Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October ACA General Meeting

Thanks to the School of Undergraduate Studies for sponsoring the October meeting!

Dean Brett Iverson, Dean of School of Undergraduate Studies kicked off the October meeting to discuss two problems that the UT community is working to solve: 1) choice of major and availability of major, and 2) erosion of the core curriculum.

Problem 1: Choice of Major and Availability

This problem is created because most 18 year olds do not know what they want to study, too many students initially choose from a handful of majors (top five majors: computer engineering, biology, business, computer science, economics), and students choose a major before they have even heard of what UT has to offer.

UGS Fact: 1 major, 1 minor or 1 certificate combo = over 10,900 possibilities

Problem 2: Erosion of the Core Curriculum

UGS was created to protect the core curriculum which in turn was created to provide educational breadth to degree requirements. With the increase of dual credit programs statewide, the state mandate to accept AP scores of 3 or higher, and the 2.5 week intersession courses that transfer as 3 credit hour equivalents, Dean Iverson believes students are left with the impression that the core curriculum is not that important. (ex: The Gutting of Gen Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2015)

UGS Fact: 40% of core hours were completed non-residence by 2016 FTIC grads (transfer students not included); 18% credit-by-exam, 21% transfer courses

According to Dean Iverson, UT is addressing these problems with the help of Undergraduate Studies. The signature courses, curriculum reform with the core curriculum flags (2752 different courses have flags), unique programs such as the Discovery Scholars Program and the Bridging Disciplines Program, and the Vick Center for Strategic Advising and Career Counseling are all ways of helping students to find their path and maintain the integrity of general education requirements.

Dean Iverson thanked the Undergraduate Studies staff for their hard work and asked ACA to continue to refer students to utilize these excellent resources.

UTeach Urban Teachers (UTUT) - Alina Pruitt & Tiye Cort, Doctoral students with the College of Education in Language and Literacy Studies

UT Urban Teachers is a Texas teacher certification program for UT undergraduate and graduate students focusing on the skill-set needed to help English and social studies educators thrive in the context of urban classrooms, grades 7-12. Please enjoy this awesome video about the program: https://vimeo.com/72717763

Alina and Tiye invited an undergraduate and graduate student to discuss their experience:
Alex Felan
  • Alex Felan, a senior history major with the undergraduate certification program, saw UTeach Urban Teachers as a way to get involved and found that the program fulfilled a call to service. At age 41 and a transfer student, Alex felt that the program provided new perspectives on education. He asked ACA to recommend UTUT to other transfer students who might not know that a program like his one exists. 
  • Kent Coupe
  • Kent CoupĂ©, a graduate student seeking a M. Ed with secondary certification in social studies, sought out the program because it marries theory and classroom practice. He taught briefly in an urban classroom before enrolling in the UTUT program. He discovered a passion for instruction, but his experience in the classroom revealed a need for a deeper understanding of theory.
The ROAD Committee held an event with UTeach Urban Teachers called ROAD to Urban Schools: Preparing Teachers for Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Communities on Thursday, October 13.

ACA Updates:

Congratulations, Ana!
Anne Pugh, ACA Secretary: Presented a special election for the open President-Elect ACA executive board position. Ana Dison ran unopposed and after an excellent speech was confirmed as President-Elect of ACA for the 2016-2017 year. 

Josh Barham: A request on behalf of the ROAD Committee to please respond to ROAD survey with your ideas for professional development events: respond here.

Tepera Holman: ACA Awards and Recognition Committee is working on NACADA awards for Spring 2017. Please look for an e-mail from the committee and think about who you may like to nominate.

Thank you for sharing, Lovelys!
Lovelys Powell: Provided a brief but spectacular story about how the ACA Argosy was named. Lovelys once lived in an apartment complex called The Argosy, which means a grand ship traveling through the ocean. It was his fellow ACA historian that suggested ACA name their new newsletter The Argosy to represent the role of advising professionals on campus.

Vicki Packheiser, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Social Work, “From Surviving to Thriving: Developing Professional Resilience in Challenging Times”

Vicki provided three tools/tricks for all of us to develop a greater sense of professional resilience.
  1. Claim the day to prevent “work trance”
    • Vicki's tip: Within 2 minutes of arriving at work, do something that connects you to why it is that you do this work (ex. a picture or a motto). This will allow you to be more focused.
  2. Use your legacy as a compass 
    • Vicki's Tip: Ask yourself "what do you want your gift to this University to be?" and use this as a guiding principle. This aim will allow you to notice gradual progress toward your overarching work goals.
  3. Practice positivity
    • Vicki's Tip: Random acts of kindness, gratitude letters, and visits with coworkers are all excellent ways to practice positivity in your work life. It is possible to set aside 10-15 minutes most days to learn something about professional resilience. Consider conducting independent  research about time management, stress management, etc. and share it with others in your office or ACA!

So many Kudos! You can find them on our website: ACA KUDOS!

We are bringing back ACA Member Spotlights and doing a spotlight or two during each meeting. This month we met a seasoned advising pro (Meet Shirley!).

We want to continue to spotlight members from across Colleges, across positions, and across lengths of experience at UT Austin. Please consider nominating someone to spotlight.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, November 9