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Press Release

Contact:
Jonathan Potts
412-268-6094

For immediate release:
March 7, 2003

Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh and Slippery Rock to Sponsor Academic Advising Conference

PITTSBURGH—Pittsburgh will be the location for the 2003 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of the National Academic Advising Association, jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and Slippery Rock University.

The conference will take place April 2-4, 2003 at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel. About 300 academic advisors and related college and university officials are expected to attend, said Steve Pajewski, conference chairman and associate director of the Information Systems Program at Carnegie Mellon.

Academic advisors have a range of duties, from helping students pick a program of study to ensuring they take the necessary courses to earn their degree to helping them find scholarship and internship opportunities.

"Academic advising is the only sustained, one-on-one relationship a student has at an institution," Pajewski said.

Academic advisors have never been more important to students, who are under increasing pressure to complete their degrees on time, Pajewski said. Nationwide, the proportion of students who graduate in four years has slipped to about 31 percent, down from 45 percent in 1977, and the proportion of students who take longer than six years to graduate has risen to 30 percent. "Academic advisors are in the perfect place to help them finish their degrees," Pajewski said.

Academic advisors also are crucial to the success of the growing number of nontraditional students, who are trying to earn a degree while balancing the demands of work and family. Thirty-nine percent of all postsecondary students were older than 25 in 1999, up from 28 percent in 1970.

"Advising helps the student to balance all these responsibilities that they have. What the advisor does is give them a realistic appraisal of what it is they're going to need to do in this endeavor, whether it's getting a certificate, getting a degree or taking courses to boost their professional development," said Dean Julian, senior academic consultant and counselor in the College of General Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

For conference details, visit www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~sp4g/conference/index.html. You may also call Steve Pajewski at 412-268-9592 or Jonathan Potts at 412-268-6094.

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