Dear Case Western Reserve University Faculty and Staff:
As we approach the start of the new semester, I want to provide another update on our preparations to welcome our undergraduate students—both new and returning—given some of the important changes in general education, advising and support of students in general.
Unified General Education Requirements
Undergraduates who will be starting this fall will have new and unified general education requirements that are common to all undergraduate degree-granting schools and the college. General education at Case Western Reserve helps students develop the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to understand and address the world’s challenges with intellectual rigor, creativity, humility and integrity. It prepares our graduates not only for their future careers, but also for their futures as whole people and as engaged citizens. It also provides flexibility for students to explore multiple areas of academic interest from the moment they arrive on campus.
The years of thoughtful development of this approach to general education are reflected in the intentionality of the programmatic organization and the coherence of course expectations. Faculty have created many interesting and important courses needed for the new unified general education requirements and will continue to build the offerings in the semesters to come.
Advising and mentoring are critical components of an education at Case Western Reserve. Advisors and mentors welcome and acclimate students to the university, help students explore curricular and extracurricular opportunities, refer students to resources, guide students in selecting coursework, support and advocate for students when needed, and have conversations about post-graduation plans. Advisors and mentors also derive professional and personal satisfaction from these meaningful connections that help students thrive.
While we can all support students, we formally identify certain roles to ensure that students are systematically supported and guided. These formal roles are four-year advisor, pre-major advisor, and major advisor. New this fall are the roles of four-year advisor and pre-major advisor.
- Four-year advisors serve as the resource for students, faculty and staff to understand policies, procedures and requirements of all academic programs as set forth by the faculty, as well as points of contact for academic support systems as needed. Four-year advisors are assigned before matriculation and support students through graduation.
- Pre-major advisors are students' first faculty connections at the university and are essential guides to their transition to our scholarly community. They provide individualized guidance to students to build a foundation for academic and personal success at CWRU. They will support students until major declaration and then remain an important source of counsel throughout their Case Western Reserve experiences.
- Major advisors are assigned once students declare their majors; they serve as key relationships for students, providing expert discipline-specific guidance including for each student’s long-term goals.
In my July 21 message, I described our efforts to co-locate many key student facing offices in Sears Building. The proximity of these offices, including the new Undergraduate Advising Support office, is not only more convenient for students, it also strengthens the engagement among the staff of the different offices that serve students. Many offices (including Undergraduate Advising Support, the Career Center, Undergraduate Research and Academic Support Resources for Students) have already made the move to Sears. Other student-supporting offices, such as the University Registrar and Financial Aid, will complete their moves by mid-semester.
In the next few weeks, we will roll out another way for students to conveniently access information, resources, and support. Staff are making improvements to my.case.edu to improve the design and responsiveness of the site for mobile devices. Our goal is to make sure students have access to the tools they are comfortable using and that allow them to more efficiently navigate information on the supports that they need. We want them to have access to the front door of our university at their fingertips such that they can thrive here from their first day on campus.
We continue to strengthen our support for our exceptional undergraduates and to enhance their Case Western Reserve University experience. Thanks to all of you who help our students feel at home at Case Western Reserve University.
Joy K. Ward
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President