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New Undergraduate Advising Center opens

Lamar University’s new Undergraduate Advising Center has opened in a new suite of offices in the Parker Building where advisors are working to help students stay on trackReception area of Undergraduate Advising Center toward their academic and personal goals.

“We’ll be training and transitioning this semester to make sure our advisors are ready to provide proactive advising to all freshman and sophomore students,” said Daniel Bartlett, director of the Undergraduate Advising Center.

Lamar University began preparing for the Undergraduate Advising Center about a year ago with the goal of providing additional support for freshmen and sophomores to better ensure student success. Remodeling of the entire north wing of the Parker Building to house the center was recently completed, and advisors and other staff members moved in last week. The main entrance is across from the Setzer Student Center.

For the start of the Spring 2013 semester, course selection advising is being handled primarily by academic departments, as in past semesters. In the coming months, Bartlett will begin working with advisors on new assignments and appropriate training necessary to give all underclassmen the advising and support they need.

The new Undergraduate Advising Center in the Parker Building includes offices for academic advisors along with a large reception area equipped with television screens to keep waiting students informed about important university, academic and student life information.

To staff the new center, the university reassigned advisors from across campus who worked primarily with freshman and sophomore students. Undergraduate Advising Center staff members include advisors who previously worked in Student Advising and Retention Services (STARS) and in the Center for College Readiness. STARS will continue to provide tutoring, mentoring, academic enhancement and other services, including advising for juniors and seniors on academic probation. The Center for College Readiness will continue to coordinate college readiness courses in math, reading and study skills. The Department of English and Modern Languages will continue to coordinate courses in college readiness writing.

Advising positions from several academic areas also have been reassigned to the Undergraduate Advising Center. However, many academic departments previously used faculty members rather than professional staff to advise freshmen and sophomores as well as juniors and seniors. To meet the need for strong, frequent advising for underclassmen, Bartlett is in the process of hiring a few new advisors for the center.

At the new center, advisors will be assigned by college and, in some cases, by majors within a college. “We want to be consistent about the departments our advisors are representing so they truly understand those departments – the faculty members, the student organizations, the events, the degree plans and courses. That way they can make sure the students they work with gain that familiarity as well,” Bartlett said.

“A student who comes in seeking a relationship with faculty and departments will find it regardless. But many of our students don’t know college. They might not seek those relationships out. These advisors will help facilitate that through proactive advising, reaching out to students and pushing them to get connected to their major, their professors and events in their departments,” Bartlett said. “That’s especially important for freshmen and sophomores who often are not taking a lot of courses in their major yet.”

By the time enrollment for summer and fall begins, Bartlett expects the center to be prepared to assist all freshmen and sophomores with advising needs related to registration and proactive advising moving forward. Advising for juniors, seniors and graduate students will continue to be performed by academic departments.

For more information on the Undergraduate Advising Center, call (409) 880-8822 or (409) 880-8954.