Q&A with CSCL’S new undergraduate adviser, Jules Darg
Jules Darg CSCL undergraduate adviser, helps students define their interests and map out their futures. We asked her to describe the challenges and satisfactions of her demanding job.
Just what does advising entail?
One of the most vital roles of an adviser is to inspire students to think creatively about their options and seek innovative solutions to perceived barriers. Encouraging students to take advantage of the incredible opportunities available to them is an exciting aspect of my job; it can make all the difference to a student’s collegiate experience and future opportunities.
I think of advising as a toolbox to help students form a solid educational foundation to build their future on. I help students use every tool at their disposal to connect with appropriate resources; design a major program; graduate in a successful, timely fashion; and learn to effectively navigate administrative processes. I work with students on selecting courses, coordinating independent research projects, and taking advantage of learning abroad opportunities, scholarships, internships, career strategies. I also help them apply to graduate schools.
Why is advising so important in an age when students can get just about anything they need online?
Although technology is obviously vital for processing and transmitting information, it is often the face-to-face interactions that have a significant impact on an undergraduate’s experience. Getting to personally know CSCL students with their individual challenges, goals, and dreams helps me identify the areas where I can be most helpful along their journey. I try to create a warm and supportive environment where students can feel free to stop by for assistance or just talk about how things are going. These personal interactions—especially at such a large university—help students feel that they matter, and they solidify a strong, meaningful connection to CSCL.
What has CSCL advising done to "transform" the undergraduate experience?
The key is to create opportunities for students to encounter transformational experiences—those profound turning points in a student’s life. Curricular and cocurricular activities where students can interact with the faculty and their peers—guest lectures, student film nights, poetry readings, workshops, CSCL student association events—often provide opportunities for such defining moments. We’ve also developed a CSCL undergraduate online community to bring our majors together virtually to share learning abroad experiences or internship tips, collaborate on research or film projects, or form study groups. Thus our students have a strong support network of peers and resources outside the classroom.
What do you love about advising?
The privilege of working with such extraordinary students. I often wish that others could sit in my chair and witness their transformation from uncertain youth to confident graduate and share in the excitement of the ambitions, accomplishments, and dreams of these exceptionally bright young people.When I hear a student talk about a profound experience, whether it is a meaningful conversation with a professor, an exciting research project, or greater understanding gained from studying abroad, I know that our students will make a better future for all of us as they leave their global footprint, and the world will be a better place for it.