The Associated Students of Madison Advising Campaign announced several new initiatives Wednesday to improve accountability and student-administration cooperation in advising at UW Madison.
The campaign plans to further its student influence after successfully lobbying for a change in the UW DARS reports that will be in effect as of Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Scott Spector, coordinator of ASM’s Advising Campaign, outlined the campaign goals and reinforced the ASM mission to encourage a coalition of students and administration.
“We have a positive, proactive vision,” Spector said. “Our mission is very clear: advising services on this campus need to be more accountable to freshman and new students.”
Several student campaign members and volunteers offered recommendations to the university advising services and supplied anecdotes of both positive and negative advising experiences.
Lisa Streit, ASM intern with Coalition of Letters and Science, emphasized a hope for a positive and interactive campus community.
“What we are trying to do is move beyond complaining and blaming,” Streit said. “This campaign is focused on making proactive options available to students who want better advising.”
UW student Erica Brinkley spoke of frustration with advising. Initially she was unable to meet face-to-face with her advisor, and later she was confused after a mid-semester change in advisors.
On the other hand, UW sophomore Elizabeth Stinebaugh had a very positive advising experience. A triple-major in history, international relations and Spanish with the Honors College, Stinebaugh receives personal attention and shares a sort of friendship with her advisors.
She said she recognizes that her experience is likely a result of being a part of the small Honors College, but she wishes that all students might have access to such assistance.
“Our plan is to urge Chancellor Wiley to allocate funds for advising so that all the students on campus can have such wonderful advising services,” Stinebaugh said.
Christine Rowlette, a freshman on the advising campaign, outlined a petition designed by ASM to bring about the chancellor’s attention.
“We have developed a petition that we will have available during our tabling hours for students to sign, articulating their agreement that better, more available advisors are needed,” Rowlette said.
To encourage student action, the campaign will be holding tabling sessions to recruit petitioners at Gordon Commons, Chadbourne Residential College and Holt Commons starting next week.
In addition, an e-mail survey will be sent to freshman focusing on advising issues sometime in the next week. Results from the survey will be used to help Cross-College Advising and the College of Letters and Sciences advise in a more efficient manner.
Kay Simmons, assistant dean in L&S and coordinator for the advising programs, will be working with ASM’s campaign. Kay proposed that a delay in the tabling might yield better results because freshmen do not register until late November and early December.
She also noted that though Academic Affairs offers many advising services to freshman when they arrive on campus, the student is equally responsible.
“It depends on the student taking initiative to get in touch with their advisor,” Kay said. “But students need to be better educated.”
ASM is concerned with the welfare of UW students. Insufficient advising during one’s freshman year often leads to a delay in fulfilling breadth requirements, declaring a major and, ultimately, extended and expensive time at the university.
ASM’s advising campaign hopes to improve this situation by encouraging Chancellor Wiley to allocate funds for this purpose.
“There are caring, helpful and well-respected advisors on campus,” Streit said.
At the press conference most seemed to agree there are simply not enough of them.