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Academic advising search nears its end

Announcement expected in weeks

After going through about 180 applications throughout the summer and the beginning of this semester, a committee for the Academic Advising Program is getting close to selecting the program’s new leader.

Although there is no rigid time line for the hiring for the new associate dean and director for academic advising, committee members said they anticipate the announcement to come within the next few weeks, so that the selected candidate can begin work in the coming months.

The committee was formed at the end of the spring 2010 semester when Carolyn Canon, the previous associate dean and director, announced her plans for retirement on June 1.

Student Body Vice President Holly Boardman said student government has been collaborating with the Academic Advising Program to help give feedback, lower the adviser-to-student ratio and make the program more accessible to students.

Student government distributed a survey to get feedback about advisers and to determine how to make advisers more accessible to students.

“I’m excited to get to know the director,” said Boardman, who serves as the undergraduate student representative on the committee, which also includes 10 faculty members.

“It is necessary that they understand that they are going to affect programs across campus, so they must preserve the integrity of the program.”
Boardman added that she hopes the new director will be able to challenge advisers to train themselves in new ways and bring new ideas and perspectives to the program.

The committee is searching for a candidate who will able to lead the undergraduate advising program for about 14,000 students in the College of Arts and Sciences and represent the program across campus.

“In the grand scheme of things, the search process has not taken that long,” said academic adviser and committee member Andre’ Wesson. “We want to make sure we select the right person, because this position affects large aspects of campus.”

He said he hopes the new associate dean and director will be able to both help in the transition between the directors and tap into the technology-driven aspect of academic advising which is popular among students.

He added that there is no preference between an internal or external candidate.

He said an internal candidate would have a prior knowledge of the working system, while an external candidate would be able to bring a fresh perspective to the position.

Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean of undergraduate education in the College, said the committee is not focusing on whether the candidate is from within or outside the University.

“We live in uncertain times,” she said, “but we are confident that the committee will select a good candidate.”

Owen says that one difficulty in selecting a new leader is that, if they choose to bring in an external candidate, it is hard to arrange for people to move from other job positions and campuses.

Wesson said there has been no decline in the program’s pace of work during the search.

“We do not have time to slow down, so we are constantly moving forward,” Wesson said. “In the meantime we have had Senior Assistant Dean Barbara Stenross serving as interim associate dean. She’s been doing an amazing job.”

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