“Be Advised” Next Week

By Beth Hanson

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the first-ever Beloit College Advising Practicum, “Be Advised,” will be held.

Charles Westerberg, associate professor of sociology, associate dean of the college and director of the Liberal Arts in Practice Center, and Natalie Gummer, academic director of the Initiative’s Program and associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, are two of the event organizers.

Advising Practicum emerged during the curriculum review, responding to the need to help students get the most out of advising.  Westerberg said, “If you think about advising, it’s the heart of a liberal arts education.”

Recent research suggests that liberal arts graduates have the skills that employers are looking for. The point of the practicum is to enable students to tell the story of their educational experience and explain what they bring to a career or further education.  A goal of the practicum is to reduce the number of students who do not know what to do post-Beloit.

“All students need to have the opportunity to make the most out of their education by making sure that they are informed,” Gummer said. “The practicum is structured so that students at all levels get involved [and] own their education.”

The day is comprised of three series of events.  From 9 to 10:20 a.m., FYI students will meet in their initiatives groups to take part in an advising workshop. The point of the workshop is to help FYI students figure out which concurrent sessions to attend.

There are a series of concurrent sessions taking place from 10:30 to 11:20 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. on a range of topics from “Choosing an academic direction” to “Is graduate school right for you?”

Westerberg said, “The concurrent sessions have embedded in them questions of consequences and meaning.”

Beginning at 12:30 p.m., departments will offer one or multiple sessions of various lengths on a variety of topics pertaining to their majors, internships and careers.  Many of these sessions will include lunch or snacks.  Some sessions are open to all students, some to majors and prospective majors and others to majors only.

“One thing I like about the word ‘practicum’ is that it’s the opposite of the word ‘retreat’—it’s an advance and engagement with experiences,” Westerberg said.

“Nobody’s forcing anyone to do this.  The expectation is that students will find it valuable. We want to make sure students have the ability to explore multiple possibilities,” Gummer said.

A full schedule for Advising Practicum can be found online at



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