Mar 7, 2012
By Monica Chapman and Tessa Dufresne
This winter, the transition to semesters became even harder for students to ignore, as the transition degree completion plan (TDCP) appeared on each Ohio University student's to-do list through the Student Center website. With the imminent change, the time for students to get involved in the academic planning process is now, according to Laura Chapman, coordinator of Q2S advising in University College.
"Things are going to be different. Some courses are changing. Credit hours are changing. The calendar is changing. Really everything about a semester system is different and will impact students in every way," she said.
Chapman and other Ohio University advisers have been busier than ever over the past quarters, assisting student advisees in the creation of TDCPs in preparation for the University's conversion to a semester-based academic calendar in fall 2012.
These individualized plans of study detail course requirements en route to a timely graduation. Moreover, the TDCP process aids the University's continuing mission to develop the advising process in hopes of creating an informed, participatory student body.
"I tell students meeting with your adviser about semesters isn't simply to make (the Student Center reminder) go away, just like advising at any given time isn't just about picking up your DARS so you can register," Chapman said. "Advising is about really understanding the process."
After retiring as Assistant Dean for Advising last July, Chapman returned to assist with the Q2S transition. In her new role, Chapman works with the University College Dean's office to provide consultation, training and on-going support for Q2S advising issues. Drawing on 29 years of advising experience at Ohio University, she also serves as the Q2S Advising Task Force chair.
"Advising is the number one priority in University College. So what we're trying to do is make students aware that the transition is happening and that they have a role and a responsibility in the process," said Chapman. "Advising is a partnership and a student's adviser is the best resource he or she has."
The Department of Biological Sciences, within the College of Arts & Sciences, is tackling Transition Degree Completion Plans (TDCPs) in small group settings.
All 700 biological sciences majors will attend 1- to 2-hour small group workshops during which they will map out a course of study through graduation, using the TDCP forms. The forum allows for students to ask questions and learn from one another, while also giving them an opportunity to talk individually to advisers, according to Ann LaComb, pre-professional adviser and quarters to semesters (Q2S) advising coordinator for the Department of Biological Sciences.
LaComb's tricks of the trade include checkappointments.com, a free online appointment booking system used to schedule workshops and send reminder emails.
LaComb admits that mapping out a college career can be overwhelming but says the process has long-term benefits.
"It lets the advisor see the big picture as well as the student. It gets us all on the same page," she said.
LaComb believes the Q2S process has enhanced advising overall.
"It's bringing out some strengths in the advising that we've been able to build on. I see more interaction between students and their advisers earlier. I see the advisers being really involved in follow up … It brings the whole thing together which I hope will be a real strength for us over time," she said.