How UAC Started
In 1989, several administrators, faculty, and professional staff advisors recognized the need for a coordinated advising network at Texas A&M University. Because of the diversity of advising systems (i.e., centralized, de-centralized & hybrid) already in place, the importance of establishing a communications network among advisors and counselors was of highest priority. Subsequently, a steering committee was formed to review similar organizational models at other universities. From these findings, an organization called the University Advisors and Counselors (UAC) was developed. Currently, over 200 faculty, administrators, professional counselors and staff are members.
Mission & Purpose
In the spirit of the university’s commitment to excellence, the organization strives to provide support for advising and counseling at the university. The quality of advising and counseling at certain critical stages can impact the students’ educational experience, retention and ultimately the student’s entire life. In providing support for advising and counseling, the University Advisors and Counselors seek to provide the optimum atmosphere for the student’s academic development through increased professional communication.
Academic advising provides the direct liaison between the curriculum and the student and serves to ensure that the student’s passage through academic requirements is planned and purposeful. In order to aid the student best, academic advising should be a developmental process, involving both academic services and support services and suited to the varied needs that students meet during their tenure at the university. The primary purpose of the developmental academic advising program at Texas A&M is to assist students in formulating and implementing educational plans compatible with their goals in life and their basic skills. UAC endorses and supports the NACADA documents defining the role of Academic Advising.
Academic advisors are strongly encouraged to become active members of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). This organization’s membership includes academic advisors and counselors at institutions throughout the country. The National Academic Advising Association provides an excellent opportunity for its membership to network with advisors from other institutions and to share effective advising strategies and programs. Each year National and Regional Conferences are held.
Membership in the University Advisors and Counselors at Texas A&M provides the opportunity for involvement and networking with knowledgeable advisors. The organization’s objectives are to:
- Enhance professional development
- Stay abreast of changes in university and college policies and procedures
- Promote job recognition, and
- Provide individual growth opportunities.
In addition, new advisors to A&M can benefit from participation in the newly created “Advisor Link” Program. The program is designed to pair veteran advisors who act as mentors with newly hired faculty and staff advisors. Veteran advisors provide:
- Guidance, and
- Orientation to faculty and staff involved in advising and counseling students.
Awards & Recognition
In 1989, Regent Royce Wisenbaker was instrumental in establishing the Ed Guthrie Advisor Award. This award recognizes the efforts of faculty and staff members who exemplify former advisor Dr. Ed Guthrie’s spirit and concern for students’ welfare combined with skillful and insightful advisement. Each spring, the University Advisors and Counselors honor one or more individuals as the recipient(s) of the distinguished award. Recipients are publicly honored and receive both a monetary award and plaque at an awards ceremony. In addition, Texas A&M has determined that a need exists to recognize and give merit and incentives to faculty and staff for their roles as advisors and counselors.
The purpose of the Margaret Annette Peters Advising Award, established in 2000, is to recognize and reward those faculty / administrators who embody the spirit of caring, compassionate, and genuine concern for the welfare of individual students.
On the national level, the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) also recognizes outstanding advising programs and personnel. This organization annually identifies individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with superior academic advising of students or outstanding academic advising administration.
Programs & Meetings
The sponsorship and support of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs and Academic Services and the Association of Former Students has allowed UAC to offer numerous programs. At least three programs are held each semester which offer not only information on advising, training, and professional development, but university and college policies as well.
Membership and opportunities for leadership are open to all faculty, administrators, professional staff, or any person interested in student advising and counseling. At present, there is no charge for membership in the University Advisors and Counselors.
The UAC community uses the UAC-BULL listserv to distribute important information, send program and activity announcements, ask for input and assistance and to share their knowledge, resources, experience and advice. [A listserv is an email distribution list which allows users to send a single electronic message to multiple individuals who subscribe to participate in the list.]