New advising system to provide students with individualized attention

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This college offers five of six institutes.

By Melissa Luna      

Starting this semester, students at this college will be assigned a professional adviser and a faculty adviser according to majors, Joan Tsacalis, director of advising, said in a phone interview Aug. 31.

Professional advisers are divided by institutes, which are grouped by career pathways of similar academic programs, she said.

Faculty advisers include department chairs and full-time faculty.

The institutes specified by the district are business and entrepreneurship, public service, creative communications and art, health and biosciences, advanced manufacturing and logistics, and science and technology.

This college will not offer an institute in advanced manufacturing and logistics.

“We created this system to help identify clear pathways for students more quickly, whether that’d be toward graduation, transferring or changing majors,” Tsacalis said.

Tsacalis was director of freshman advising for the University of Texas at San Antonio for almost 14 years, where she was able to execute the same system.

“At UTSA, it helped the new students get on the right path, and I can see it working for this campus the same way,” she said.

Students should form a positive relationship with their academic adviser, but students can’t get that by seeing a different adviser every time, she said.

Currently, students are seen by advisers on a walk-in basis, limited to who is available rather than who they wish to see.

During the application process, first-time-in-college students selected an institute and were assigned a professional adviser and a faculty adviser through ACES.

Students enrolled prior to this semester also will get assigned advisers.

“Our goal is for every student to have an adviser by the end of the fall,” she said.

Twenty-two advisers have been cross-trained in all majors within each institute in the event a student decides to change majors.

Once all students are assigned, more advisers will be hired according what the budget will allow, Tsacalis said.

For more information on the college institutes, visit

The office of advising and counseling services is on the first floor of Moody Learning Center and is open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday.

Call advising services at 210-486-0334.


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