If students have accessed their WCU email accounts this past week, they probably received an email sent from Dr. Joanne Conlon, director of the Pre-major Academic Advising Center. The email is an invite from the University Academic Advising Committee asking students to participate in an anonymous survey that will allow students to voice their opinions on the advising practices that they have experienced. “We’ve never done this before,” Conlon said about the Advising survey. “This is an opportunity. We really want to hear from students and so it’s an opportunity for us to get some very specific and direct student feedback.”

The reason why the survey has never been approached before is because of the elongated process of negotiating with union rules and the school’s rules.

“We had student feedback that they would like to give feedback on student advising, but we have not had the opportunity to really have it go forward,” Conlon said. The decision for the survey to be made public to WCU students began in December of this past semester.

“I’ve been working on it for three years and prior to my arrival here at West Chester, it is my understanding that they have been working on it for five years,” Conlon said. Finally after five years of waiting for the advising survey to be approved, it all came together. The University Academic Advising Committee decided to release the survey during the spring 2011 semester.

“We wanted to release the survey after spring break because we felt that that was the best time for students” said Conlon.

“We want the student’s voice and we want to see is what it tells us,” Conlon said. “We’ve never asked these questions before. We don’t know what our students think is important.”

The survey asks questions to get information from students such as what topics were covered during an advisement meeting and how important were those topics to students.

“The survey was based on information from the National Academic Advising Association and they have recommendations about what they believe is important in advising, but we don’t know what West Chester University students believe is important,” Conlon said.

So what will they do with the information from the completed surveys?

There is a hope to really analyze the information gathered and make sure to appreciate the good in advising, but also to talk to the academic departments to see how they can improve their advising.

The advising survey is completely anonymous. Students are asked to e-mail Dr. Conlon that they completed the survey in order to participate in the prizes and giveaways, an incentive for students to fill out the survey. The prizes include two Ipads, 40 WaWa gift cards valued at $20, and 400 West Chester University t-shirts.

The survey is only available March 14 through April 1. The survey will be sent via e-mail once again on March 21 and for a final time of March 28 to give students, who might have deleted the e-mail accidentally, another chance to fill it out and enter themselves to win prizes.

Angela Thomas is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in web technology. She can be reached at AT683005@wcupa.edu.

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