First-annual expo reveals bountiful resources

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Striving to inform students about the University’s resources and academic issues, the Senate of College Councils hopes to start a new tradition this year.

The Senate is holding its first Academic Expo on Gregory Plaza from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, where it is partnering with the Office of the Dean of Students to educate students on various academic resources.

“We wanted to provide an event that highlighted and showcased all the academic resources at UT,” Senate president Michael Morton said.

Morton said the event will address six categories of resources and academic issues. Morton said the categories were study abroad, undergraduate research, technology in the classroom, recruitment and retention of first year and transfer students, faculty and student relations and curriculum.

Along with introducing University resources in each category, Morton said the event will inform students about academic issues students face. Examples include curriculum reform, plus-minus grading, advising, transfer student orientation and undergraduate research opportunities.

Mary Beth Mercatoris, assistant dean of students, said the event will give students a comprehensive view of academic resources.

“I think holistically there is a lot of knowledge out there,” Mercatoris said. “But what I think happens for students is their interest for knowing the information presents itself at different times.”

Mercatoris said the event will give students all the information they need at once.

Ryan Hirsch, Senate’s executive director who organized the event, said this was an important year to keep students informed about academic recourses and issues.

“We’re going through a lot of changes at UT,” Hirsch said. “We’ve got a big freshman class, and there has been this big overarching theme about graduation rates.”

In addition to welcoming UT’s largest ever freshman class of 8,092 students, the University is also working to increase graduation rates from the current 52.2 percent to 70 percent by 2016.

“I think this is the optimal time to present academic resources, services and to connect student leaders in academics with the everyday student,” Hirsch said. “This [Academic Expo] will really enhance their experience, open them up to new opportunities and really encourage them to take ownership of their education.”

Morton said Senate’s goal is to make Academic Expo an annual event.

Printed on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 as: UT tries to increase resource awareness