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Initiatives Advising Workshops

The Advising Practicum and the Initiatives advising workshops

The Advising Practicum is a full-day series of workshops and sessions that, during students' first three semesters, begins with the Initiatives advising workshop, held at the opening of advising week. It is designed to help students get the most out of their education by reflecting on their educational experiences and interests and developing a self-directed and personally rewarding course of study. The morning sessions help students to plan an educational trajectory that suits their goals and interests, and to take full advantage of the opportunities and resources available. The afternoon is devoted to activities and discussions that will enable students to explore specific majors, minors, and paths toward careers or future studies.

One of the most important components of the Advising Practicum for first-year and sophomore students is the Initiatives advising workshop. This workshop is an extension of the FYI seminar; students receive a total of 0.25 unit of credit when they participate in the workshops during each of the first three semesters at Beloit. Students who haven’t declared a major area of study by the time of the Advising Practicum during their fourth semester attend a special workshop designed to help them choose a major and develop their academic plans accordingly. 

The workshops provide structured opportunities for students to reflect upon the skills and perspectives they should be developing as students of the liberal arts and as members of local and global communities, and to consider why those skills and perspectives matter and have practical value. They also enable students to identify their strengths, interests, and challenges, to set goals for themselves, and to identify strategies and resources for meeting those goals. In the workshops, students develop an academic plan and consider opportunities for enriching their educational experiences at Beloit, such as study abroad, community-based learning, and Venture Grants, as well as involvement in clubs, organizations, and paraprofessional work on campus.

Students attend the workshops together with the other members of their FYI seminar. Prior to each workshop, they receive a set of questions to which they respond in writing. These responses form the basis for conversations at the workshop. Attending all three workshops makes students eligible to propose a Venture Grant project to be undertaken in the summer following the sophomore year.

Special interest sessions

Based on the interests and goals that they articulate in the Initiatives advising workshop, students identify two special interest sessions that they want to attend. These sessions are directed at helping students make informed, thoughtful decisions about what they’d like to achieve in the years ahead, and to take proactive steps toward reaching their goals. The sessions focus on themes such as:

  • Aspiring beyond Beloit
  • Answering the “So what?” question
  • Finding balance and health
  • Planning your curriculum
  • Making and leveraging connections

Exploring majors and minors

The afternoon of the Advising Practicum is devoted to majors and minors. Departments host discussions and panels that explore such topics as current issues in the field, upcoming course offerings, career and graduate school options, exciting work by current students and alumni, and major-specific educational opportunities, such as options for Liberal Arts in Practice experiences. If students haven’t yet decided on a major or minor, they attend different sessions to learn more about disciplines and interdisciplinary programs that interest them. Faculty in those areas are available to answer questions and help students explore their interests.