April 2013

Meeting Date: 
April 10, 2013

ACA Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


SAC Ballroom


8:15   Breakfast and Social Time

Sponsored by the School of Undergraduate Studies (Thanks!!)


8:30   Appreciating Campus Administrators:  Assistant Dean David Spight

Assistant Dean Spight spoke about his appreciation for ACA and the family created.  He noted that when other universities want to know how to conduct advising, they look to UT Austin for examples.  He also discussed the current burden of responsibility being placed on advisors for graduation rate and his view that it offers an opportunity for advisors to show the campus community what we do well.  He charged the membership with doing one extra little thing for the student and considering the difference that one extra thing might make.


8:40   First Year Experience Office

FAC 338


Patty Micks spoke about Signature Courses being offered for upperclassmen in the summer and fall and distributed lists of “Upperclassmen Friendly” sections.  She reminded the membership that students outside of their first year at UT (either as freshmen or transfer) should call the First Year Experience office during their registration access times to be added to an open section of UGS 302 or UGS 303.


8:50   Office of Undergraduate Research



Rebecca Wilcox returned to discuss opportunities for research for undergraduate students and also to promote Research Week, coming later in April.  Students participating will display posters, present theses and offer other presentations of their research including art exhibitions and musical performances.  For further information, please visit the Research Week website.


9:00   Discovery Scholars



The program currently known as Longhorn Scholars will be transitioning in the fall to the new Discovery Scholars.  Phaedra White discussed the work already underway.  TIP Scholars, Gateway Scholars, the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence, Longhorn Scholars and other programs are working together to change and enhance the way students are served through their offices.  The goals of the program are the same but the new Discovery Scholars will work solely with students who are enrolled in the School of Undergraduate Studies.  Current Longhorn Scholars will continue to work with the program under the new name.  The Discovery Scholars Program plans to expand its population, offering services to more students.


9:10 Texas Success Initiative (TSI)

CRD 23


Dr. Joe Schaub began by thanking the membership for responding to the survey he recently distributed about TSI.  He offered some basic information about the state-mandated program designed to assess college readiness in math, reading and writing.  He explained that most incoming freshmen are exempt based on their SAT, ACT or TAKS scores but that some of the data must be entered by hand, so the process takes time.

Students who do not meet basic readiness standards can take the THEA in the area they are non-exempt.  The exams will be offered on Day 2 of Orientation and a high-assurance EID will not be needed.  The TSI office is trying to connect with students who will need to take the exam before they arrive so they are aware.  The TSI office will also send lists of non-exempt students in each college or program to that body’s orientation contact or program coordinator.


9:20 Wayfinder

Kristen Tommey gave updates about Wayfinder, which now includes nearly all majors and certificate programs.  This year, the site was an optional part of the application portal for all applicants, including activities breaking down myths about selecting majors and asking potential students to rank major choices.  It is possible that the activities will be mandatory for students starting in fall 2014, but no decisions have been made.

The site is continually changing and expanding as majors and programs change and expand.  Please contact Kristin with updates, edits or additions you might have.


9:30 ACA Nominations Announcement

Nominations for the 2013-2014 Executive Committee are now being accepted.  Please consider offering your talents to our great organization!  Email Julia Chinnock with nominations or questions.


9:35 A Community for Education (ACE) Program

Charles A. Dana Center


Nathan Kinsman and Uyen-Anh Dang spoke about A Community for Education, an AmeriCorp program to increase childhood literacy.  AmeriCorp volunteers are trained as tutors and partnered with children struggling with reading in elementary schools.  The program goal is to help children meet grade level reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade.  Nathan noted that 75% of children in the program meet this goal and are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to college.

Uyen-Anh, a current program participant, spoke about her experience working with her student and the progress she has seen.  She also discussed her interest in education and the personal fulfillment she has gotten from the program.

The volunteers are mostly recent college graduates willing to give one year of service to the program.  They receive a housing allowance, health insurance, loan forbearance and other AmeriCorp benefits.  Many participants are interested in education and pursue an alternative certification to teach.  The program is currently hiring and has need for more than 90 full-time tutors.


9:45 Announcements

Texas Round Table is holding Pancakes for Parkinsons, an event to honor Dr Vick.  Proceeds will go to support and research for a cure.  The event will be held April 24 from 9am -3pm in Gregory Plaza.