Freshmen selected to advise CCAS dean

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Ten freshmen in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences have been selected to serve on an advisory committee aimed at giving students the chance to share issues with high-level administrators, CCAS Dean Peg Barratt said.

Barratt said she wanted to create a group of freshmen that could give her feedback on what freshman year in the Columbian College was like.

“They were an engaged group with lots of good ideas for building the CCAS academic programs and sense of community,” Barratt said in an e-mail.

The committee had their first meeting Nov. 19 and the ten students brought up concerns with advising, internships and creating a CCAS identity.

“Advising was probably one of the major concerns; we felt that the registration for incoming freshmen would be easier if they had been able to meet with an adviser one-on-one at CI,” committee participant Michael Romano said.

Heath Steven, another member of the committee said the group also discussed ways to create a Columbian College identity.

“We also talked a lot about ways to get the students in the Columbian College to identify with the college,” Stevens said. “Things like having speakers that are specific to certain majors or more presentations by professors within the college.”

Earlier this semester, an e-mail was sent to all first-year students in Columbian College asking for volunteers for the committee. Interested students were required to write a page about themselves and why the student would be an asset to the committee.

“I wanted more input from our students on their academic experiences. I am looking for input on all aspects of their academic life at GW. Classes, majors, minors, advising and service-learning,” Barratt said.

Some of the students said they felt it was a great opportunity to improve GW.

“I’m an international student from China, and I didn’t have much [a] chance to provide my opinions on building the community back there,” Pengli Li said. “I think the council is a great connection between CCAS students and Dean Barratt and her group.”

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Paul Duff and Barratt will lead the committee.

“We look forward to it as a great listening opportunity, and as a group they may come up with some unique suggestions for improving the first year academic experience,” Barratt said.

While Barratt’s council only pertains to the Columbian College, other schools may also follow suit and establish similar councils to reach out to first year students.

“The Elliott School engages its freshmen through a number of different avenues. Plans are underway for “Cookies with the Dean” in December,” Elliott School Director of Public Affairs Jennifer Golden said. “We look forward to learning more about Dean Barratt’s initiative and thinking about how and whether a similar model might apply to the Elliott School.”

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