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SGA introduces advising reform bill

On Wednesday, the Student Government Association Senate introduced an academic advising bill that calls for the University to lower its advisor to student ratio and add requirements to ensure students have access and are receiving quality advising.

Introduced by Executive Members Joshua Freed and Charlotte Christian and Senators Clint Kirchhoff and Enrique Martinez, SGAB-51004 Informed Advising Act states that in five years, UH will lower the advisor-student ratio from 381-1 to 250-1. The decrease would move UH towards the National Academic Advising Association recommendation.

“As we try to move towards Tier One status, which for me is becoming a member of the Association of American Universities, it’s imperative that we meet the NACADA recommendations,” SGA President Charles Haston said.

Senator Martinez wants to look at individual colleges and programs to analyze advisor-student ratios in addition to viewing the campus-wide ratio.

“Looking at averages can be deceiving,” Martinez said. “The College of Natural Science and Mathematics is looking at a ratio of 500-1 and 600-1 in specific degrees, like biology.”

The bill also requires advising holds for students at 30, 60 and 90 hours, a mandatory survey to be taken after each mandatory advising session, advisors to keep a profile on all students to track progress and college websites to have up-to-date information on course listing as well as an easy way to sign up for advising appointments.

Haston said there isn’t a way to quantify the success of advising currently and hopes that the surveys, which will be organized by the Provost’s office, will give additional insight into areas of improvement.

“We want to be able to break down the data by the college and the specific advisor,” Haston said.

In 2013, UH raised its tuition rates in part to hire more advisors in order to meet NACADA recommendations. SGA met with Provost Paula Short, Vice Provost Teri Longacre and Vice Provost and Dmitri Litvinov to discuss SGAB-51004 before introducing the bill to the Senate.

“I get more emails about advising than just about any other topic,” Haston said. “We want the administration to know that this is an issue students really care about.”

The bill is currently in the Academic Affairs committee where it will await action when the administration meets in the Fall semester.

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