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Undergraduate Advising

The School of Communication Undergraduate advising office is committed to delivering outstanding advising services to our students by utilizing the theory and practice of Appreciative Advising. Appreciative Advising is an academic advising philosophy which calls advisors to celebrate students' strengths as they help advisees achieve their life and academic goals. It is a reciprocal approach where both student and advisor benefit and learn. Appreciative Advisors build relationships with students to keep them engaged in exploring multiple avenues for meeting their needs. We are truly invested in partnering with students to achieve academic and personal success.

Meet Our Team

Sumaira Akber, Temporary Advises SOC Students with Last Names A-E (sumaira@american.edu)

Sumaira Akber joined SOC in 2017. Prior to coming to AU, Sumaira held a variety of positions in higher education including Georgia State University, George Washington University, and Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar. Sumaira received her Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Mercer University. In her spare time, Sumaira loves to try out new recipes and enjoys spending time with her family.

Tara Flakker, Advises SOC Students with Last Names H-M (Temporarily Advising Students with Last Names F-G) (flakker@american.edu)

Tara joined the School of Communication in 2014. She has a Masters in Clinical Social Work from University of Pittsburgh and is in interested in the improvement of human connections both individually and collectively. When not at work helping students Tara enjoys running, gardening, hiking and paddling. She has two teenagers who keep her busy and a sweet “senior” dog who also enjoys their adventures.

Jesse NelsonAdvises SOC Students with Last Names N-Z (jesse@american.edu)

Shortly after graduating from Mount Ida College in 2017, Jesse spent time living in Thailand teaching English to secondary school students. Since his return, Jesse continued to teach English as a Second Language in New Jersey and Virginia, working primarily with adult students from across the globe. Along with teaching, Jesse was also an academic advisor and plans to transfer his knowledge and experience to higher education. He is currently working towards a master’s degree in International Education and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals. In his free time, Jesse enjoys playing basketball, walking his pug Daisy, and traveling to new places. 

We are excited to be back on campus and hope the semester is going well. There are many ways for you to engage with us including selecting an in-person, virtual, or phone appointment.

You can schedule an appointment below. Please indicate your preferred format to host the advising session and specify the purpose of the meeting under the notes section. This will help us prepare and serve you better.

Please note the temporary shift in our advising assignments

  • SOC student with Last Names A-E will be temporary advised by Sumaira Akber (sumaira@american.edu). When selecting an appointment, please note that Sumaira works remote on Mondays and all appointments will need to be conducted virtually.
  • SOC students with last names F-G will be temporary advised by Tara Flakker (flakker@american.edu)  in addition to her regular H-M students. Tara works remote on Fridays and all appointments will need to be conducted virtually.
  • SOC students with last names N-Z will be regularly advised by Jesse Nelson (jesse@american.edu). Jesse works remote on Thursdays and all appointments will need to be conducted virtually.

 

Book an Appointment

The Office of Undergraduate Student and Academic Affairs is experiencing staff changes resulting in a temporary shift with our student caseload. Given these circumstances, weekly Drop-in advising hours will resume for the Spring 2022 semester. We encourage you to plan ahead and schedule an appointment in advance. This will help us prepare an serve you better. Please note you do have an advisor (see below) and you can schedule an appointment with them based on the first letter of your last name here.

  • SOC student with Last Names A-E will be temporary advised by Sumaira Akber (sumaira@american.edu). When selecting an appointment, please note that Sumaira works remote on Mondays and all appointments will need to be conducted virtually .
  • SOC students with last names F-G will be temporary advised by Tara Flakker (flakker@american.edu)  in addition to her regular H-M students. Tara works remote on Fridays and all appointments will need to be conducted virtually.
  • SOC students with last names N-Z will be regularly advised by Jesse Nelson (jesse@american.edu). Jesse works remote on Thursdays and all appointments will need to be conducted virtually.

We appreciate your patience and understanding and wish you a successful semester!

SOC UNDERGRADUATE ADVISING SYLLABUS

What is Academic Advising?
The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) defines academic advising as a process which includes intentional interactions between a student and an academic advisor centered on student learning outcomes designed to encourage the student’s self-efficacy and development of meaningful educational and professional goals.

Academic Advising in the School of Communication
The School of Communication (SOC) uses an Appreciative Advising approach. This approach is built upon the framework of partnership where both the advisor and student collectively work to build a positive relationship where they get to know each other and explore interests and goals. It includes asking open-ended questions, developing short-term and long-term plans, monitoring academic progress, and empowering students to take ownership of their education. We find that this holistic, student-centered approach really works and we are truly invested in partnering with students to achieve academic and personal success.

