A one-year-old student advising center has been a smash success for the College of Biological Sciences, student surveys show, with respondents reporting strong appreciation for a centralized location to receive academic guidance and support.
In fall 2013 CBS innovated a new model for undergraduate advising by opening BASC, the Biology Academic Success Center. The center provides a one-stop-shop location that combines previous Dean’s office and department services.
When surveyed, students graded BASC with flying colors, “strongly agreeing” that BASC provides all of the following: easy access, a welcoming environment, knowledgeable assistance, and excellent follow-up.
“We see and teach a lot of people, but each one is an individual,” said Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs Susan Keen. “If you design the systems well, most people will be able to get what they need, and know where to go if they aren’t in the right place now.”
At BASC, each adviser is assigned to one of the eight CBS majors, and able to provide expert guidance to help students navigate their academic careers. In addition, Dr. Sarah-Kasuga Jenks from Student Health and Counseling Services is on site for students to consult for personal issues, and six peer advisers can answer questions relations to degree completion and general GE requirements.
In its first academic year alone, BASC staff conducted almost 9,500 student advising sessions, an average of about 1.5 annual visits for each of the 6,000 CBS undergraduates. Mandatory advising for incoming students has helped students receive crucial support as they transition to university life, for everything from time and stress management to identifying a major that aligns with their career goals.
“We want to create lifelong learners of biology,” Keen said.