The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) has a new addition that faculty is excited to share with students.
Located on the second floor of CAS1, the old advising studio transformed over the summer into a revolutionary Advising Commons, focused on getting students comfortable with their majors and future careers.
Rick Delvecchio, the director of career development for CAS, was hired by Dean Robert Smart who had a specific goal in mind when he took over as dean. This goal eventually led to the current advising center.
“This is something that we have been working on for about five years but it started with the change in philosophy to integrate academic and career advising together,” Delvecchio said. “As we developed that philosophy, the first thing to grow out of it was the website that we have. This is now the physical space to support that [the website].”
Every faculty member that has been hired under Dean Smart has been equipped with this philosophy and expected to carry it through their teaching Delvecchio said.
The new Advising Commons is based on the 360-degree advising model, designed by Quinnipiac faculty. It is a program that starts freshman year when students have a rough idea of their major. Instead of ending when students graduate, the concept suggests that alumni can return, if they hit a roadblock.
“We use the term 360 to describe our philosophy that it’s a never ending process,” Delvecchio said. “We view it as a lifelong thing, not just when you’re here.”
When a student enters the Advising Commons, there is a small kiosk to the right where students can check-in with their name for a walk-in or scheduled appointment. Beyond that, there are two offices for advisers and a large high-top table in the center of the room. Toward the back of the suite is a bright yellow room with glass doors. This was built with unique intentions.
“The biggest thing about it is that students can come in at any time,” Delvecchio said. “We have the ability for students to make private appointments with us, but the space is available to walk in at any time with a question. We hope that level of accessibility is helpful. The other thing we’ve added to that–to offer a service, but reduce the pressure–is what we call our advising studio hours.”
These “studio hours” are designed for students that are actively looking for a place to work on scheduling, resumes or other technical chores. Faculty will be present if students have questions, or need help along the way, but they don’t have to feel the pressure of an appointment.
According to Jonathan Lee, the director of student advising at CAS, the suite has already been getting a steady flow of traffic.
“On the most basic level–it doesn’t look like it now–but it gets really crowded during class change times,” Lee said. “There’s a lot of chairs and benches out there so people show up thirty minutes before class. I really like that it’s so visible and, hopefully, it’s an inviting space where even if people aren’t planning to come in, they see it.”
The College of Arts and Sciences has a 99.3% success with incorporating students in employment or graduate programs, according to QU.edu. This statistic is held in high regard in both the academic and national realm. According to the CT Post, Quinnipiac is the best university to attend for getting a job.
The faculty at the advising center is looking for ways to conquer the fear that many parents and students share–will the student get a job after graduation?
“With arts and sciences, the process we want them to engage in is to not dive in right away, in terms of career,” Delvecchio said. “We want them to explore academically first and be able to make their choices based on that. If we know that there is a positive outcome, if we’re prepared, then we can take some time to figure ourselves out along the way.”
Lee said in his experience, students have issues understanding the technicalities of their program and the requirements of their major.
“I meet with a lot of students who don’t have a firm framework of how to understand their curricular requirements,” Lee said. “One thing I would hope is that by being so visible is that we can help people be a little bit more independent so they can feel more confident and comfortable with those requirements.”
The advising center’s faculty have been thinking plenty about the remodel, especially in the last two years. Part of the vision was creating a space visually open to students entering CAS and would be a welcoming environment to anyone with a question.
“We want students, now that we’ve got this great resource for them, to engage with it and use it,” Delvecchio said. “We’ve got a number of different programs we’ve put in place, for this semester and this year, to hopefully get them involved with the different training and workshops we’ve got planned.”