Proposal to combine Gateway, Academic Advising services being considered

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

A proposal to combine some of the advising services provided by the Academic Advising Center on Ninth Street Hall and the Gateway program is currently being evaluated at Eastern.

Mona Davenport, director of minority affairs, said these organizational changes are still in the infancy stage.

Even if they were to go into effect, she said, the Gateway program would still continue to exist.

“We still have Gateway students coming in, and we will continue to have the Gateway program,” she said.

In an emailed statement, Provost Blair Lord said the proposal for this reorganization is simply being discussed.

If it were to go through, he said, there is a contractual process that would need to be followed.

“With the lower staffing levels across the university, we are always looking for the most efficient ways of deploying our staff resources,” Lord said.

The proposed reorganization combine Gateway office’s academic advisers and advisers under the Center for Academic Support and Assessment, Davenport said.

The program, housed in Minority Affairs, would potentially move to the Academic Advising Center in Ninth Street Hall. Gateway advisers would keep their positions.

Currently, Gateway advisers advise Gateway students and advisers in Ninth Street Hall only advise new or undeclared standard admits.

With the proposal, students would be taken care of by all the advisers.

Before, there were two separate offices, Davenport said. “What we’re doing is putting the office together.”

Gateway students get some opportunities other students do not, Davenport said, including the chance for more intrusive advisement and workshops on time-management and test-taking skills.

“We just want to make it so all of the incoming freshmen get the experience that we think would be beneficial to them,” she said. “We can’t assume because you have a high ACT or a high GPA that you necessarily know how to navigate through higher education.”

Davenport said some students have expressed to her that they wish they could participate in some of the activities Gateway students do.

“What we want to be able to do is we want to be able to offer our students through standard (admissions) a freshman experience where they get the chance to have intrusive advisement,” she said. “They would get an opportunity to attend some of the workshops we offer for our Gateway students….we just want to make it so all of the incoming freshmen get the experience  that we think would be beneficial to them.”

A meeting between the academic advisers and Gateway advisers, was held Friday morning to talk about the potential changes.

Davenport said both sets of advisers would be meeting on a regular basis in the future to see how the proposal would work.

Gateway adviser Yolanda Williams said the meeting consisted of a lot of questions from Gateway advisers.

They had heard from other people the change was coming, Williams said, but this meeting was the first time they had officially heard about the proposal.

She said part of her concern about the changes came not from not being sure what is happening, and she also had concerns over how services would be provided.

The advisers in Ninth Street Hall are great, Williams said, but the advising styles, program and requirements for students are different.

“I really care about this program and I really care about these students,” Williams said.

Davenport said Gateway has always been the same and always will be.

“We are as an institution, I think, we’re going to have to make some changes,” Davenport said. “This is one I think is a positive one.”