New Undergraduate Program Advising Center Focuses on 'Classroom to Career' Student Success

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan 31, 2018) — The Michael J. Coles College of Business unveiled its new Undergraduate Programs Advising Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 27. Offering undergraduate business students a “one-stop shop” for guidance on building their graduation and career paths, the new UPAC combines the Coles College Advising Center and the Hughes Leadership and Career Program, creating an advanced advising model.

upac_ribbon_cuttingRibbon Cutting for the new Undergraduate Program Advising Center

Bringing these complementary programs together under the Office of Undergraduate Programs gives Coles College students access to an advanced support system focusing on academic success and career transition after graduation, says Dr. Angela Evans, Executive Director of Undergraduate Programs, who oversees the UPAC.

Opening the new UPAC required significant logistical work. Since May 2016, 40 faculty and staff members have relocated from their offices on the fourth floor of the Burruss Building to make room for the UPAC, while the college also constructed a new service desk at the center of the suite. UPAC has been operational since summer 2017.

“The renovations that have taken place during the last couple of years have been disruptive, but they were absolutely necessary,” said Dr. Kathy Schwaig, Dean of Coles College, addressing the UPAC staff at the dedication ceremony. “I want to thank you all for coming together on behalf of our students. This is where the rubber meets the road.”

As part of the restructuring, the Advising Center has implemented several changes designed to improve its ability to serve students, including increasing its operating hours, offering degree-mapping services, hiring five additional advisors, and rolling out a new appointment system emphasizing appointments over walk-ins.

“We want to make visits to our office much more intentional,” says Alan Ruehlman, Director of Advising.

For the Hughes Leadership and Career Program, which delivers a series of required academic courses designed to help students clarify their career and leadership goals, being part of the new UPAC means greater collaboration between academic advisors and career coaches. The implementation of a new Student Success Collaborative platform gives advisors and career coaches access to the same information about their students’ successes and challenges, meaning both groups can offer guidance that is more meaningful.

Ruehlman says that the Advising Center and the Hughes Leadership and Career Program are also working together to encourage students to get the most out of both resources.

“The Hughes career coaches are putting things into their course curriculum that help us make sure that students know what they need to do for registration purposes,” he says. “And we are helping them by explaining to students the benefits of the Hughes program before they have their first contact.”

According to Evans, the new center offers a “classroom to career” advising experience for students, adding that the UPAC is a “solution-oriented center geared towards student success.”

At the conclusion of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Schwaig congratulated the Office of Undergraduate Programs on establishing what is quickly becoming a valuable resource for Coles College students.

“I can’t think of a more important place for our undergraduate programs than where we are right now,” she said.

- Patrick Harbin