Cherry Blossoms

Update from Dean Brian Reed on Humanities Advising - January 2020


It has been two months since my original message to the Humanities Division about the updated Divisional advising structure and I write this update to outline progress and next steps. A number of community members have contacted me about the undergraduate advising consolidation process, including messages from students who have asked important questions about how the new structure impacts their experience.

Between now and July 1, advising in Humanities departments will continue to follow the same structures currently in place. If changes in staff occur in the interim I have worked with our staff in C21 on contingency plans, including temporary advising assignments to support students and departments as needed.  Should we have to undertake any of these contingencies, please be assured that students will be notified.

The consolidated advising structure will be in place by July 1, 2020, and the hiring of several key staff members is already underway. We are currently searching for the new director and project manager, and anticipate that searches for three Humanities advisors will begin in February. It is important to note that all members of the consolidated structure have capacity for advising – including the director and project manager. Having a consolidated structure in place allows the team to direct resources to departments and students as demand dictates, and more efficiently coordinate with students seeking cross-disciplinary advising.

I am aware of the close relationships students have built with our advisors. As the new advising team comes together and develops processes and structures, I have every confidence that they will support the unique needs and individual priorities of our students to the greatest extent possible. 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.

My goal as Divisional Dean remains unchanged: to elevate the Humanities at the University of Washington and reinforce its place as an integral part of the UW’s liberal arts education. The decision to consolidate undergraduate advising in the Humanities is based on best practices at peer institutions as well as a desire to strengthen the Humanities as a division and to better serve its students. A consolidated advising structure is meant to provide a more integrated experience across our departments and encourage seamlessness in our offerings. As I noted in November, in the face of challenging enrollments for Humanities Departments, it is essential for us to find creative ways to deliver a first-class experience for our students and deliver on the university’s educational mission. We believe that the consolidation of undergraduate advising under a single roof is one more way for us to achieve that goal.


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