Student Government discusses advising with administrators

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Interim Assistant Provost of University College addressed students government Thursday about move-in weekend and student advising. Photo by Alec Kasper-Olson.

SCSU Student Government started Thursday night’s meeting with an address by Adam Klepetar, interim assistant provost of University College, and Michael Sharp, administrative director of the Advising Center.

Klepetar has worked at SCSU for 15 years, but is new to his current position. Much of what Klepetar does in his current role deals with first year transition.

He came to the meeting to introduce himself, he said, and to talk about the participation levels during the Huskies First Four days—the new orientation process introduced this fall.

“We had over 1,700 students swipe into orientation this year,” he told members of student government. “There were about 1,800 new entering first-year students.”

Thursday, 628 students participated in the welcome picnic at SCSU, he said. The next day, about 1,300 students attended the academic orientation event that placed students by major and department, and 1,000 that went to Halenbeck After Dark that evening, he said.

Klepetar said he led an “SCSU 101” orientation Saturday that saw 1,100 students between the two sessions.

He said 200 helped with service projects, packing food and making tie-dyed blankets. Then on Sunday, there was a condensed program for student veterans, parents and adult learners, which 53 people attended. Three years ago, a similar program attracted only three students.

The ice cream social on Sunday evening hosted about 1,600 people, Klepetar said before giving the podium over to Sharp.

Taking the stand, Sharp began with the summer programs put in place by the Advising Center. He explained that the center made assignments for advising day. That way, when students came to campus, they met their adviser, but also continued contact throughout the summer.

“We see that as a value added for our first-year students,” Sharp said, but mentioned there were some difficulties coordinating with transfer students in the summer.

“Students that come to an early advising day in May or June are better prepared and more successful students than those that don’t get here until August,” he told Student Government.

When they found that early advising played into student success, they introduced a pilot program to give students another layer of academic support, including academic coaches, he explained.

Another pilot project is intended major academic support. For students that haven’t declared a major yet or aren’t accepted into the program, they are given an extra set of tools. They’re able to see how they’re doing in their general education classes, and what they need for their intended major.

“They can see what’s needed for their intended major, so that they can see what that looks like for better long-term planning,” he explained.

Lastly, he said the advising center is seeing an increase in transfer students uses the online advising program.

“We are going to continue to try and think about ways to reach transfer students through our online program, and to give them that personal connection we offer to other students,” he said, stepping down and giving Klepetar the podium.

Klepetar told Student Government that the MAP-Works survey comes out Monday, or on Wednesday at latest, then gave a break down for the last fall transition survey.

He said that 82 percent of first-year students responded to the fall transition survey last year, and 34 percent of sophomores, 25 juniors and 20 seniors.

“We’re talking about over 5,000 students responding to the survey,” he said, which is just under 35 percent of the total student population in fall 2014.

After Klepetar ended, the meeting went into discussion.

Senator-at-large Andrea Bryson told Klepetar that having a complete four-year layout of a student’s major would provide clarity.

Then, College Senator Brandon Mitchell held up his four-year plan that engineering majors receive, saying it’s “rough.”

“It doesn’t layout prerequisites very well, which would be nice,” he said, “but it does show what I would need to get my degree.”

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Moving into discussion, student government senators made comments and suggestions for student advising. Photo by Alec Kasper-Olson.

Klepetar responded, saying every major does have a four-year plan: the degree audit report (DARS), which doesn’t outline major classes until they’re admitted. He said there’s a group working on a pilot program to turn the DARS on for all students.

“There’s a lot of work ahead of us as we try to customize our advising tools for students, regardless of where they are,” he said.

Sharp said that’s one of the challenges advising faces. Although there are dynamic tools out there, he said, it’s pinning down what’s going to work for SCSU students.

College Senator Devin Gloe said he’s heard that advisers in the business school who are also professors “aren’t really focused on the students as much,” resulting in missed courses. He said that expanding the pre-business advising or having more advisers may benefit students.

Klepetar said a few years ago that they tried to give priority registration to any student, but few showed. He said that about half of the students register after their registration window has been opened for some time, rather than waiting at the gate to register.

“That doesn’t seem to be our culture,” he said.

Klepetar continued, saying that one of his goals for advising this year is to extend the hours of the advising center to accommodate more students.

He said they saw about 400 students before the first week of classes, and to help to curve advising appointments during the first week of classes, they were moved back.

Klepetar and Sharp took further questions about advising from student government, before moving to internal elections.

Jordan Kennedy, a nursing major, worked with internal affairs at St. Scholastica, where he spent three semesters before transferring to SCSU. He was hired as a student senator. Babita Khadk, an accounting major, was hired onto the Senate Finance Committee. Wanda Overland was selected as the student government adviser.

The meeting followed with approving a $2,700 request for a culture night, which will cover food and decorations for the event.