Annalisa Purser, communications specialist, University Marketing and Communications

University College was born in 1998 and serves as the focus of advising support for students transitioning to the University of Utah — whether they are still exploring their options or they already know what they want to study. University College recently changed its name to the Academic Advising Center to more accurately reflect the services it offers. The Academic Advising Center still provides students with the tools and resources to explore majors and outline a path to graduation, but the new name helps everyone better recognize the office.

@TheU spoke with Beth Howard, associate dean of the Academic Advising Center, to learn more about what the center does and how the name change impacts  the campus community.

Q: What is academic advising?

A: Academic advising is a full spectrum of services to students that includes assistance with major exploration, academic and professional goal identification, identification of university resources and policies, and degree planning.

Advisors typically work individually with students with the goal of maximizing their experience at the U. It’s more than selecting  classes, advisors help students design an academic path that will enable them to complete their degrees within a reasonable timeframe and adequately prepare them for their post-college lives.

Q: What programs are in the Academic Advising Center, and how do they support student success?

A: Our office is designed to help all students who have not declared a major. Exploratory students are assigned to an advisor who works with them throughout the major exploration process. Additionally, our advisors help students who are on the pre-law or pre-health track but may still be exploring a specific major.

The Major Exploration Program includes open houses and the annual Major Expo where students can learn about a variety of degree options at once.

PreProfessional advising is available to students who are interested in pursuing graduate degrees in law and the health professions. This ensures that they have a plan to meet all the requirements needed for those professions.

The Transfer Program works to support the advising needs of students as they transition to the U. We work with advisors across campus to provide necessary advising at key points during a student’s time at the U. This ensures they are meeting their milestones and progressing toward a degree.

Additionally, the office administers academic standards such as the Dean’s List and academic probation. It also provides advising technologies, such as My Degree Dashboard (formerly DARS), and programs designed to help other campus advisors.

Q: How many advisors does the Academic Advising Center have and where are they located?

A: We have 21 staff members with varying levels of advising responsibilities and are linked to 14 advisors from academic departments or colleges who participate in our Bridge Advising Program. The Transfer Program advisors also provide on-site advising at Salt Lake Community College on a regular basis.

Most of our advisors are located in the Student Services Building (SSB) in Room 450. We also have advisors on the second floor of the Marriott Library and in HPER North; the Pre-Professional Advising Office is in Building 44.

You can sign up for an advising appointment online at or by calling the Academic Advising Center at (801) 581-8146

Q: How will the change impact services or programs?

A: Our services will not change as a function of the new name. The objective was to make our services more transparent, inclusive and accessible. We want students to know who we are and what we can do for them.