October 2012

Meeting Date: 
October 17, 2012

ACA Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


SAC Ballroom


8:15   Breakfast and Social Time

Sponsored by Texas Parents (Thank you!!)

8:30   Appreciating Campus Administrators:  Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter

ACA will recognize a campus administrator each meeting.  This offers us the opportunity to recognize administrators who make an important or significant contribution to advising on this campus.  If you have an administrator you would like to recognize, please let the Executive Committee know!

The first administrator chosen was Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter.  She received a certificate from ACA recognizing her support of advising.  The Vice Provost noted that the campus couldn’t achieve the things we are trying to achieve without Academic Advisors.

8:40   Texas Parents

Gregory Gym 1.107


Susie Smith and Holly Gardovsky spoke about the program, located in the Division of Student Affairs, as “the best kept secret on campus.”

Texas Parents is both an organization with paid membership and an office on campus.  In both capacities it acts as a resource for all parents, families and students.  Their main goal is to help parents help their students.

As a membership, parents can join at any time (dues can be paid by the year or in a 4-year package) though most join when their students are freshman or sophomores.  Texas parents puts out a newsletter each month on the 15th with information to help parents connect to resources on campus.  They also work with Texas Belles to organize Family Weekend and Family Orientation in the summer.

They also offer grants, scholarships and the Outstanding Student award (which had 23 great students nominated for it this year!)  All scholarships and programs are funded by the membership dues. 

Susie wanted to stress that Texas Parents does not see itself as “a landing pad for helicopter parents” and that their primary focus is to empower parents to empower their students.  They make every effort to encourage parents to support their student taking action rather than making calls for their student.

Susie also noted that she would like to collaborate more with advisors.  If there is a message that advisors or a specific office or program would like to communicate to parents, the monthly newsletter or other contact is a great way to do that.

9:00   Certificate in Scientific Computation

WCH 2.104


Vicki Keller, from the Division of Statistics and Scientific Computation, and Sam Moore, from the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), spoke about the Certificate, required coursework and advantages it can offer students.

The Certificate in Scientific Computation is a certificate-granting program compiled of courses designed to prepare students to use high-end computing resources.  It is open to any major and many science and engineering majors find it useful.  Industry partners helped develop the program and are interested in training researchers to make discoveries that improve the quality of life, no matter the field.

The certificate requires:

  • M408D or M408M
  • SSC222
  • 1 course in Linear Algebra, Discrete Mathematics or Differential Equations
  • 2 Scientific Computing courses (from approved list or suggest an equivalent)
  • 1 Applied Computing course
  • Research project with a faculty supervisor

All requirements can overlap with other degree requirements and the final research project can be part of a student’s capstone or thesis project.  Like other certificate programs, the Certificate in Scientific Computation will be listed on a student’s transcript and students can complete the last 50% of requirements up to a year after they graduate.

The application can be downloaded from the Certificate Program website. Students or advisors can contact Vicki Keller, Student Affairs Administrator, or Richard Leu, Advisor, with questions.

9:15   Student Veteran Services

SSB 4.104

512.475.9771 – Ben Armstrong

512.232.2677 – VA Services

Ben Armstrong and Dr. Jay Morrison from Student Veteran Services spoke about what the office does, the services offered and discussed the student veteran population at UT and their mindset.

Ben gave statistics of students using any kind of veteran benefits (either a veteran or a dependent of a vet) at UT.  In 2008, there were 152 students using state benefits of some kind and 419 using federal benefits.  In 2012, that number has grown to 715 state and 794 federal, a 164% increase.  Ben and his office help students using these benefits with the academic process, with the state and federal regulations to receive benefits, and with many other concerns.

For VA benefits, the Registrar occasionally needs documentation that a specific course for an elective or minor is in the degree plan.  The sooner a student can get this documentation the better.  Repeat coursework is not always covered by the VA.

SVS has updated and streamlined their website, allowing students to access resources on and off campus more easily.  The office also has a number of programs in progress, including additional orientation events, emergency funds for student veterans and a training and awareness programs for staff and faculty.

Dr. Morrison spoke about the role he plays on campus and noted that UT is the only university in the country with a VA Psychologist on campus.  He works with a program called VITAL (Vet Integration To Academic Leadership) and offers direct care for student veterans.  He also works to reduce the stigma of mental health care by offering an open-door policy and quick, drop-in style meetings where possible.

He spoke about raising military cultural competence on campus through awareness, training programs and communicating UT’s long history of support for veterans.  Most American veterans have a family member who also served.  2 of every 3 Americans know someone who has served in the recent conflicts.  But very few know much about the situation of veterans who have returned.

9:40 Longhorn Internship Connection

Bianca Cusimano spoke about the database being created for students to share information about their internship experience.  The database is searchable so other students can learn more about the programs, options and companies.

In surveys, students have reported that they would like to share their internship experience and that they would like to have this information about other students’ internships.  The database allows for any student to submit and is EID protected so only students with current affiliation with the university can see the information being reported.

Eventually this program will transition to Student Government and will allow for a more thorough monitoring process.

9:50 Announcements

FIG Updates – Lisa Valdez

Applications for FIG Mentors are now being accepted.  The deadline is Nov 9 at 5pm.  If a FIG would like a brief presentation about being a mentor, please contact the FYE Office. 

Awards & Recognition Committee – Sarah McKay

National NACADA nominations will be open soon so please start thinking of colleagues you would like to nominate.  This year, the nomination process will include incentives.  If your nominee is selected for the award, you will win a small gift card too!