“We talk a lot about integrative education and intentional learning, and that is what team advising is all about,” Morash said. “Rather than tell you what to do, the team is there to help you figure out what you want to do and how to navigate life at Conn. Connections is about choosing your own academic path, and the advising team is the support network you rely on to achieve those goals.”
Now a sophomore, Collins is close to declaring chemistry as his major. But while he always knew he was interested in science, he needed some help choosing his Connections courses. His faculty adviser, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Slavic Studies Christopher Colbath, steered him toward a unique course: “Theater of the AIDS Epidemic” with Assistant Professor of Theater Virginia Anderson.
“College is supposed to stretch your comfort zone and make you think differently. Professor Colbath encouraged me to take a course that would interest and challenge me intellectually. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I've made,” said Collins, who is now ready to give back to his peers by serving as a student adviser.
“I’m looking forward to making the transition from high school to college as seamless as possible for my first-year students,” he said. “I’m excited to share things that I did well, like managing free time, and emphasizing the importance of taking courses that they are passionate about.”
As both a staff and career adviser, Lori Balantic enjoys working as a team with faculty and student advisers through the first-year seminar program where students gain perspective from their professor, student advisers and staff advisers.
“I really enjoy experiencing the rhythm of the academic classroom and connecting to the students and professor through their study,” said Balantic, a senior associate director of the Office of Career and Professional Development. “Co-advising with faculty and student advisers streamlines each student’s experience in a powerful way.”
The benefits extend well beyond academics, too. Apple picking at a local farm, visiting a bowling alley or enjoying a home-cooked meal together are some of the creative ways Conn’s advisers have fostered community and connection across campus.
“People who work here are connected to the community in different ways,” Balantic said. “The idea is to provide a unique perspective and that our lives aren’t separate. This campus has a context, and it’s the liberal arts.”