Student Learning Outcomes
Through the academic advising process SOC students are expected to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Assess their personal and professional interests
  • Assess their academic abilities
  • Create an academic plan that fulfills all University and program requirements
  • Develop specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely (SMART) goals
  • Identify and utilize appropriate campus resources as needed

Expectations
What Students can expect of Academic Advisors:

  • Understand curriculum, policy
  • Referrals to campus resources
  • Help monitoring degree progress
  • Respond to emails in a timely manner
  • Be available and prepared for appointments
  • Maintain confidentiality

What Academic Advisors expect of Students:

  • Knowledge of curriculum, policy
  • Make use of campus resources
  • Keep track of their own degree progress
  • Keep a record of communications
  • Maintain an updated graduation plan
  • Communicate directly with family members about academic record

Grades
All majors in the School of Communication require that students maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. This means students need to average somewhere around a B-/C+ to remain in good academic standing within SOC. Remember, this is an average, so do not panic if your “A” suddenly gets a “B.” Even if you receive a “D” or an “F” it is important to connect with your academic advisor about options and accessing campus resources to help achieve academic success. Students must earn a “C” or better in courses for their major.

Milestones and Touch Points to Remember
The is intended to serve as a guide that is by no means an exhaustive list, which may need to be adjusted to your student’s individual circumstances

First Year Students:

  • Students work with First-Year Advisors
  • Go to class early and stay after to visit with professor and classmates
  • Get involved in campus organizations
  • Develop good time-management and school-life balance strategies
  • Continue to learn to problem solve and advocate for self 
  • Access campus resources for help when needed
  • Make new friends
  • Get adjusted to college life
  • Visit faculty office hours to start building connections
  • Attend SOC events to build network

Sophomores:

  • Declare a major – fall semester
  • Declare a minor or second major – spring semester
  • Meet with SOC academic advisor
  • Continue to learn to problem solve and advocate for self 
  • Create a graduation plan with advisor
  • Consult AU Abroad about study abroad planning
  • Visit the Career Center for help with resume and career planning advice

Juniors:

  • Many (not all) students will study abroad for at least 1 semester
  • Work with the Career Center to find an internship or summer job
  • Declare a minor or second major
  • Consider Bachelor’s/Master’s program or graduate school
  • Think about applying for national and international awards
  • Meet with advisor to plan for senior year/completion of degree requirements
  • Attend SOC events to build networks

Seniors:

  • Finalize graduation plan to ensure timely degree completion
  • Apply for graduation
  • Use Career Center resources to apply for jobs
  • Participate in Fall or Spring Commencement Ceremony
  • Attend SOC events to build network
  • Maintain connections with faculty beyond graduation
  • Join the Alumni Association to stay engaged with the AU community

Campus Resources
*Academic Support & Access Center (https://www.american.edu/provost/academic-access/) – ASAC supports the academic development and educational goals of all American University students. They provide a variety of tutoring and accommodation support services.

American University Library (https://www.american.edu/library/) – In addition to meeting with a librarian, the Library offers a variety of classes, workshops, tutorials, and technological support to provide students with assistance with their research projects.

Career Center (https://www.american.edu/careercenter/) – The Career Center supports students in finding internships and careers during and after their time at AU.

Center for Diversity and Inclusion (https://www.american.edu/ocl/cdi/index.cfm) – CDI works to advance American University’s commitment to respecting and valuing diversity by serving as a resource and liaison for students, staff, and faculty on issues of equity through education, outreach and advocacy.

*Counseling Center (https://www.american.edu/ocl/counseling/) – The Counseling Center provides free and confidential clinical services to support students in their intellectual, emotional, and social development.

*Dean of Students (https://www.american.edu/ocl/dos/) – The Dean of Students supports students in cases where personal difficulties such as hospitalization, injury, extended illness, family problems or mental health concerns are affecting academic progress.

Kay Spiritual Life Center (https://www.american.edu/ocl/kay/) – Kay is the University’s “house of prayer for all people” and is home to more than two dozen religious communities.

Mathematics & Statistics Tutoring Lab (https://www.american.edu/provost/academic-access/mathstat.cfm) – The Mathematics & Statistics Lab provides students with either drop-in hours or tutoring appointments on several mathematics or statistics courses offered at the University.

Office of Campus Life (https://www.american.edu/ocl/) – The Office of Campus Life is home to student-focused departments that provide key services and support around life at AU.

Writing Center (https://www.american.edu/provost/academic-access/writing-center.cfm) – The Writing Center provides students with free consultations where they can share their draft and get feedback about their writing.

*These offices may require the student’s written permission to share information about a student’s contact with the office or academic record.


Office Hours

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Office Location:
McKinley 104

Prospective students:

Contact the SOC Office of Student & Academic Affairs at 202-885-2061 or email us at communication@american.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

12 credit hours of communication courses may be transferred in prior to matriculation at AU and counted toward SOC major requirements, with SOC academic advisor approval. 2 communication courses, worth a total of 6 credit hours, may be taken abroad with prior approval from your SOC academic advisor. Refer to the Transfer Articulation Equivalency page to see if your courses will transfer. 

School of Communication students are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 in order to enroll in Communication courses at the 300 level or above. 

Students who earn a cumulative grade point average between 2.00 - 2.49 will be placed on academic warning and are required to meet with their academic advisor to develop a plan for raising their cumulative grade point average to a minimum 2.50. If students do not raise their cumulative GPA to a minimum 2.5 after one semester, they will be placed on academic probation and may face eventual academic dismissal. Students have the option of changing their major to one outside the School of Communication. In addition to meeting with their academic advisors and instructors, students should visit the Academic Support and Access Center to utilize academic support services.