Monday, March 27, 2017

ACA General Meeting March 2017

Special Thanks to Student Success Initiatives for sponsoring the March 2017 meeting and for beginning the meeting with helpful reminders as graduation approaches.

Student Success Initiatives with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost
Cassandre Alvarado, Director of Special Initiatives in Enrollment and Graduation Management; Kathy Uitvlugt, Program Manager; and Carolyn Connerat, Associate Vice Provost

Cassandre Alvarado provided the most up-to-date information on the spring/summer 2017 graduating class and their projected 4 year graduation rate. As a reminder, the 4 year graduation rate landed just short of the 70% 4-year graduation rate goal in 2016. 60.9% 61% (rounding up is more fun) of spring/summer 2016 graduates completed their degree(s) in 4 years.

UT Austin is moving toward the 70% 4-year graduation rate goal for class of 2017. This goal is possible because the 4.5 year graduation projection is 70.3%. Cassandre provided the following breakdown at the meeting:
  • 657 students already graduated - early grad (2017 class) 
  • 2,789 students 100% PTD 
  • 899 - 97-99% complete 
  • 466 - 94-96% 
  • 250- 92-93% 
If all of these students below 100% PTD are brought over the finish line, SSI projects that UT Austin will hit the 70% mark by Summer 2017. Of course these numbers are changing daily as students (with the help of advising staff) submit outstanding transcripts, claim credit, and submit petitions to bring their PTD to 100.

PTD Dashboard is a new visualization of cohort Progress To Degree. The dashboard is color coded to signal which students in specific FTIC cohorts need extra help to get across the finish line. The PTD dashboard allows SSI and Colleges across campus to help any student who wants to graduate in 4 years to do it and remove barriers to graduation. If you would like access to the PTD Dashboard, contact the Student Success Initiatives Office.

Kathy Uitvlugt provided an update regarding the Senior Countdown and a new initiative called Auto Graduation.

Senior Countdown: To date 21,000 students have already been coded for Senior Countdown. Coding students in Senior Countdown links students' PTD to the dashboard and allows SSI to celebrate with seniors and provide intentional advising for seniors and juniors. It is recommended that students are coded for the Senior Countdown during their junior year; however, students can be coded as early as their freshman year as long as the Countdown is revisited as their path to graduation firms up.

Auto Graduation: The 4-year graduation rate for the spring/summer 2016 cohort could have been 63%, a 3 % increase, if all students who were eligible to graduate during that time period actually applied to graduate. The Auto Graduation effort will complete graduation applications on the behalf of students with a 100% PTD who have not applied on their own. This effort should help the institution to meet the 70% 4-year graduation rate goal for spring/summer 2017. 

Students will be auto graduated if one of their audits is at 100% through a "soft" launch effort regardless of time at the institution. Students with a remaining semester or more can appeal their Auto Graduation decision. International students and students with concerns related to Financial Aid should work with the respective offices as well as the Graduation Help Desk with this process.

Students will be notified as follows:
  1. SAN from SSI 
  2. Colleges follow up with second SAN 
  3. Students will be able to appeal an auto graduate decision. Appeals will be centralized through the Office of the Provost. 
Questions from students for Auto Graduation should be directed to SSI and/or Graduation Help Desk

In addition to providing a few updates on the Graduation Help Desk, Associate Vice Provost Carolyn Connerat provided a few reminders about MyUT and the College to Career Task Force.

MyUT New student portal for students. Thousands of students already use this portal and during Orientation please remind first-year students to use this portal as a first stop for UT Austin web resources.

The College to Career Task Force was formed to assess the extent to which UT Austin is providing students with the support and resources to achieve the needed skills, experiences, and co-curricular knowledge to prepare students for life after graduation.

4 sub-committees are working to develop recommendations for the Provost based on the natural progression a student takes while at UT Austin:
  1. Discovery (internships, career advising, major exploration, etc.) - K. J. Harris (Chair) 
  2. Transition (A student knows what they want to do, what resource(s) helps them with the next step?) - Mark Bernstein (Chair) 
  3. Post-Graduation (What happens after graduation? Alumni, extended canvas, networking)- Courtney Roehling (Chair) 
  4. Data (How are we collecting, managing, and using big data? How do we know if students are accessing the resources they need?) - Rita Thornton (Chair)

ACA Updates
Michelle Hiatt, PDD 2017 Co-Chair: On behalf of the PDD Committee, we would like to thank all PDD attendees. If you loved PDD or want to change everything, please consider joining the committee next year!

Ana Dison, ACA President Elect: Advisory Council Update
Advisory council is currently reviewing ACA bylaws and plans to present proposed changes within the next few meetings. The Council is also in the process of developing a new logo for ACA. The logo will need to be reviewed by ACA executive board first, but expect a new logo by summer.

An update on the Advisory survey sent to the ACA list-serve in December and January: The Council collected 120 usable surveys to better understand the trends in turnover, compensation, outside employment, and retention within the academic advising profession at UT Austin. Advisory Council is using the data collected to compare job titles, salary averages, etc. Hopefully by summer the Council will know more and be ready to prepare recommendations.

