Jason Heitz

The Undergraduate Advising Information Center, located in 239 Gaskill Hall, helps direct students to necessary contacts.

Miami University’s Undergraduate Advising Information Center, which opened in August 2008, has seen an increase in usage by students during the October registration period, according to Kim Ernsting, coordinator of advising information.

She said the center is anticipated to have an even larger general increase in usage as students learn about it.

The information center, located in 239 Gaskill Hall, offers students an easy place to go for general advising questions. Students can go to the information center with advising questions that they do not know how to get answers to.

“The Advising Information Center is the place to go when students don’t know who to ask,” Ernsting said.

Ernsting said students use the information center most frequently for general advising questions, such as how to drop and add courses, how to declare a major or for questions about a particular course.

Ernsting added the information center looks to help all undergraduate students and is meant to be just as useful for seniors as it is for first-year students.

Ernsting said the goal of the information center isn’t necessarily to answer students’ questions. If a student has a specific question the information center cannot answer, the center will tell the student who to contact so that the question can be answered.

“The Academic Advising Center is a step in trying to address whatever problem the student is having,” Ernsting said.

Senior Eric Stage said the center will help with scheduling.

“I have had scheduling issues in the past and sometimes it took me a lot of time and effort to solve those problems,” Stage said. “I would have to talk to multiple people before I learned what I needed to do. If the advising center had been around to tell me who I needed to talk to, scheduling would have been much easier.”

Bethany Bowyer, Associated Student Government (ASG) secretary for academic affairs, said the center has solved the advising problems it was supposed to solve.

According to Bowyer, students were having problems finding the right person to go to for advising issues.

She said students now know where to go for advising problems.

Bowyer said ASG remains committed to improving academic advising at Miami. ASG has been working on the advising structure to make academic advising centralized.

Bowyer added that the Undergraduate Academic Advising Council was created earlier this semester for this purpose.

“The advising council has been analyzing the advising issues so that more solutions can be found,” she said.

According to Bowyer, the council features four subcommittees: assessment, policy, technology and adviser training.

“The advising council is having in-depth conversations about what students want out of advising and in what areas undergraduate advising can be improved,” she said.

According to Bowyer, it is very important students’ voices are heard because students sit on the advising council subcommittees.

“The committee is working very hard to ensure students’ academic experiences do not get jeopardized,” Bowyer said.

Both Ernsting and Bowyer said the Undergraduate Advising Information Center has been effective in helping students find answers to their advising problems. They also recognize, however, that more can be done to improve academic advising.

“If we knew all of the problems, we would have solved them by now,” Ernsting said. “It is a process in determining the problems and correcting them.”