Student advising gets a powerful boost

There’s a new banner hanging in the College of Mass Communication lobby, encouraging students to “Beat the Blues! See your assigned college adviser for early advising, March 3-21.”

College of Mass Communication Academic Advisers: (Back row l-r) Nancy Stubblefied, Olivia Young, Hattie Traylor (front row l-r) Lucille Wilcox, Gia Jones

College of Mass Communication academic advisers: (back row, left to right) Nancy Stubblefield, Olivia Young and Hattie Traylor (front row, left to right) Lucille Wilcox, Gia Jones

For the college’s academic advisers, Hattie Traylor and Olivia Young, this semester brings a lot of welcome changes. In Spring 2014, Mass Comm hired three new professional advisers – Gia Jones, Nancy Stubblefied and Lucille Wilcox – bringing the total of five for the college.

“Before, Hattie and I have been the only advisers for the whole college,” says Young, whose assignments topped 800 Recording Industry students last year. “Mathematically, there was no way we could get to know students on a level that we wanted to with the workload.”

The hiring of additional advisers coincides with University President Sidney McPhee’s Quest for Student Success initiative, a commitment that focuses on helping students thrive in their chosen professions and in society. Under Goal II, the initiative promises to increase the faculty and staff ratio to improve student academic performance. This prompted a revision in professional advising for the college and a reduction in the number of students assigned to each adviser. The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) suggests a ratio of one adviser per 600 students. McPhee’s initiative would limit an adviser to no more than 500 students.

Traylor, the academic adviser for Journalism and Electronic Media Communication, was assigned just more than 600 students last year. She says that part of the President’s changes will help facilitate a longstanding relationship between the adviser and student. The goal is to guide students as freshmen all the way to post-graduation.

“One of the things we want to make sure of is having consistent advising [for students],” Traylor says. “Things have a tendency to get lost in the shuffle when jumping from one adviser to the next.”

MCSuccessStudents, from freshman to senior, will be divided alphabetically instead of by department (click here for chart http://mtsu.edu/mcadvise/ ). Advisers are cross-trained in all disciplines, so if a student’s assigned professional adviser is unavailable, he or she will still receive timely guidance.

“The idea behind the alphabet is that … students can get the help that they need from all five of us,” Traylor says.

Rebranded the College of Mass Communication Student Success Center, the new team includes the five academic advisers, plus graduation coordinator Janet Billingsley and administrative assistant and public relations/recording industry student Bryan Ros. The Student Success Center’s website is an excellent resource for students wanting updated information on important dates, deadlines and downloadable class forms. Students may book an appointment with his or her academic adviser through Clickbook. Walk-in Wednesdays are from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., no appointment necessary. Students are also encouraged to like the Student Success Center Facebook page at facebook.com/mcadvise and join the Twitter feed @MC_Advise.

The College of Mass Communication Student Success Center is a success, with just one small hurdle to overcome: getting everyone in the same building. Currently, advisers Jones, Stubblefield and Wilcox are in McFarland, while Young and Traylor are in the Mass Comm building.

“But the goal is to have everyone under the same roof by the summer of 2014,” Young says. TLE

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Categories: News, Students

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