Brooks College opens new advising office
The Office of Integrative Learning and Advising for the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies opened last August in Grand Valley State University’s Connection Building. The advising center was created with hopes of connecting and advising students within Brooks programs.
“Brooks (previously) didn’t have an advising center and we knew that students needed support,” said Brian Jbara, director of the new office.
A plan to alleviate the advising needs of students from the Brooks College has been in the works for a couple years now, Jbara said.
While the office will primarily assist students within the Brooks College – which includes Chinese, liberal, women and gender, religious, Russian and international area studies – the office can also be used by students thinking about going into one of those programs.
“A lot of times students don’t go into (an area of study within Brooks College) their first year at GVSU,” Jbara said, adding students come in “after hearing about or finding an interest in one area within Brooks.”
After students express an interest in one of those fields, the Office of Integrated Learning and Advising can connect them with the right faculty adviser to help them adjust their schedules and class choices.
For students studying in the college or anyone thinking about a Brooks College major, the office can assist in getting them ready for classes, internships and integrated learning experiences.
Jbara said the office bridges a connection between students, faculty and integrated learning opportunities.
“When students come in, we can help them get connected to a faculty member (within their chosen field),” Jbara said, explaining that figuring out classes and setting up options for students is usually done by the advising faculty member within Brooks.
The office is small right now, consisting of a director, coordinator and graduate assistant. With its recent opening, there are some kinks that are still getting worked out.
“We’re still figuring out our overall goal,” Jbara said.
One future goal for the office is expansion.
“We’re always looking to expand into different programs,” Jbara said. “We are open to working with student groups and faculty to find options for integrated learning experiences.”
The main goal of the office is to connect students to other opportunities.
“Our mission is to get them connected,” Jbara said. “We work with students in a holistic way, connecting students with opportunities within every area and connecting them to campus resources to help them develop a plan.”
More information about The Office of Integrative Learning and Advising, visit www.gvsu.edu/integrativelearning/ or stop the their office located at room 200 in the The Connection.