Advising revamped for freshmen: Construction of Undergraduate Academic Center to begin June
The transition from high school senior to college freshman can be a challenging experience, but Drew Skotak, marketing freshman, said he had a fabulous first semester at Texas State.
“I absolutely loved it,” Skotak said. “I got so connected and met so many great people, both staff and students.”
Skotak attributes the reason for the smooth transition to his academic advisers, even communicating with them during the Winter Break.
Future freshmen may not have the same experience as Skotak. zzAll freshmen advising will move to the Undergraduate Academic Center when it opens January 2013. This is part of the new Personalized Academic and Career Exploration program, or P.A.C.E.
Skotak is not sold on the idea.
“I think it’s better to split it up by major,” Skotak said. “It helps build a bond, especially your freshman year. That’s such an impressionable time. You need to make sure you make that connection.”
Beth Wuest, associate vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, said advising all freshmen under one roof will be beneficial, especially for those who are unsure of what career path they want to pursue.
“These freshmen coming in don’t know what major they should be in,” Wuest said. “It’s to help them really think it through. It’s called ‘exploration’ because it helps students explore that whole process. P.A.C.E. will help them find the right place to be.”
Texas State has a student-to-adviser ratio of about 400:1. University officials plan to use the fee increase approaved by the Texas State University System Board of Regents in November to hire the new advisers — which would translate to an approximately 300:1 student-to-adviser ratio.
Wuest said P.A.C.E. is part of the university’s Quality Enhancement Program needed for accreditation. The program includes freshmen advising, a re-imagining of university seminar and Career Services. The Career Services component of P.A.C.E. will include a mentoring coordinator and 17 advisers to help freshmen determine their goals, Wuest said.
“It’s typical students don’t make it to Career Services until they’re a senior,” Wuest said. “It’s going to get students familiar with these resources a little earlier on.”
P.A.C.E. is one part of Undergraduate Academic Center. The center includes a wing for classrooms, a wing for offices and a guard booth.
The center will be built on the parking lot across from the Evans Liberal Arts Building. Michael Petty, assistant director of facilities planning, said Matthews Street Parking Garage is scheduled to open before construction begins, which should compensate for the loss of parking spots.
“We need to get the buildings as close together as possible, and the only way to do that is to take some of the parking that is closer to inner campus,” Petty said. “It’s unfortunate that we have to sacrifice parking, but our business at the university isn’t in parking. It’s in education.”
Regents of the Texas State University System approved the building in November, and architects have been authorized to proceed with construction drawings. Petty said construction is expected to begin in June, completed by the end of 2012 and open for occupancy for the 2013 spring semester.