Focusing Academic Vision: Cultivating Intentionality
in Academic Planning
Elizabeth Regosin, associate dean of faculty affairs and associate
professor of history Robert Thacker, associate dean for advising and
professor of Canadian studies
STL: What does “cultivating intentionality” mean?
Students and faculty agree to talk about such large issues
as “Why are you in college?” and “How do you
like to learn?” Students take the driver’s seat as
they journey through the four years of college, focusing
their vision on the destination that is a responsible, involved, fulfilling
keeping in mind the skills and habits they need to strengthen
to get where they want to go.
Students are asked to be intentional
about their academic planning—not
just to pick courses from a menu to fulfill distribution requirements,
but to think carefully, with their advisor, about how each
course contributes to the whole.
STL: Why is it important?
The new model of academic advising is a developmental model. It asks
students to take responsibility, to think about consequences, to accept
leadership in their own lives. Students begin with setting goals
of all kinds, general and specific, and then work with faculty advisors
to construct a plan of coursework, research, leadership and volunteerism
and extracurricular activities, that enables them to achieve their goals.
Then, “at a series of specific moments, students take stock of the
effectiveness of their plan as well as the need to revisit their goals
and revise them as needed,” Regosin notes.
STL: How will it be implemented?
Advisors can use a series of five reflective exercises that
ask students, over their four years, to consider and write about their
college experience: Exploratory Goals Essay, Goals Revision, Major
Declaration (with rationale), Senior-Year Experience Prospectus and Looking
Back. Advisors also can help students create an e-portfolio that
is a site of “collection, selection, reflection and projection,” according
STL: Why is this consistent with St. Lawrence’s mission?
By following this model of “cultivating intentionality,” faculty
are doing the work they most love to do—encouraging students to learn
STL: What does it mean for the future of St. Lawrence?
St. Lawrence will become known as a college where all four
years of student participation in coursework, research, clubs,
teams, honor societies, volunteer projects, leadership training, everything—all
of these opportunities contribute to education. “No two students
will follow the same St. Lawrence path,” says Thacker, but they’ll
share an experience that was planned by each of them and from which each
of them will emerge as graduates ready to take on life. --LMC