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College implements new advising system

Alicia Smith | Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saint Mary’s College installed a new advising system for the 2009-2010 school year, helping students to make academic and career decisions by asking them questions.

The students answer questions such as “Who am I?” “What is my passion?” “To what am I called?” and “How can I make a positive difference in the world?” to discover more about their hopes for the future.

“On my very first day here, I looked at the possibility of creating a more robust advising system for students that included what the career center had to offer, but started much earlier,” Patricia Fleming, senior vice president and dean of faculty, said.

The system will be run as a collaborative program through the Department of missions, the academic department and the Department of Student Affairs.

“Advising no longer just takes place in our Academic Advising Office and in the departments. Advising, because we we’re enlarging our vision of what kinds of questions students here at Saint Mary’s could ask while they are here for their four years, really needs to have this cooperation among these three divisions,” Fleming continued.

First-year students have the option to participate in the First Year Faculty Advising Program. This program assigns faculty advisors to freshmen to help them think about their futures, Fleming said.

Underclassmen will also be assigned seniors to act as their peer mentors, she said.

“They were training since the beginning of last week,” Fleming said. “They have been in training sessions for quite some time, learning all kinds of things, including more about the heritage of Saint Mary’s College.”

The ePortfolio System, designed to give St. Mary’s students the opportunity to share information with their advisors, is still being tested.

Another feature is the Strength Quest Test, which helps students discover their aptitudes. Open to all students, it can be taken in the Career Crossings Office.

The new system is also designed to help students find internships.

“Internships have become very important. Internships can be very key if they occur in either the sophomore or junior summer in helping students to understand how they can make a difference in the world and where their passions lie,” Fleming said.

Students will also have the opportunity to learn how they can work for social justice.

The Career Crossings Office plans to host a career information session where students and Indiana employers can meet.

The program is funded by the College, as well as through the Lilly Foundation.