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New advising program at Beloit College catching the attention of national press, students

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day-long series on March 21 urges students to “Be Advised”  

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Following the success of the first-ever Advising Practicum last fall, Beloit College is gearing up to hold its next Practicum on Wednesday, March 21.

Beloit has always been adept at advising students, but over the past year and with new graduation requirements, the college is aiming to make the advising process even more comprehensive, intentional and measurable.

Enter Advising Practicum, a biannual event in a five-year pilot program for students, which preempts classes for an entire day prior to advising week. The goal is to help students step back, reflect on their interests, and start planning early to get the most out of their education.

During the day, first- and second-year students participate in special advising sessions, and all students are invited to attend concurrent workshops on topics ranging from time management to dealing with stress to deciding whether graduate school is right for them. Topics and titles for the day ran the gamut from “So you think study abroad isn’t for you? Think again” to “Fact: Liberal arts graduates can get jobs.” But all had a shared aim – of helping students think about how their Beloit experiences are preparing them for their futures.

Promotional materials for the first Practicum urged students to “Be Advised,” and in an op-ed column in the student newspaper, the Round Table, Natalie Gummer, associate professor of religious studies and co-organizer of the program, encouraged students to “take advice from your future self” and attend the inaugural event. Apparently, they were paying attention, since hundreds of students attended the more than 150 available sessions. Seats were filled and snack tables picked clean, say organizers. The whole affair even got a glowing shout-out in the student newspaper the following week.

Advising Practicum has even garnered Beloit national publicity with both The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Education taking notice of Beloit’s reinvigorated focus on advising. In The Chronicle, Jennifer Joslin, president of the National Academic Advising Association and director of the University of Oregon’s office of academic advising, commended Beloit for “taking a fresh look at advising—how it’s done, how its effectiveness is measured, and how it should be evaluated when it comes to pre-tenured faculty.” Joslin said, “We all need to think about advising in a more complex way.”

For more information on Advising Practicum, contact co-director of first- and second-year programs Natalie Gummer at 608-363-2346.