Spotlight On

Ken Baron, Director of Academic & Pre-Professional Advising, Enrollment Management
Now that SA has enabled faculty and staff to successfully advise and register thousands of new and existing UMBC students, we are very excited about releasing the next set of system upgrades designed to enhance the quality and delivery of academic advising even further.  Our new "AdvisingCenter" offers the availability of one centralized location to launch all advising activities.  Within the Advising Center advisors can provide advising clearances; view student schedules; view a student's unofficial transcript; view a student's advising profile; search for courses within the schedule of classes; generate a degree audit report, and access several other reports and features.  The enhanced degree audit report not only assesses the completion of General Education requirements, but other graduation requirements as well - including upper division credit totals and (by the end of the Fall 2009 semester) major and minor requirements. Moreover, our expanded electronic advising note functionality now enables advisors to systematically record advising notes and comments within various guided formats - ensuring clarity and accountability for each advising session. 

Indeed, all of these new and existing SA tools and features have the capacity to transform the nature of academic advising at UMBC.  Moving forward, my vision of advising for the campus includes the "liberation" of advisors from the clerical, drudgery of the past.   In many ways, SA can and will deliver precious time back to advisors to spend with students on more educational matters  - including: opportunities for research within their department; study abroad, internship & experiential learning options;  graduate & professional school planning; consideration of prestigious scholarship candidacy; and preparation for various career tracks after graduation.  Good academic advising includes a lot more than just registering students in open courses for the next semester. So far SA has been conduit for positive change in academic advising at UMBC and I encourage those charged with advising responsibilities to embrace these new tools as well as the opportunity we all now have to practice academic advising in a manner befitting our reputation as an innovative, research institution.