Kayla Ford, ACA President: Honoring 2017 Vick Advising Award Winners (Please take a minute to read their nomination letters here.)

The Texas Exes James W. Vick Award for Academic Advising recognizes individuals who improve students’ overall experience at The University of Texas at Austin through outstanding advising. Each year, five winners are awarded $500 and are recognized with an awards ceremony in March. The nomination and selection process is done solely by students.

Congratulations to all of the 2017 award winners!! Thank you for all that you do for UT Austin students and the advising community. 

Andreyez Alvarado, Academic Advisor, Moody College of Communications

Jasmine-Rose Schmitt, PACE Program Coordinator, College of Liberal Arts

Letitia Monsey, Business Honors Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor,
McCombs School of Business

Megan Rovang, Senior Academic Advisor, College of Natural Sciences

Holly Smith, Senior Academic Advisor, College of Liberal Arts

Office of the Student Ombuds
Kouang Chan, Director and Student Ombudsperson

How does the Student Ombuds help UT Austin Students? The Student Ombuds listens as a neutral, independent, confidential, and informal source; identifies students' needs; provides a sense of agency for students; and helps students to feel in control of their concern(s).

How the process works for students:
  1. Inquiry 
  2. Framing for solution 
  3. Questioning - what can we do 
  4. Working together to find a solution 
Primary hope: Students visit the Student Ombuds at the very beginning of their issue to avoid getting pinballed around the complex UT Austin system
The Student Ombuds does NOT advocate for students, investigate their concerns, and they do not make policies or decisions. The Ombuds office CAN help students navigate the system and get plugged into the appropriate resources for their concern.

Contact Kouang Chan and the Student Ombuds office with questions and please refer students in need of a informal, confidential source.
Student Services Building, Room G1.404
Phone: 512-471-3825

Core Curriculum Updates
Jen Morgan, Program Manager, School of Undergraduate Studies

There are very few changes to Core Curriculum for 2017-2018 academic year. Undergraduate Studies does not have the final word from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding approval of new core curriculum courses. Once courses have been approved, UGS will conduct a core attributes review and approved courses will be reflected in the course schedule. Jen sent a tentative core list on March 8 to the ACA list-serve highlighting the changes and will send a final list once approved. There were no deletions to the core for this academic year.

Department of Kinesiology and Health Education
Phil Stanforth, Senior Lecturer; Brian Farr, Undergraduate Program Coordinator

Promoted the 6 Kinesiology and Health Education majors and provided some additional information about the requirements of each and the internal transfer process.

Restricted Majors:
  1. Athletic Training 
  2. Health Promotion & Behavioral Science 
  3. Sports Management 
  4. Exercise Science
Open Majors:
  1. Applied Movement Science (New 2016) 
  2. Physical Culture & Sport
Specializations in these areas require 15-18 hrs with 6-9 hrs of field/internship work. There is no certificate yet.

Students interested in Internal Transfer to the College of Education for one of these 6 majors should attend an information session and should have a 3.0 GPA, although the GPA standard may be flexible.


Dr. Omi Jones, Professor, Department for African and African American Studies
Spring semester in San Francisco Domestic Study program studying gentrification and Black out-migration through ethnographic methodologies. Students will travel around San Francisco working in activist and artistic organizations, conducting oral histories, and learning how cities make development decisions with Dr. Omi Jones.

This unique experience asks students to engage in an independent research project with San Francisco community organizations that are responding to economic and social changes in their neighborhoods while also taking 12 credit hours at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Students stay in a dorm in SFSU, and take 2 courses taught by Dr. Jones as well as 2 courses taught by SFSU professors. Students host block party at the end of the semester to bring together all participating organizations and use their community organization experience to conduct a comparative study between San Francisco and Austin. 

The program is open to students in any major with a 2.0 GPA. Students DO NOT need an arts background or previous experience with AFR coursework to engage in this program. The cost is most prohibitive for students because it is in addition to UT Tuition (can be folded into Financial Aid). To help offset this limitation, the Domestic Study Program offers $2,000 to first 10 students to sign up.

Students are invited to attend an information session on Wednesday, March 29 at 5:00 pm in GWB 2.116.

Student Testing Services
Maria Zollar with an update on AP, IB, SAT, ACT score changes per Mellanie Patterson’s email sent March 5.

Scoring conventions have changed for SAT, ACT and there are several updates to AP exam scores and courses awarded for those scores such as AP Computer Science Principles (new AP exam) will award CS 302. Other changes impact AP US History, AP European History, AP Statistics, IB Environmental Science, and SAT and ACT Writing tests. The Student Testing Services website has been updated to reflect those changes.

All changes are effective May 1, 2017. Please recommend that current students send their AP exam scores as soon as possible. Questions? Call STS at 512-232-2653

Brittney Cox with a reminder that Lavender Graduation is May 17. Learn more:


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 at the April ACA meeting!