Looking Ahead for Our Students

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Welcome back! As we settle into the routine of the spring semester, I wanted to share information about a few ongoing projects to improve our instructional infrastructure, support and services for students. I will be providing more detailed information about many of these efforts over the next several months, but here are the highlights.

Several technology initiatives are taking the front seat during this semester. First, we will soon be introducing a new online advising tool throughout campus. This will initially launch with a select few offices this semester and will be rolled out campus-wide in the fall. This tool will allow you to interact more frequently and easily with your advisors, and enable you to interact through online messages and reminders. As a result, this tool improves the advisors’ ability to help you complete your degree in a timely manner. And most importantly, this will allow your records to move with you if you change your major and/or college.

Another tool that has recently been launched is the DegreeWorks Plans. This tool allows you and your advisors to plan a four-year program of study instead of planning your classes just one semester at a time. It also allows you to see what additional coursework you might need if you decide to switch your major. We encourage you to use this for another reason—when a large number of students use this tool, it will help us predict the number of seats needed for specific courses and allow us to plan for offering the right number of course sections.

Another student resource in the pilot stage is a new system to interact with service opportunities in the community. This software is currently being customized to support UGA’s experiential learning initiative. Once it is fully operational, this software will provide access to a number of credit-bearing as well as non-credit-bearing student activities, many of which will fulfill your experiential learning requirements. It will also allow us to track your participation in various activities and to generate your experiential learning transcripts. Once the program launches across campus, our students, faculty, staff, and community partners will have unprecedented opportunities for interaction and engagement in Athens and beyond.

Our OVPI Student Advisory Board continues to meet twice a semester to discuss areas of instruction that will improve the academic experience for students. This group has a direct impact on students, from creating the Exploratory Center for academic advising that guides students to selecting the right major and advising intended journalism and business majors, to looking at ways to improve freshman and transfer orientation, and seeking ways to better communicate with students. I am also excited to announce that our OVPI Faculty Advisory Board is getting started in a couple of weeks. We have about 10 faculty in different stages of their careers, representing several schools and colleges, who have agreed to serve on the inaugural advisory board. I look forward to working closely with them to explore ways to support instruction and improve your academic experience at UGA.

The spring semester is also a time when we select the winners of the 2017 Creative Teaching Awards. Stay tuned to see who are our most creative instructors and the innovation they are bringing to our classrooms and students! They may be one of your teachers!

Good luck for this semester, and I hope to see you around campus!


Rahul Shrivastav
Vice President for Instruction