Echols advising is intended to be somewhat aggressive rather than simply available. This is sometimes more important to parents than to students, since Echols Scholars usually have good ideas of their own for course choice each semester and for the long-range coherence of their program of study. Nevertheless, University faculty know that freedom can be daunting to students coming directly from secondary schools, where so much is planned and scheduled for students.
Who are Echols Faculty Advisors?
Echols Faculty Advisors include, as a rule, many of the University’s most distinguished teachers and are scholars of national and international reputation. All of them are extremely familiar with the University as a whole, and not just their specific department, and they enjoy introducing new Scholars to this community.
Incoming Echols Scholars are assigned to an official faculty advisor with consideration given to the student’s declared area of interest. Information on a student’s area of interest comes from the on-line College information form that incoming students are encouraged to complete before attending the University. Scholars electing to enroll in a College Advising Seminar (COLA) their first semester are assigned to the COLA instructor as their academic advisor.
Advising, first year and beyond
First-year Echols Scholars first meet their advisor during the first week of classes at the end of August. After that, advising occurs in November and April during the pre-registration process for the spring and fall terms, respectively. However, advisors all hold regular office hours during the semester and encourage Scholars to stop by even if there is no immediate reason to see a professor. It’s not uncommon for Echols Scholars to see their advisor regularly throughout the semester. If the advisor can’t answer a question, he or she can refer the Scholar immediately to a colleague who can.
The assigned advisor is not the only resource for information, although he or she is a crucial one. The Association Dean for Echols Scholars, currently Dr. Sarah Cole, holds daily office hours, to attend to student questions. Individual course professors and Directors of Undergraduate Programs within the various Departments, Interdisciplinary Majors, and Distinguished Major Programs are also useful sources of knowledge. Additionally, the Echols Council hosts a student-to-student mentoring program for incoming first year Echols Scholars. The mission of Echols Peer Mentoring program is to provide first year scholars with a wide range of insights from older peers to help them quickly adjust to college life and excel at the University of Virginia. Peer mentoring is also available through ULink that covers all undergraduate schools in some capacity, but primarily serves first year students in the College of Arts & Sciences (CLAS).