Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Advising workshops need focus

The lack of uniformity among the Columbian School’s freshman advising workshops surfaced among the concerns students voiced at a recent Student Association town hall meeting.

“I get constituents all the time that tell me weird stories about freshmen advising workshops and I’d like to do what I can to help change this,” said SA undergraduate Sen. Jason Haber (CSAS).

Haber said he feels a lack of communication exists among the faculty and staff who run the workshops, and that the workshops’ curricula lack uniformity.

“Why is it that person A can write a 10-page paper, person B can bake cookies and person C can get a tour of the library and learn about the city?” he said.

Administrators and faculty members say the purpose of the freshman advising workshops is to introduce students to the University and the city during their first semester at GW.

“It’s a welcome mat in a way,” said chemistry Professor Michael Wagner, who is the faculty adviser for one of the workshops. “Basic questions that a lot of people will come across in their four years here are answered in the first three months.”

James L. Fry, coordinator of freshman advising services, said few students have approached him with concerns about the program.

“If anybody has questions or concerns, I think we’re pretty accommodating in pretty much all cases,” Fry said.

His office has distributed evaluation sheets to each of the workshops, but the results of the evaluation have not been compiled and tallied. Fry said he has not yet received a summary of last month’s town hall meeting, which he requested.

“We discussed advising at the town hall meeting, and it seemed that people felt that peer advising is much more successful than faculty advising,” said undergraduate Sen. Carrie Potter (at large).

“We give everyone guidelines on standardized curriculum to follow but we don’t specifically instruct people how they should go about implementing those guidelines,” Fry said.

“Different faculty and staff members who are running the workshops try to implement the curriculum in different ways and some folks assign things to be done outside of class and some try to do it in class,” Fry said.

Haber concedes that workshop advisers genuinely want to help their students.

“I think there needs to be more communication among all freshman advising workshop teachers,” Haber said. “Hopefully the academic affairs people will be interested in looking into this issue. I hope it’s high on their agenda.”

“When we first started the program, we dealt with student life issues as well as academic advising issues, and we find that student life issues were being pretty much addressed during Colonial Inauguration.” Fry said. He said he hopes to narrow the focus of the workshops.

“The one where they’re baking cookies, I’d be real interested to know more about that one,” Fry said with a laugh.

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