UC Creates New Advising Award

The Undergraduate Council voted to create a new $500 award for exceptional first-year advising during its general meeting last night.

The award, which is scheduled to begin next year with the Class of 2015, was created in an effort to stimulate better freshmen advising.

In the legislation, which passed unanimously, the UC called first-year advising “the most under-appreciated and over-looked level of advising in the Harvard undergraduate advising system.”

The Undergraduate Council plans to solicit nominations from students, which will then be reviewed by the UC Education Committee, according to Phillip Z. Yao ’13, a co-sponsor of the award act.

The decision will then take into account both the volume of recommendations an adviser receives, as well as the quality of the recommendations.


“We want to give advisers an incentive,” Yao said. “This will give them something to look forward to.”

According to Yao, conversations with the Advising Programs Office (APO) have revealed that they believe this award has the potential to inspire improvement in advising, and, if publicized properly, could have a positive effect.

The award will not be given out until the end of the next academic year, so that the UC has time to publicize it.

“We didn’t want to do it this year because didn’t want to rush into it,” Yao said.

“It is important that not only advisers, but also that students, are aware of it,” he said.

Although there are four advisers who comprise an incoming freshman’s academic advising network, only the student’s freshman academic adviser will be eligible for the award.

Peer Advising Fellows, proctors, and resident deans will not be considered.

These advisers have the opportunity to be honored for exceptional performance through the John Marquand Award, a separate award that is jointly administered by the APO and UC. The Marquand Award recognizes excellence and dedication in the guidance of Harvard undergraduates.

While the award does not officially have a name, Yao said that the UC is thinking about naming the award after its first recipient next year.

Yao said that he hopes this is the first step in a continued effort by the Council to improve advising on campus.

In particular, Yao said, the UC would like to enhance the process for matching freshmen with their advisers.

—Staff writer Rachael E. Apfel can be reached at