By Katy McCourt-Basham | The Spectator
November 9, 2009
On her first week of work, Kate Elias
met more than a few new faces. The College of Arts and Sciences’ new full-time
academic adviser faced a severe advising shortage, in the midst of advising
Suki Kwon’s departure from her advising position in mid
September left many students without advisers, and until now, the chairs of
respective departments picked up the slack to help Kwon’s former advisees while
Dean David Powers and Provost Isiaah Crawford looked for a new adviser.
“Though there was a hiring freeze at the time, we wanted to go forward with
advising,” said Audrey Hudgins, assistant dean of the College of Arts and
Now, the hiring freeze has thawed.
The college chose
Kate Elias—who will help alleviate the workload put on other Seattle U
advisers—from among more than 200 replies to the job posting.
began her advising career while working on her PhD in American history at
Rutgers University, has years of experience.
“I began working as an
adviser for undergraduate students,” Elias said, “and that’s where I fell in
love with a new profession.”
Though Elias finished her studies and got
her PhD, she only pursued work in the advising field—working at Oregon Sate
University and Lynnfield College.
Elias grew up in the Seattle area, and
though she did not attend Seattle U, she has known many people who have attended
“I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time around Seattle
University even though I’ve never been a student here,” Elias said. “When I saw
the posting online, I decided to apply.”
Because of her strong academic
qualifications and extensive advising experience, Hudgins said Elias was a
strong candidate from the get-go.
“We sorted through hundreds of
applications,” said Hudgins, “and there were many very strong candidates. We
eventually brought four to the university to be interviewed and ended up hiring
Though Elias just started her new job this week, she will
begin taking advising appointments as soon as possible. She also has the
difficult task of taking on some of Kwon’s bigger projects.
“Suki has big
shoes to fill,” said Hudgins.
Part of Kwon’s legacy in the college of
arts and sciences is the Academic Advising Support Center, located in the Casey
Hudgins said that the college is hoping to build on the
foundations of this center by possibly reworking the way Arts & Sciences
advising is handled.
The college may be looking to streamline the system
by having students see a professional adviser in their first two years of
study—years that are mostly spent working on Core requirements. In their junior
and senior years, they would then work with faculty advisers in their respective
departments in their junior and senior years.
Hudgins said one of the
benefits of this system would be that it would allow students to work with
advisers more experienced with Core requirements. Faculty advisers usually are
not as focused on the Core as they are on the major classes in their
departments, so students may end up getting more comprehensive advising.
There are many pros and cons as well as much more work to do with advising in
the College of Arts and Sciences.
“Ultimately, we are ahead of where we
were when this all started,” Hudgins said, “No matter what we end up doing, the
goal is to have more advisers providing services to students, whether it be
professional advising like we have in this office, or through faculty advising
in the various departments.”
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