical and pre-law advising offices. All of these should help reduce time to your major choice! 

Second, to further enhance and promote advising services at UGA, the Provost approved hiring 25 new advisors in 2014. We are in the process of hiring 10 more advisors this spring to help improve the student-to-advisor ratio at UGA. This is critical to ensure that you get access to the help you need in a timely manner.

Third, we’re looking to assess students’ skills and aspirations to help them identify a major or career path that’s a good fit for them. We also want to ensure that some advisors are specifically trained to help students with particular needs, such as for students who transfer into UGA, or for those who need special accommodations due to disability or for students who wish to switch or add specific majors. In each of these cases, the idea is to better match students to the advisor(s) who are best positioned to help them and to make it possible for students to maintain that relationship as long as possible.

And finally, we are developing or investing in technology that will bring more meaningful and timely information about students to the advisors and faculty, as well as to the students themselves. Advisors will be able to use insights from deep analyses of student, classroom and other sources of data to offer better solutions and help for students.

We are committed to improving advising at UGA. This means we are committing more resources and time for our advisors so that they, in turn, can commit more of their time with students. We’re expanding professional development and training opportunities so that our advisors can stay ahead of best practices, policies and degree structure. We are establishing a career ladder for advisors so that they can be recognized and promoted for their good work. And we’ll be doing more in the future to highlight unique advisor efforts and accomplishments.
While this plan has already begun to roll out, it will take some time to fully implement each of the components. I am excited about the possibilities this creates for both our students and advisors and the impact that it will have on student success.

I am looking forward to the progress we make together.

Rahul Shrivastav
Vice President for Instruction