Academic Learning Links
A New Model of Collaborative Advising at the UW
Academic advising at the University of Washington has traditionally been provided through centralized advising offices or through decentralized offices associated with individual departments and programs. Academic Learning Links is an intermediate model that stresses student intellectual development, inquiry, and collaboration. The Links model of collaborative advising reorganizes departmental advisers into eight broad affinity groups: ArtsLink, BioLink, Business Link, EnviroLink, SAMLink, Slink, ETLink, and WordLink. The Links create a structure in which advisers can work together across units to help students make connections and find their intellectual homes earlier and with more certainty.
What Links do for students
- Helps make advising more seamless and student-friendly by facilitating coordination among advising offices.
- Connects students to disciplines and programs earlier.
- Responds to the student desire to explore learning options thematically before narrowing intellectual interests and matching with specific disciplines or learning communities.
- Organizes faculty, advisers and students across departments and colleges to provide new students with connections, opportunities, and incentives to find their academic homes, maximize their educational objectives, and graduate in a timely manner.
- Centers student attention on the many ways that knowledge is defined, taught, and researched within the broad affinity areas and the academic disciplines at the UW.
What Links do for advisers
- Builds professional relationships and informal mentorships with advisers across the UW. Opens on-going communication about issues, ideas, best practices, and resource sharing.
- Prevents departmental advisers from being isolated by providing a formal structure that connects and supports them in their work.
- Improves communication networks and understanding among departmental advisers, centralized advising, and University administrations.
- Encourages professional development by offering leadership roles in the organization of the Links and potential appointment of Links leaders to University and College advising councils.
- Provides direct advocacy and support from Assistant Dean Kevin Mihata in the College of Arts and Sciences and Vice Provost Ed Taylor in Undergraduate Academic Affairs.
How Links do it
- Work with First Year Programs, Gateway Advising, and OMAD Advising to facilitate exploring majors and academic planning segments of orientation and registration labs for incoming freshmen and transfer students.
- Design Learning Links Special Orientations for new students indicating a preference for a focused introduction.
- Make targeted visits to large survey courses to introduce students to the programs and other resources of each Learning Link. Invite them to explore further by meeting with departmental advisers.
- Coordinate with FIG leaders to distribute Links and major information, meet with students and answer questions.
- Help build discipline-oriented learning communities through creation of curricular options such as TRIGs, ALLs, and freshman seminars.
- Host special events which connect students with disciplines, such as faculty panel discussions, lectures, exhibits, and experiential learning opportunities.
- Work with HFS to create residence-hall communities based on student Link affiliation.
- Collaborate with faculty and alumni to present career panels, fairs, and activities that connect intellectual interests with career paths.
- Create web portals and tools for students which foster both informed exploration and development of self-defined academic and professional goals.