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92 Percent of Harvard GSAS Students Satisfied with Advising, Survey Reveals

Lehman Hall is the main building for the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Lehman Hall is the main building for the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. By Jessica M. Wang
By Luke A. Williams, Crimson Staff Writer

Ninety-two percent of respondents to a survey conducted among Graduate School of Arts and Sciences students said they are satisfied with their advising, according to a press release posted on the GSAS website Jan. 22.

The survey also revealed that 87 percent reported satisfaction with the quality of instruction inside their academic program. GSAS surveyed all second-year students and above during the 2018 fall registration period. The survey — which focused on “quality of instruction,” “experience with advisors,” “professional development opportunities,” and “knowledge and utilization of resources” — received a response rate of 93 percent.

GSAS Dean Emma Dench said in the press release that she plans to focus her efforts on improving the quality of academic advising. She added that preserving and improving the quality of advising at GSAS is one of the school’s most critical concerns.

“I am making advising a priority of my tenure as dean and will be launching a project over the next year that will investigate advising methods and develop expectations for the most effective practices,” Dench said.

GSAS administrators will also be working to increase access to and knowledge about non-academic careers within the graduate student community, according to the press release. The survey found that 54 percent of respondents reported receiving encouragement to explore non-academic careers from their department.

Administrators will work to address the lack of exposure to non-academic opportunities by continuing their work with the Office of Career Services to create programming that promotes the visibility of such careers, according to the press release.

Eighty percent of students said they achieved a satisfying work/life balance, and 90 percent said their advisors helped them achieve this.

Concerning professional development, 74 percent reported receiving “excellent or good assistance” in developing professional skills. Satisfaction for opportunities in fieldwork and laboratory assignments is also high, reported at 76 percent and 79 percent, respectively.

Survey results also revealed that respondents are more likely to contact peers than department faculty or administrators when faced with questions concerning GSAS policies and procedures. GSAS Dean of Student Affairs Garth O. McCavana said in the press release that the survey results show administrators must encourage students to engage more frequently with the school’s staff and resources.

“What these results show is that we have to increase our outreach and encourage students to connect with GSAS,” McCavana said.

—Staff writer Luke A. Williams can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @LukeAWilliams22.

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