New advising center to aid Arts and Sciences students

Pat Dunn

A new academic advisement system for first-year Arts and Sciences students with undeclared majors will be implemented next fall. The Office of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, working with the Student Government Association, is establishing the new program to give students more guidance in creating an academic plan for their four years at Villanova.

“The idea of this program is to have an advisor who will give you more than just your pin number,” said Julie Michael, the academic affairs chair of the SGA. “We are specifically choosing advisors who are willing to make the extra effort to contact their students.”

Arts and Sciences professors who are interested in being advisors have already applied for these mentor positions and will be trained during the summer. Ultimately, faculty mentors will be selected by a combination of input from administration, the SGA and an e-mail survey that will be sent to students. This survey will attempt to assess student opinions about mentors, and the SGA is hoping for a large response.

The new advisement program will be run by Dr. Nancy Kelley, who will be assisted by a full-time assistant director, an administrative assistant secretary and a graduate student.

“I envision the program working closely with individual students to help them design educational plans for their four years at Villanova,” said Kelley. “I want students to explore and gain their fullest intellectual and personal development from [their] time here. I believe that is most effectively done through numerous conversations with committed faculty and peer mentors.”

The peer mentor program, called PALAS (Peer Advisors for the Liberal Arts and Sciences), is another facet of the new advisement plans. This spring, Arts and Sciences sophomores and juniors in good academic standing and representing all majors in the college, will be invited to apply to participate in this program. These PALAS advisors will be trained at the end of the summer, along with other peer advisors from the Colleges of Engineering and possibly Commerce and Finance.

Peer advisors will not necessarily be assigned to specific students, but instead, will hold office hours and be available for appointments and walk-in questions.

“An interesting thing that the peer advisors will be doing over the summer is calling all of the incoming freshmen with undecided majors,” said Michael. “We are hoping this will open a doorway for the new students to come in and discover the new advising center.” This new advising center will be located in the St. Augustine Center, in Suite 451 and will be designed and built over the summer.

The program will also have a website with information, helpful links to support services and a 24-hour panic button to send any questions dealing with academics.