The College Advisement Center
The College of Fine Arts and Communications Advisement Center is located in D-444 of the Harris Fine Arts Center and offers the following services:
- New student orientation for freshman and transfer students
- General Education information
- Major information for Animation, Communications, Music, Theatre and Media Arts, Music Dance Theatre, and Visual Arts
- Major Academic Plans (MAPS) for each major, admission criteria and application procedures.
- Pre-major academic advisement to help you plan schedules and review the admission process for each major
- Major advisement with an academic advisor to create individualized graduation plans and review general education and major requirements
- Declaring majors within the College of Fine Arts and Communications
- Minor Clearance forms for minors in the College of Fine Arts and Communications
- Registration information with each semester or term
- Registration access "flags" for specific major courses requiring departmental approval
- Add/Drop cards
- University forms such as challenge exam forms, transfer equivalency, ecclesiastical endorsements, major modification forms, graduation applications, etc.
- Graduation information and applications
Advisement Center Supervisors
- Yvonne Miller (1970-1973)
- Beverly Hillam Chynoweth (1973-1989)
- Brenda Butterfield (1989-2008)
- Julee Braithwaite (2009-present)
Advisement History and Evolution
Creation of the Advisement Center
As BYU entered the late sixties, it was clear that drastic changes needed to be made to the academic planning process. University President Ernest L. Wilkinson acknowledged the lack of one-on-one academic advisement and saw the frustration this created for both students and faculty.
In 1970, Erland Peterson was appointed as the University Advisement Coordinator. Peterson was eager to amend the program and contacted the College of Fine Arts and Communications about piloting an advisement program during the 1970 to 1971 academic year.
During this pilot period Dean Lorin F. Wheelwright’s secretary, Yvonne Miller, visited with each student in the college. She reviewed their class selections and then sent them to speak with faculty advisors, prior to clearing the classes for registration. This program lasted only a few years. The burden of advising all the students in addition to her regular secretarial duties proved to be too heavy of a work load. Clearly, a different solution was needed.
Working together, Associate Dean of Registration and Records Bob Spencer and his good friend Alvin Harold Goodman, Chair of the Music Department, discussed the benefits of creating an Advisement Center in each college. Under their plan, Advisement Centers would be independent offices funded by the individual colleges, thus giving each college greater control over their curriculum. The College of Fine Arts and Communications was once again asked to pilot this program.
This newly organized center advised students on a one-on-one basis, via the phone and in person. It also kept a file on each student and submitted names for graduation following the completion of coursework. The overall result was a more user-friendly system of planning for registration and academic progress.
According to the 1973-74 Course Catalog,
Students receive help in planning for registration from three major sources:
1. This catalog outlines the basic requirements for graduation in the 22 areas of emphasis encompassed in the Department of Art and Design, Communications, Music and Speech and Dramatic Arts.
2. Students who need help in assessing their potential competence are assigned to faculty members within the departments for personal consultation. Here their skills and talents are explored, and in some cases prognostic tests are given to potential success.
3. All students who register as majors in any of the college departments are urged to consult with the College Advisement Center in room D-444 HFAC. Individual student records showing progress to date and courses needed to complete requirements are available for inspection by the student and academic advisers, who plan a schedule for course completion. (Pg. 86)
This new three-fold approach to advisement was revolutionary.
The organization and function of the Advisement Center continued to evolve over the next several years. In October 1975, Butterfield was offered a full-time position as the Advisement Secretary. She was responsible for running the front desk, answering questions, making appointments, managing student files and maintaining the continuity of the office.
In 1976 the Advisement Center was given another responsibility – planning college convocation ceremonies. Chynoweth organized the College of Fine Arts and Communications Convocation for the first time in April 1976. The Center has managed these events ever since.
The development of an effective advisement system was exciting, but painfully tedious at the same time. All of the work was done by hand – counting credits and classes, recounting credits and classes, and processing clearance sheets.
Finally, during the 1978-1979 school year, the Advisement Center received its first computer. The computer quickened the process of updating records and preparing for individual student advisement appointments.
Into the EightiesDepartment of Communications, the Department of Music, the Department of Speech and Dramatic Arts and the Department of Art and Design. However, in 1982, the Department of Art and Design was split into two distinct departments. Along with this change, Butterfield was promoted from Advisement Secretary to Academic Advisor and Mandy Merrill was hired as the new Advisement Secretary.
