This week’s Student Government Association meeting proved highly productive as senators approved two bills and were updated on current academic advising matters.
Lisa Israel, Director of Academic Advising and Support, addressed SGA about the academic advising department and its role in student retention and success.
“Advising here at SLU is decentralized,” stated Israel. “We have eleven offices, both primary and secondary, that work in different schools and colleges to better serve students in the advising process.”
Israel explained this decentralized advising department model to senate and the department’s desire to get the advisee to advisor ratio down to the national standard. She stated that the Student Success Center has hired 65 percent of their staff in just the last year, both filling vacant positions and creating new ones.
She stated that research has shown an appropriate academic advisor-to-advisee ratio to be 300 to one, and that the medical school was over this ratio last fall with an approximate 440 to one ratio. With new funding, however, they were able to hire two new advisors and lower this ratio to 255 to one.
The department’s new focus is on the Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, as their ratio is about 48 students too many per advisor. Israel informed SGA, however, that Academic Advising and Support was anticipating this issue and has already requested for the appropriate funding for this advising department.
Further issues addressed at the meeting included the academic advisor turnover rate, after senates expressed concern towards the amount of advisors that a student might go through during their four years at SLU. Israel expressed sympathy over this issue that students might experience, and said that SLU is looking at many different options that will hopefully appeal to future advisors and increase their retention rate.
SGA then addressed and passed two different senate bills. The first looked to seat and confirm the 2013-2014 members of the Upperclassmen Scholarship Selection Committee, while the second created a task force that will investigate and discuss the optimal restructuring of SGA.
To conclude the meeting, SGA President Vidur Sharma addresses the senates in his State of the Association Address.
“This year is a time of transition for the University. I have a very positive outlook and am excited for what we will be able to do for the University, and hopefully you do too,” he said. “So SGA, let’s improve the SLU experience and do our part in advancing the University this year.”