At 5:15 p.m. Monday, University of Colorado junior Alex Hagan stopped by the library to talk to an adviser about which fall classes to register for later in the week.
Until mid-March, Hagan and other students could only speak to an adviser during the traditional 8-to-5 work day. But a new pilot program, intended to better suit the busy lives and slightly shifted schedules of 20-something-year-olds, has made it easier for students to get after-hours advice on topics such as classes, graduation requirements, internships and career prospects.
Though it was his first time visiting an adviser during the evening, Hagan said it was convenient to stop by the library after a full day of classes and not have to worry about finding time during the day.
"I'm not seeing my actual specific adviser right now, but it's a good way to check before signing up for classes," he said.
Bevin Gumm, a communications adviser in the College of Arts and Sciences who volunteered to work that Monday night shift, said she's supportive of the university's experiment providing student services in new ways.
"It offers an alternative to students by providing hours outside of normal work hours, and it's also an environment that, hopefully, students naturally gravitate to anyway — the library," she said.
Gumm said the evening advising program is not a substitute for the one-on-one relationships students build with their full-time adviser through 30-minute appointments and multiple conversations over the years.
But, she added, it does support the current advising system and provides support or maintenance for students who want to check in quickly in-person. Gumm said when her day is packed with back-to-back advising appointments, it can be difficult to answer the dozens of emails she receives from students with questions in a timely manner.
The evening advising is being offered from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, said Michael Grant, vice provost and associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education. Many students — who tend to wake up later and go to bed later — are more willing to meet with an adviser at 8 p.m than at 8 a.m., Grant said.
"I like it because I can't meet all of their appointments, necessarily, so it's nice having another option," said sophomore Eric Gold. "I either have class or office hours. It's nice because at this time, I'm pretty much done with everything."
After the semester ends, Grant said he'll talk with the evening advisers to get their feedback on the pilot initiative.
Early signs point to the program being a success, he said.
"They seem to be perfectly busy all the time," Grant said. "The most important thing was, would students really utilize this? They had told us anecdotally that they would much prefer to have some evening advising rather than early morning advising."
The program is part of an effort on the Boulder campus to boost graduation and retention rates, Grant said.
Chancellor Phil DiStefano issued a challenge last fall to increase the university's six-year graduation rate from 68 percent to 80 percent by 2020.
Other campus officials have said that in order to do that, they'll need to improve first-year retention rates from 85 percent to 90 percent.
Advisers on the Boulder campus typically specialize in one school or college. But during the evening sessions, they're able to answer questions for students from all majors and departments.
That's a precursor to a planned central advising system that CU officials are working on and expect to launch in a few years. The new advising system will make it easier for students to transfer between colleges.
"We were thinking about how we can serve our students better to increase their persistence and graduation rates," Grant said. "Advising is one of the threads that matters in this area, so we're trying to figure out how we can be more effective at advising."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or email@example.com.