Campus Life

  • Successful Bagelpalooza
  • Oscar Event tonight in John Jay Lounge. 6:30PM.
  • Met with Dean Valentini’s communications team to discuss sending out a survey to all CC students about the communications they receive (i.e. email from CCE, CSA, Summer Ecosystems) and looking to see if there are better ways to send out this information.
  • Meeting with the Archivist this week to look at photographs for the display cases. Ideas of topics include history of College traditions (i.e. Bacchanal, Yule Log) or the history of the College itself.
  • Rolling out Columbia’s new Student Resources page after Spring Break.
  • Meeting with the Registrar this Tuesday to discuss reducing last minute cancellations and double-bookings.
  • We will have shirt and tank samples available for viewing later this week.
  • We have confirmed space for our post-Bacchanal BBQ.
  • Planning daylight savings event with Dining and ESC for next week.
  • Continuing to plan study break for next week.
Student Services
  • GHAP: Had a very constructive meeting about Columbia’s approach to HIV treatment, counseling and outreach. We will be collaborating on new, effective forms of outreach.
  • Addressing Microaggressions: working with Lambda, ONYX, and OMA on an event to address microaggressions on campus.


The State of CSA

  • Presentation of the “State of CSA Advising” report.
  • In 2009 and 2010, there was an initiative to speak with students and faculty to determine how CSA should operate.
  • Came up with the CSA Mission Statement: To help students become the best possible versions of themselves.
  • At the time, they also made a commitment to self-assessment.
  • CSA comprises 32 advisors, 11 with PhDs. One third have a background in education, and another third have a background in counseling and psychology.
  • There is a lot of in-house cross-training to facilitate intra-CSA professional development.
  • The report recaps the history of advising at Columbia since 1998.
  • Advising centers were merged into CSA in 2007-8.
  • The ration of advisees to students was 430:1 in 1998, but the eventual goal is 230:1.
  • Architecture is designed to model a street, much like College Walk.
  • Structure as of 2010: Academic Department Liaisons, Pre-professional Advising and Academic Support, First-Generation and Other Scholars, Advising Specialties, Administration and Planning, and Community Outreach (student-facing, oversees social media, CSA talks, and other programming). Each adviser also serves as a general adviser.
  • There has been a drop in the ratio of advisers to students in recent years, with the exception of 2013 (two advising positions were lost).
  • CSA also works with alumni looking for help with law school, MBA, medical school, and general graduate school admissions and applications.
  • Survey highlights: “Advisers are knowledgeable” and “CSA meets my academic advising needs” have had large increases between 2011 and 2013.
  • In 2012-13, there were over 23,000 advising appointments during the academic year. Over 100 students on average visit the CSA per day. Additionally, advisers met with almost 100% of the incoming class during NSOP.
  • Summer advising session are offered in many cities through the US and around the world.
  • The newest CSA initiative is called ARISE: Academic Resources in Support of Excellence. The focus of the initiative is tutoring, academic skill building, and advising for research and other scholarly activity.
  • CSA also houses many first-generation college student-focused initiatives. This year, they launched a First-Generation Brunch Series that is centered on both programming and networking. They are hoping to expand this in future years to include a First-Gen orientation, a mentorship programming, seminars, and engagement with alumni.
  • The next steps CSA would like to take include improving adviser retention, reducing adviser-to-student ratios, increasing the number of science advisers, enhancing tutoring, developing the first-gen initiative, and continuing to build partnership with other departments.
  • Councilmembers questioned whether CUSP participants are allowed to switch to general advisers, to which Dean Rinere said they could.
  • Others asked for the online system to be updated to allow students to make more than two appointments per week.
  • Dean Rinere also spoke of how the department has struggled to increase the percentage of students who read their emails, and welcomed any feedback to the system.
  • Council also discussed the responsiveness of students to their CSA advisers. Dean Rinere spoke to how the current advising system of NSOP appointments may not be developing the adviser-advisee relationship as intended. She also discussed how she would like to increase the presence of CSA advisers on campus.
  • CCSC President Daphne Chen asked whether it would be possible for changes to academic policies to come through CSA as well as department of academic affairs. Dean Rinere said that Columbia operates different than peer schools, where changes to policies occur at only specific periods of time. Columbia often changes policies throughout the semester, which can cause difficulties for updating the online system infrastructure.
  • CSA advisers detailed experiences in which students have a very difficult time asking for help until they are experiencing a crisis.
  • One councilmember asked how students could more proactively interact with their CSA adviser, and Dean Rinere answered that students should feel more comfortable opening up on personal experiences with their advisers.
  • Others advisers offered that you do not need to have a “point of business” to meet with your CSA adviser.
  • At peer institutions, advising is centered within a residential college system. However, Dean Rinere does not feel that this system is effective, for there are far too many advisers with too few resources at their disposable. There is very high adviser turnover, so there is a lack of continuity in the adviser-advisee relationship. Additionally, these advisers are less available than they are at Columbia. Here, the professional advisers are full-time and have no other focuses rather than advising students.
  • At CSA, the adviser training program includes shadowing a current adviser, a short training program over two weeks, and other small components. Each adviser also receives an annual assessment of their services so they can tailor their professional development to their own assessments.


Mythbusters: The Four-Class Semester

  • Task force lead by Academic Affairs Representative Nora Habboosh investigated whether it is possible to tackle your major, the Core, and several independent studies and take only four classes per semester.
  • After the Core, you are left with only 64 points to take your major courses.
  • The assessment found that it is almost impossible to take four classes per semester and finish the Core and one major.
  • At peer institutions, students generally take only four courses per semester, and more importantly, most courses are only one credit.
  • At Columbia, the University must meet New York State law which states does not allow institutions to have one credit per class.
  • The assessment found that many departments do not take the Core into account when looking at major requirements.
  • Dean Valentini has said that he understands there is a problem with academic stress, but wants a solution to come from the student body.
  • Some councilmembers asked whether our issue arises from Columbia not having standard Friday classes, but other members of CCSC shot down that idea by pointing out that Columbia’s lectures run longer than lectures at peer institutions, which should therefore not affect the credit system.



  • GSSC: There will be an Our Blue tailgate for the basketball game this coming Saturday at Pupin Plaza. GSSC would like a financial contribution from CCSC.
  • Pre-Professional: Representative Mary Joseph is looking into having career-specific career counselors. She is not supportive of this idea because CCE currently recommends advisers to students based on how their interests link up with each adviser’s areas of expertise.
  • Senate: The town hall to discuss the sexual assault adjudication process will take place on Thursday, March 13th.



  • Many students were not aware that the drop deadline was extended a few extra days.