Friday, February 23, 2018

Proposal of Advising Center and Astronomy Club at SGA

BY BRENDAN HORAN ’21

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Professor of Biology Lisa Foster then met with SGA to discuss the possibility of an Advising Center. Recognizing that first-year advising does not always work well for individual students, she hopes to improve this process and make it more consistent. Through surveys and talking with students on the Subcommittee for Learning Inside and Outside the Classroom, it became evident that once students choose a major they are satis ed with their advisor, but many struggle with pre-major advising. In an attempt to address this issue, a committee of six faculty members met to evaluate how to improve this process, and came to the idea of forming an advising center, which would act as separate but complimentary to the Student Success Program from Career Development.

First-year students would still remain in their seminars and the professors for these courses would still remain their advisors. The center would have faculty members from a wide range of departments, with the idea being to reduce the number of nests from ten to seven. These faculty members would spend four to six hours a week in the center with drop-in hours where students could stop by with questions. These hours, according to Professor Foster, would ensure a holistic, prolonged process to course registration and choosing a major, as opposed to the condensed, overwhelming week prior to course selection The center would also hold various workshops and events geared towards answering questions regarding choosing a major. This would prepare students for future conversations with their major advisors. Professor Foster also proposed bringing in Presidential Fellows from various departments to help with peer advising.

Ultimately, such an advising center would coordinate academic ad- vising but would not take the place of first-year academic advising. It would provide other students with whom to talk if the student is not compatible with their first-year mentor and also would be a safe space to ask questions and bring up concerns one might not feel comfortable discussing with their advisor.

Student mentors at the center would be trained on advising to ensure structure and accurate information, and the seven faculty members would also be trained in order to advise for a variety of departments. This center would be geared not only towards first-years, but to all pre-major students. The general consensus of SGA was that such an advising center would be a good idea and would further improve academic advising at Trinity College.

Jason Deck ’21 and Eugene Miller ’21 met with the Student Government Association (SGA) to discuss their proposal for an Astronomy Club. They argued that there are currently no opportu- nities to stargaze at Trinity College, and that other clubs such as the Physics Club do not encompass the same goals they would like to work towards. Having approached Professor Barbara Walden of the Physics department, they discovered that there are unused telescopes and equipment which they could use that would both reduce their budget as well as help to kick-start the club. Professor Walden agreed to be the advisor for the club should their petition go through. While their initial purpose is geared more towards discussion of astronomical news and on-campus stargazing, they hope to expand to be able to venture out on off-campus excursions. They also hope to reach out to local schools and pique younger students’ curiosity about astronomy, establishing a community outreach component to their club. SGA approved the club.

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