Faculty Advisors and Freshmen Hit it Off at UAAP Receptions

Stephen Pepper, Staff Associate, Academic Performance, UAAP

UAAP Faculty-Freshmen ReceptionsInspired by Dean for Undergraduate Education Dennis Freeman, the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP) organized six Faculty-Freshman Receptions in October. All 143 faculty freshman advisors were invited to attend one reception with their advisees, but the goal of these networking events was to introduce freshmen to faculty beyond their own advisor. Dean Freeman hosted each reception, asking each faculty member present to briefly describe her or his academic interests. He then charged both students and faculty to speak with at least six people they hadn’t yet met.

Faculty and freshmen alike responded positively to the invitations. Eighty-six faculty advisors attended over the six evenings, along with 283 students. President Reif appeared on October 1, saying in his introduction, “I work here.” Conversations buzzed from 5:30 to well beyond the stated 7:00 end time, pausing only for the formal program. Attendees enjoyed abundant food in an elegant atmosphere created by Elizabeth Cogliano Young, Associate Dean for New Student Programming. Linen, silver, lighting, and jazz music promoted an adult vibe—excellent preparation for future conferences and employment events. Senior Associate Dean Julie Norman and the UAAP Advising Consultants provided logistical support at each reception.

Dean Freeman brought this idea from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. As Undergraduate Officer there, he organized UAAP Faculty-Freshman Receptionssimilar, and similarly successful, events for new majors to meet potential advisors and UROP supervisors within Course 6. As Dean, he adapted the model as part of DUE’s efforts to implement the May 2013 Faculty vote requiring that every freshman have a faculty advisor or mentor. UAAP plans other networking events for faculty advisors and freshmen in the spring term, scheduled earlier in the day to reach those with evening commitments.