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Economic Dept. To Change Advising

By Gautam S. Kumar, Crimson Staff Writer

The Economics Department recently gained authorization last week to push for a new concentration advising structure for the next academic year that would see three of the current seven graduate student advisors replaced by one staff member dedicated to concentration advising, according to Economics Department Director of Undergraduate Studies Jeffrey A. Miron.

The plan approved so far, which is only part of what the department hopes to implement in a larger-scale redevelopment of concentration advising, would grant concentrators one key staff member whose time will be devoted to undergraduates’ concerns, Miron said.

"While our past advisors have dedicated energy to their jobs, they were also students," Miron said. "When you have someone’s job is to be an advisor, there’s an obvious benefit in that specialization."

Miron said that the plan would also provide the benefits of continuity in advising and ease in identifying a point person for advising issues.

"Students will be working with one person, instead of graduate students who will ultimately graduate," Miron said. Having a level of "identifiability"—having one person instead of three—will also help students be more comfortable approaching their concentration advisor, he added.

Currently, the department hopes to add at least two staff concentration advisors in the next few years.

As of yet, according to Miron, the costs associated with additional staff hires may not increase the total expenditures of the current concentration advising program.

"We might be spending less on graduate students and more on staff, and it’s unclear if we’re going to be running much higher costs," Miron said.

Miron added that he did not think that any potential addition to expenditures would "crowd out faculty hiring."

This actual plan comes after a few years of discussions of changing the advising structure, which Miron said was "appropriate" given the prolonged nature of vetting proposed structural changes.

—Staff writer Gautam S. Kumar can be reached at gkumar@college.harvard.edu.

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