A University of Wisconsin Department of International Studies committee is examining changes in academic advising, as well as the organization of faculty in academic services.
The new committee started with the issue of organization within the department after new cuts to Title VI funding from the government that support international studies centers on campuses, which was pointed out by more than 100 faculty members.
Brad Barham, who is chairing the new committee, said the blueprint for the group is to figure out how to handle different governance mechanisms that pertain to issues like how faculty members’ roles play out in academic decisions.
“The committee has three charges, two specific to the governance of the current organization of the Division of International Studies and one which is a broader question that will probably only be better framed by the committee,” he said.
He added the committee will focus mainly on how the university wants to tackle the growing globalization it is a part of and who will head the drive for those strategies they come up with.
He also said the faculty in the committee will evaluate whether the dean of the DIS has too many roles in governing the department, since Barham is the current dean, as well as the director of the International Institute and vice provost for globalization.
As for student involvement, Barham said students would not be able to be on the committee themselves but would have a say when it came to addressing the globalization strategies for the university.
Advising within the College of Letters and Sciences is also experiencing monumental changes, according to adviser Ricardo Court.
“The UW advising community is coming together in an unprecedented way to rationalize student advising and to provide better advising across the College of Letters and Science and across the campus by integrating first year advising, exploration, departmental advising, faculty advising and Career Services for the first time,” he said in an email to The Badger Herald.
He added the first change they implemented was the addition of the first director of campus advising, who will be overseeing all the of the occurring developments.
Although he said the exact nature of the developments are not known at this time, he said students know very little about academic advising on campus beside their own experience or the odd story about a bad advising experience.
He said students could play a larger role in impacting advising if they learned more about the subject, and the International Studies department will try to combat the scattered stories of bad advising in order to get students more involved with their advisers.
Court added the International Studies department believes they are offering a novel approach to the undergraduate experience and welcome a broader audience in the process of these changes.
“Leaving aside anecdotal accounts of ‘bad’ advising, we are very much looking to engage on the subject of just what constitutes ‘good’ advising, how students should be forming their expectations and how they should be thinking about what is expected of them,” Court said.
In an earlier version of this story, a false connection was drawn between the department’s advising changes and formation of the committee due to a reporting error. We regret the error.