That same year, James A. Mason was appointed as dean of the college. He recognized the need for physical changes in the Advisement Center and approved funds for the space to be re-painted, re-carpeted, and re-furnished. The remodel facilitated efficiency, which was important as college enrollment had soared to 2,474 total enrollment, with 493 students graduating.
During June 1984 Julee Braithwaite joined the Advisement Center as a student receptionist. The following year she became a student advisor. Only a few months after Braithwaite was introduced into the office, Merrill’s full-time staff position was transferred back to the Dean’s Office, leaving the front desk without a full-time supervisor. The staffing change had a profound affect on the office since enrollment for that year had again increased, reaching 2,538.
The following year, changes were made to help the office respond to the increasing enrollment. The Department of Communications began to limit enrollment in their programs, a policy which has remained intact since. Additionally, computerized progress reports were mailed to each student at the end of the semester. This program lessoned the strain on the Advisement Center, by updating students on their status without them having to come into the office for consultation.
Throughout the remainder of the eighties, the Advisement Center kept adjusting to the growing enrollment, which had reached just over 3,400 students. The need for efficient advisement and effective record keeping was emphasized. Staff meetings often discussed ways that technology could be incorporated to increase efficiency.
The Advisement Center maintained their focus on one-on-one service during this period. In 1988, Chynoweth and Butterfield attended the National Academic Advising Association Conference in Seattle for the first time. They came away from the meeting with ideas about how to improve the services offered by their Center and how to implement the new General Education program the university had just approved.
Even more changes were made the following year, in 1989, as Chynoweth retired and Butterfield was promoted to Supervisor of the Advisement Center. The office was restructured with Braithwaite becoming a full-time advisor, and Mialah Lohman, a student employee in the office, being promoted to part-time advisor. Two student information clerks were hired to work at the front desk. The office also began to schedule appointments rather than operating off of walk-in traffic.
The office space itself saw many changes during this transition period. The computers were upgraded, a new telephone system was installed, and the lighting in the office was redone.
Additionally, large scale academic changes were made. The Advisement Center resumed responsibility for Music Dance Theatre students, all of whom had temporarily been moved to the College of Health and Human Performance. They also began tracking liberal arts and sciences credits for the Department of Communications, in preparation for the department’s accreditation.
Some of the major accomplishments for that year included improved relationships with communications transfer students from Rick’s College and increased participation in New Student Orientation, with 51% of new students in the college attending prior to fall semester. Alumni lists were also compiled for each department and a total of over 1,900 students were advised in the office that year.
The Growth of the Nineties
As the Advisement Center entered the nineties, things were running more efficiently than ever before. The Center was committed to assisting the departments and worked closely with various faculty members on a number of projects. The Advisement Center was not just helping students put together class schedules, but also to network with professors and alumni. Orientation attendance rates soared, and the Advisement Center received an excellent rating from 93% of the students who attended. In 1990, college enrollment peaked with 3,516 students and 823 graduating.
In 1995, Bruce L. Christensen was appointed as dean of the college. His leadership focused on customer service and training. Christensen personally held several training seminars each year, which helped renew the Advisement Center’s focus on individual care. This became especially important as college enrollment continued to grow.
In 1996, an advisement position was created to mentor incoming freshman during their first year. This advisor helped students plan out their educational experience at BYU, in regards to both their major and general education course work. This advisor also helped direct students to faculty members who could assist them within their specific disciplines. The addition of this position enabled the Advisement center to guide students from the day they entered the university until they graduated, thus exemplifying Christensen’ teachings on the importance of customer service in education.
The Modern Advisement Center
In 2001, K. Newell Dayley became the dean of the college. He was often quoted asking, “Where is the student in all of this?” Dayley continually emphasized the importance of focusing on individual students. He introduced a system where students who fail to be accepted to BYU could appeal by being recommended for admission by a mentoring faculty member, their prospective Department, and the Dean’s Office. Dayley served as dean until 2004 when he was promoted to working as part of the University administration and replaced by Stephen M. Jones as dean.
In 2008, Becky Meng left the Advisement Center after 10 years advising music students and Brenda Butterfield retired from after 33 years working with the Advisement Center. During their tenure, they watched the Center evolve into the efficient center it is today.
The center currently employees four advisors – Julee Braithwaite, Rosemary Frederico, Heather Severson and Debby Hendrickson – as well as five student information clerks.