Historical Statement of Purpose: UWM Advising and Coaches (formerly Counselors) Network (ACN) Committee

The Counseling and Advising Network Committee at the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee was established in March, 1977 in response to one of the recommendations of the UWM Task Force authorized to study the implementation of Title IX policies on the UWM campus. One of its initial purposes was to provide information through seminars and workshops that would clarify the requirements of Title IX and other civil rights laws. The other was to develop cooperation among various academic units in the recruitment and advising of students in fields where their sex is underrepresented.

While activities in the above areas have continued, the ACN network has developed a broader overall purpose of improving counseling, advising, and other related services for all students on campus. Network membership is composed of academic advisors from the various schools and colleges along with representatives from departments in the Division of Student Services that perform counseling and advising functions.

Since its inception, the Network has sponsored many in-service seminars on a variety of topics for all University Personnel engaged in counseling or advising roles. The seminars have been well attended and the evaluations indicate participants have found them to be valuable in their professional development.

The Network Committee has developed and published a UWM resource and referral directory listing all faculty and staff who perform counseling or advising functions as part of their professional responsibilities. The directory has been distributed widely on campus and the high schools, colleges and other universities in the Wisconsin system. In addition, Network members have placed large poster board calendars in buildings throughout campus to alert students to important deadline dates each semester. They have also prepared and distributed a large quantity of bookmarks listing student services and telephone numbers.

A number of subcommittees have been formed to address particular issues and task: adult students, retention, in-service programs, advisor training, etc. Each of the subcommittees has been active in its respective area and in some cases has involved interested faculty and other campus personnel in its activities. Subcommittee projects have included receptions and workshops for adult students, the publication of a resource manual for training counselors and advisors, and a thirty-minute video tape on student retention. Other tapes and resource materials have been purchased by the Network and made available to faculty and staff.

The following specific objectives serve to direct the Network in its continuing work:

  • Facilitate cooperation and exchange of information between persons who perform advising and counseling functions through regularly scheduled meetings and (when resources are available) through the printing and distribution of an advising/counseling resource directory.
  • Organize and/or sponsor regular programs for professional development of advisors and counselors.
  • Continue to develop a library of resource materials to be used by advisors and counselors on campus.
  • Increase and improve academic support services for minority, adult and transfer students through informational workshops and orientation meeting sessions.
  • Encourage and support specific activities intended to increase the percentage of continuing students retained by the University.
  • Provide assistance in campus planning and policy development related to the counseling and advising of students.

On the campus of a large university such as UWM, individuals engaged in student personnel services can be found in every academic unit as well as non-academic components. The ACN has brought representatives from these areas in contact with each other and this has resulted in cooperative planning, inter-unit rapport and an effective referral system. The Network has developed into the single, most effective method of developing campus-wide commitment and cooperation in the delivery of student personnel services. With recent development and expansion of coaching roles on campus, as of May 2023, the network updated it’s name to the Advisors and Coaches Network.