University advisers counsel task forces in first town meeting

by Matt Graham

Instead of guiding students, about 60 advisers made suggestions to task forces Friday at the first “town meeting” on strategic positioning.

The Academic Advising Network and the academic task forces for undergraduate reform in student support and writing held the meeting.

University officials are planning town meetings to hear specifically from students in November, said Kate Maple, assistant dean at the College of Human Ecology and co-chair woman of the student support task force.

Task force members spent the bulk of the meeting taking suggestions from advisers about possible improvements to the way the University conducts its writing programs.

The task forces took suggestions in preparation for their Dec. 10 deadline to report potential changes to writing programs and student support to President Bob Bruininks, said Laura Gurak, professor of rhetoric and co-chairwoman for the task force on writing.

Advisers’ suggestions ranged from the question of “How to teach grace in writing?” to calling for a greater integration of freshman composition into later writing classes.

Advisers also wanted more support for English as a second language students, increased instruction on formal versus informal writing and increased student training in the editing and revision processes.

Advisers were nearly universal in calling for an improved adviser-to-student ratio and a course to teach students how to better use advisers as a means to improve the student-adviser relationship at the University.

Carl Brandt, director of the Career and Community Learning Center and a member of the student support task force, called advising “the most under-appreciated part of a college campus.”

Minnesota Student Association President Emily Serafy Cox attended the meeting to prepare for MSA’s meeting with the student support task force Tuesday.

She said she was happy to see the task forces are looking for input, but she is eager to see the November student town meetings.

The same task forces will have a town meeting with the Career Development Network from 9 to 10 a.m. today in room 140 at the Nolte Center for Continuing Education. The meeting is open to the public.