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New Advising Centers Operating for Undecided or Transitioning Students

Date: Oct. 2, 2001
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos by Andrew Higley
Archive: General News

The University of Cincinnati Department of Educational Services is launching a new initiative this fall to assist undecided majors as well as students who want to transition between academic programs. Four new satellite advising centers are staffed with advisors who have the expertise to review UC's majors and program requirements with students, as well as help them find which programs would be a good match for their interests. Liz Daniel, a third year anthropology major, gets popcorn from academic advisor Paula Breslin during an advising blitz Sept. 27

Individual colleges also have their own advising centers, but for students who were undecided or changing majors, there's never been a centralized system to help them until now. Stanley Henderson, associate vice president for enrollment management, explains the central advising unit was a concept endorsed by the UC Collaboration for Student Success, the provost-led initiative to break down barriers that interfere with student success. The satellite centers are divisions of the central advising unit. Advisors have consistent responsibilities in working with undecided majors, pre-majors and transitioning students. Because the satellite centers are locally placed where the students are, the student no longer has the burden of going from college to college to determine interest and program eligibility.

Ned Donnelly, associate director for the Department of Educational Services, has been coordinating the startup of the satellite advising centers since last year, with funding from UC's Success Challenge grant awarded by the state of Ohio. UC receives approximately four million dollars from the grant each fiscal year.

The statewide Success Challenge initiative targets undecided majors, pre-majors and transitioning students. The Success Challenge-funded programming is based on research that shows those groups are more at risk for dropping out of school or taking longer to graduate.

Henderson explains that graduating in a timely manner has become a challenge for students around the nation as well as at UC. "Students just aren't graduating in four years anymore. About 45 percent of our students graduate with their baccalaureate degree in six years, similar to the average nationally.

" One major cause of delayed graduation is that students are working more hours today than they were years ago. Today, virtually every student has some kind of part-time job. It's hard to carry a full-time credit load and work more than 25 hours a week," Henderson continued. UC freshmen Elisa Greene, left and Lindsay Magliano, center, talk with senior academic advisor Sherry Spokes

Donnelly adds unrealistic expectations can also cause students to spin their wheels, thereby spinning away years of college and tuition without finding a direction. "Maybe they thought they wanted to be a doctor, but found they weren't interested in science, or they thought engineering would be a challenging field, but they weren't up to the math. Unrealistic expectations can leave them disappointed and discouraged." Donnelly says about 45 percent of UC's undergrads are listed as undecided or pre-majors, the majority freshmen and sophomores. "Roughly seven to eight thousand of them are in A&S, Clermont College, Raymond Walters College and University College," says Donnelly.

As the satellite centers get into full swing during the fall quarter, the transition advisors held an advising blitz Sept. 26-27 and are also coordinating the following events to publicize services for students:

  • Exploring Majors Fair - Oct. 16, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Event Pavilion Representatives of UC's undergraduate colleges will provide information on majors, minors, certificate programs, etc. Students will be entered into a drawing for gift certificates from the UC Bookstore.

  • Winter Quarter Advising and Priority Registration - Oct. 22-Nov. 4, at all college/department advising offices Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor and take advantage of Priority Registration for Winter Quarter.

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