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Interim RBA Report Highlights Strengths Of Fall-Term Pilots

By Jennifer Young

STAFF REPORTER

An interim report on this year’s residence-based advising (RBA) pilot programs emphasizes the system’s successes.

The report was released at an open forum on RBA held on Wednesday.

The Undergraduate Association Committee on Housing and Orientation and the UA Student Committee on Educational Policy hosted the forum in Room 10-250. The forum gave concerned students the opportunity to discuss the release of the interim report and the recent decisions of German House and Next House to implement RBA next year.

The report gave a mid-year assessment of the pilot RBA programs in McCormick Hall and Random Hall. The review of the McCormick pilot described overall satisfaction with the program and increased leadership and involvement within the dormitory. McCormick resident associate adviser Monica Gupta ’03 said, “The overall feeling is that it was phenomenal. It was great to pull in all of our resources to get things done.”

Random’s pilot program, which does not localize advising seminars but provides faculty house fellows and resident associate advisers, was less dramatic in its effects than the McCormick program. Random Hall President and associate adviser Matthew S. Cain ’02 expressed Random’s desire to “make some changes in the details of the implementation,” but described the program as “another layer of support. It takes helpful upperclassmen, gives them resources, and makes them super-helpful upperclassmen.”

Administrators discussed the successes of and necessary improvements to these programs and emphasized a desire to be flexible. Ricky A. Gresh of the Residential Life and Student Life Programs office said, “No matter what happens, students are going to move around. Any advising system that doesn’t let students do that will not be effective.”

Julie S. Norman of the Academic Resource Center (ARC) responded similarly to concerns that advising options could become too narrowed, saying, “There is no definite model that is going to fit every student.”

SCEP co-chair and UA councilor from Next House Victoria K. Anderson ’02 noted the administrative desire to allow several options for freshman advising. “It was clear from the forum that students are not in favor of just one system of advising for freshmen, and it was also clear in talking with the administrators present that they have no intention of implementing a program that would do this.”

The ARC, RLSLP, and the Health Education Office at MIT Medical were responsible for the interim report.