The Academic Advising Office
Ready to help students with all kinds of matters, from lost and found to course consultations
Traditionally, the individual faculty offices had been responsible for course registration, grade processing and other services for students.However, the increased number of service windows due to the start of the Open Courses, offered to all Waseda students regardless of their schools, caused inconvenience and dissatisfaction among students, faculty and staff. To address these problems, the Academic Advising Office opened in 2006 to improve services for students while standardizing and effectively performing operations for academic and administrative affairs.
Located in Building 7, the Academic Advising Office has five major roles: convenient university-wide information desk, student consultation counter for common university-wide courses, IT services support, steering of projects involving students, and assistance with, and promotion of academic and administrative affairs. It is accessible to students and academic staff from all faculties and graduate schools. By integrating duties of the faculty offices to the Academic Advising Office, the pressure on academic staff was alleviated, allowing them to spend more time on more essential matters and be ready to implement new projects.
Students, faculty and staff coming together to create the ideal academic environment
Under the idea of Waseda Vision 150 that, “Students, like faculty and staff, are important members of the Waseda community who support and improve the University for the better,” the Academic Advising Office promotes active participation of students. A great example of this is employing student staff, which has been in place since the start of the Office. This is a predecessor to the Student Job, a work study to create a better academic environment for students, by students. Currently, there are approximately 50 student staff members at the Academic Advising Office, including international students, all from different schools and graduate schools. Their main roles include greeting visitors and creating documents, but they go far beyond what is expected of them. To be specific, there was a time when a suggestion by a student staff member helped improve crowdedness at the office by changing the traffic line. It is possible to say that the proactive attitude of students wanting to get involved with university operations is becoming more evident.
Furthermore, the Academic Advising Office promotes practical joint academia-industry projects for students. One of those is where the university and businesses link up, and students are presented problems related to business in the “Professionals Workshop.” Another is the “Junior Navi,” where students and staff join together to support new entrants and prospective students. Students, faculty and staff at Waseda are now in the middle of creating a better academic environment together in which everyone is pitching in.
What a student staff has to say
I became a student staff at the Academic Advising Office in my second year because I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn about my university while working part-time. Many people looking for lost items or seeking advice visit the Office, and seeing the sense of relief on the visitor’s faces makes me feel glad and motivated that I was able to help. Because visitors differ in age and nationalities, sometimes it is a challenge to know what the best or appropriate way to handle their request is, but overall, I have learned that Waseda University is a very welcoming place of all kinds of people.
Aiming to meet needs of the University
The organization at the Academic Advising Office are gaining attention from other universities as a great example of student support and reform in academic affairs. However, in its current state, the Office has not yet reached its ideal. Because the Academic Advising office is integrating the accumulated duties of the faculty offices while adjusting its functions so that it does not hinder convenience for students and faculty, the process is taking effort and time. As the demands for the quality of services at the Academic Advising Office become higher, the Office must enhance its functions and be prepared to accept all requests in the future when it gains more recognition.
At Waseda, there is a tendency for students to go about things independently, but the mission of the Academic Advising Office is “students first.” Not only does the Office aim to reach its ideal of the best academic environment, but it wishes to hear what students have to say and respond to their requests. The Academic Advising Office is ready to provide services whenever necessary and encourages students to freely stop by to all kinds of questions as much as they want.
“W Space,” a creative learning commons proposed by students
“W Space,” which is a group study space supporting active learning (an interactive, problem-identifying and -solving based education), was proposed by students who won the 2012 Waseda Student Competition. W Space exemplifies how students have a voice in making a difference in the University. Currently, W Space is located in Building 3, Building 7, and Building 19-2.