The Daily Gamecock

Student Senate Recap: Initiatives to hire more advisers, improve DegreeWorks

<p>Student Body President Issy Rushton speaks to student senate in September of 2020.&nbsp;</p>

Student Body President Issy Rushton speaks to student senate in September of 2020. 

Student Senator Claire Windsor introduced a series of legislation calling for the university to hire more full-time academic advisers and improve DegreeWorks during the senate's first meeting of the Spring semester. 

Windsor said the goal was to improve the quality of student advising appointments and decrease the caseload of advisers, many of whom are part-time. 

“I think there’s only 53 professional advisers hired by and employed by the University Advising Center. And then there are a lot of faculty advisers, because there's only faculty advisers within the Arts and Sciences and in the College of Engineering and Computing,” Windsor said. “That's about 50% of the student body. So, 50% of students already just having faculty advisers is something we definitely want to correct.” 

Another recommendation presented by Windsor aims to improve the university’s syllabi archive system. This system allows students to view the syllabus for a class before registering. According to Windsor, the system has been in place for some time, but professors have not widely uploaded their syllabi. 

Windsor said she thought many faculty were not unfamiliar with the system or were hesitant to “do something that maybe is outside of their job description or doesn’t seem important.” 

“So this is the push for that again is to show why it is important in the first place for students and to make sure that we maybe create a standard or policy per college and school or department that they have to or at least are incentivized to put their syllabus into the system,” Windsor said. 

Windsor remained at the podium to introduce another recommendation — to make the DegreeWorks system more accurate so that students can better track their progress towards their degree. Windsor said the motivation for the recommendation came from personal experience with the site and that she believed students had very different experiences with the system.

“Seeing some students have great advising appointments and they use DegreeWorks, they are able to track their degree progress, they are able to see transparent curriculum throughout their four years, and others use paper and pencil or it's not very accessible, not very clear and transparent,” Windsor said.

Student Body President Issy Rushton said her office was working on having an in-person graduation both for current graduates and graduates who had virtual commencement last year.

“Hopefully, being able to celebrate not only our May grads of the semester but also our previous grads who did have those virtual commencement ceremonies,” Rushton said. 

Student Senator Morgiana McDevitt co-sponsored a bill with Windsor to support an electric scooter rental service to be provided for students. The senators cited both environmental, parking and safety concerns as reasons for the service.  

“A student, instead of either having to walk across campus or city alone if it was dark, or call an Uber and have to be faced maybe with that cost and risk, they can scooter — which is kind of like that middle option for them. It's safer and more convenient rather than walking a long distance,” McDevitt said.