Fifteen advising positions were implemented at the University of Wisconsin last week with Madison Initiative for Undergraduates funding intended to combat advising problems.
Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning Aaron Brower said MIU put aside $1.5 million strictly for advising concerns. The academic and career advising positions, he said, fulfilled just one of four major recommendations developed to benefit advising efforts.
The other recommendations are centralized advising to better coordinate across campus, more web presence for higher accessibility and better training, oversight, development and assessment of advisers, Brower said.
The initiative itself began three years ago and uses a supplemental tuition charge to improve campus services while also expanding the amount of need-based aid available.
The surcharge created roughly $40 million and over the past two years, students and faculty have been reviewing proposals on how to spend the money.
Through these proposals, the MIU Oversight Committee was able to put aside the $1.5 million for advising. Last year, Brower said, another group put together recommendations on how this money was to be spent – one of the ways of which was to hire 25 new advisers.
Brower said a wide array of students brought up advising concerns, making it an area of importance for MIU.
Many concerns students have with advising stem from a decentralized system, according to Associated Students of Madison Rep. Tom Templeton, who is also a member of the MIU Oversight Committee.
“I think some of the issues surrounding advising were that there were not enough advisers available to meet the needs of students, and it was a very decentralized system with little to no cross campus standards,” Templeton said in an email to The Badger Herald.
One of these issues included receiving different information whenever students met with different advisers, Templeton said.
Brower said the committee decided which areas the advisers would go to through another proposals process, focusing on proposals addressing advising in new ways.
He emphasized the majority of the positions given out are to general areas instead of specific departments.
The advisers hired also needed to have an innovative approach to their profession, Brower said.
“A large criteria [for these advisers] was thinking about advising in new ways and not a one-size-fits-all approach, but looking at different needs different students have and developing models,” Brower said.
Templeton said these new approaches to advising and a shared notes program will help reduce communication errors for students, if not eliminate them entirely.
The 15 created positions stretch across academic areas from all of the UW campus. Eight additional positions were previously awarded outside of this process, and two have been allocated but will not be filled until a director of advising is hired, said the statement.
Brower said he was glad to see MIU directly benefit students through advising services.
“From my perspective, advising has been an issue most students have complained about,” Brower said. “So it’s very rewarding to know we can put so much new attention and resources towards it.”