Cherry Blossoms

Update from Dean Brian Reed on Humanities Advising - February 2020


The College has been intentional in balancing our goals to be open and consultative with our need to uphold confidentiality requirements. Since the initial announcement in November, we continue to have important conversations with current advisors, faculty and department chairs that have shaped the program. I’d like to provide an update on the process and clarify the impacts and new structure:

  • I and other staff from the Dean’s office met with all affected advising staff on November 8, 2019, to inform them directly of the plan. No formal layoff notice was given at that time, since any layoffs would not take effect until July 1, 2020. Our goal was to give affected staff as much notice as possible so they could make the decisions that best fit their own situations. I had talked with the chairs of departments with affected staff before November 8. We could not and do not discuss personnel issues publicly before talking with affected staff.
  • To date, two of the nine originally identified advisors have found other advising positions at UW. Where feasible, we are working with departments to reclassify some of the staff members so they can remain employed in their departments. We continue to encourage current Humanities advisors to apply for the new positions when they are posted.
  • Under the new structure, there will be six full-time staff in the Humanities Advising Center, three of which will be 100% FTE, 12-month advisors as suggested by advisors and departments early in our discussions.
  • In addition to the three FTEs, both the Director and the Transition Project Manager will see students for a total of at least 3.5 advising FTE. That would result in an advising ratio of 1:311 for the current quarter, where we have 1087 majors. In addition, the Humanities Advising Center will include a front-desk administrative staff member to provide additional student support.

I want to reiterate that this decision is not a budget cut and is grounded in a desire to use our shared resources in a way that best supports students across the division by creating a flexible, responsive structure. I know that many students have built close relationships with our advisors, and I recognize that this transition is not easy. As the new advising team comes together, I have every confidence that they will support the unique needs and individual priorities of our students. Our goal is to retain and strengthen the positive benefits of advising in the Humanities that students have come to expect while broadening the scope and reach of those services to include all of the Humanities.

As has been our practice since my initial announcement in early November, this message will be posted and available on the College’s Administrative Gateway in the advising section. 


Brian Reed
Divisional Dean of the Humanities
Milliman Endowed Chair in the Humanities
College of Arts and Sciences