SGA creates focus groups to improve advising

Tyler Wann

The Student Government Association has partnered with the Student Success Center to create advising focus groups in order to gather data for the new director of advising, Missy Hernandez, according to student senator Brianna Daniel-Harkins.

Daniel-Harkins said that she, along with student senators Rebekah Vensel and Casey Grant, will be seeking out both upperclassmen and freshman to anonymously answer questions regarding their experiences with advising at Loyola.

Daniel-Harkins said that the most important focus during this project is anonymity.

“We are not going to record who comes. No one will be able to identify them. We’re going to put a recorder on the table and ask them questions regarding their advising experience,” said Daniel-Harkins. “We are doing as much as we can to protect students to where we make sure we get accurate, honest information to where Dr. Hernandez can move forward in her position with the most knowledge possible.”

During a university senate meeting when Interim Provost David Borofsky heard the amount of feedback regarding what could be changed with regards to advising, he suggested the idea of creating focus groups to the Student Success Center, according to Daniel-Harkins.

Because of this suggestion, the Student Success Center commissioned the three student senators to carry out the task with each student senator taking different colleges, said Daniel-Harkins.

Vensel, who is senator of the College of Music and Fine Arts, noted the difference in the advising experiences of the colleges, and the importance of handling them differently. According to Vensel, many music majors, including herself, end up receiving guidance from multiple advisors.

The SGA and the Student Success Center want to change this because of the possibility of multiple advisors fostering miscommunication and causing confusion among the students who end up receiving different advice from different professors, according to Vensel. She said that they hope the data gathered from these sessions will help streamline the process and make it less confusing and more helpful for students.

“I emailed all of the department heads and asked for student recommendations,” Daniel-Harkins said.

Daniel-Harkins said that the feedback will come from a variety of students, since the students will be recommended by professors.

Vensel said the Student Success Center worked to complete the process before Mardis Gras. She also said that most of the emails were sent out to the recommended students, and that those who decide to participate by following the instructions on the email were treated with free food for helping shed light on the complications of academic advising. SGA and the Student Success Center are working to uncomplicate the process.