Issue No. 23—Winter 2018
A Message From Dean Gorman
It is always such a pleasure to watch the campus come back to life during the first few weeks of the spring semester. In particular, I enjoy meeting with students, talking about their aspirations and activities, and generally helping them figure out the path ahead. Our students are tremendously talented, and they have many options and choices to make as they plot their course through their time with us. Helping them make the most of the support services on campus is a key task for both faculty and staff, because experience shows that students benefit when they engage early and consistently with these offices.
Perhaps the office that parents most frequently ask me about is the Office of Academic Advising (OAA). On Monday morning of Orientation Week, new students learn about the OAA and the importance of taking ownership of their academic and personal goals through exploration, reflection and deliberate course planning. Advising is a collective effort, and the advising system at Rice is anchored by faculty and supplemented through a network of trained professional staff and peer student advisors. During my years as a professor and college magister, one of my most frequent activities has been talking to students about course selection, choosing a major or minor, and career planning more generally. Students continue to seek my advice on these issues, and I find these conversations to be some of the most enjoyable moments in my day. The choices our students make at Rice — classes taken, majors declared, extra- and co-curricular activities engaged in — shapes their intellectual and personal growth and sets the stage for life after Rice. Because of this, everyone engaged in advising on our campus recognizes the value of the task for our students.
Students are encouraged to make an appointment with the OAA at any time, as the office consists of a welcoming and knowledgeable group of professional advisors. The OAA oversees our large community of advising, which is designed to take advantage of Rice’s small size and residential college system. As a result, students can find trained advisors in the residential colleges, in the classroom and in the OAA itself — so advice is readily available, at any time. Additionally, the OAA has detailed knowledge related to specialized advising, so if your student is interested in pre-health professions or pre-law fields, they should definitely reach out and schedule an appointment with the OAA. You can learn more about this and other resources by visiting their website at https://oaa.rice.edu or by calling 713-348-4060.
So, as we turn the corner into the second half of this academic year, I hope you will encourage your student to take advantage of the advising resources on campus. Our students are capable of achieving whatever they set their sights on, and together we can help them make the most of their time as a Rice student.
Warm wishes on the year ahead,
Dean of Undergraduates