For More Information

Sybil Schlesinger
Program Administrator
sybilsch@brandeis.edu
(781) 736-2103

udr faqs

General

What am I required to do as a UDR?
How do I let my fellow major/minors know that I’m a UDR?
How do I let the faculty and staff in my department know about the UDR program?
What is the UDR Council?
Which staff members in the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences are available to help me?  When are they available?

Programming/Event Planning

What kind of events/programming should I do?
What else can I do other than a “meet the majors”?
I have an idea for an event.  Who can help me?
Too few people came to my event.  What can I do to get more people next time?
How do I get faculty from my department/program involved in UDR events?

Collaborating

I feel like I’m doing all the work.  What can I do?
Faculty/staff in my department are not responsive to our ideas.  What can I do?
Which other offices can help me?
I would like to ask the opinion of other UDRs.  How do I contact them?

Advising

What is my role in advising students?
Are there any advising questions I shouldn’t answer?
Where can I get information about advising?

Funding

How much funding do I have from the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences?
How do I get reimbursed?
I’ve lost my receipts. Can I still be reimbursed?
Are there other sources of funding?

                                                                                                                              

General


What am I required to do as a UDR?
Review the list of responsibilities for a list of general requirements for all UDRs.  Then, talk to your department/program about projects and goals specific to your major/minor that you would like to accomplish.

How do I let my fellow major/minors know that I’m a UDR?
You can post flyers around your department/program.  The Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences (DAS) can provide you with examples or you can design your own.  Visit intro classes and classes with large enrollments; ask the professor if you can speak to their class for a few minutes to introduce yourself and share any information about events that you are planning.  You can also send an introductory email to all majors/minors.

How do I let the faculty and staff in my department know about the UDR program?
Draft an “intro letter” that you can use to explain who you are and how you're willing to help the department/program.  Ask the academic administrator to email it to all faculty, or you can print it out and place it in the mailboxes within your department/program office.  You can also ask if you can attend a department meeting for a few minutes to introduce yourself.

What is the UDR Council?
The UDR Council is comprised of current UDRs, representing departments and interdepartmental programs from all four schools of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Council meets monthly to discuss UDR program activities and advise the Dean's office on new initiatives, policy changes, and other topics concerning the UDR program.  A list of current council members is available here.

Which staff members in the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences are available to help me?  When are they available?
The primary contact person is Sybil Schlesinger.   Sybil works part-time so emailing before stopping by is the best course of action for advising help and/or reimbursements. Elaine Wong is also available for consultations.  It's always best to call or email for an appointment on her busy schedule.

Programming/Event Planning


What kind of events/programming should I do?
It is up to you and your department/program to decide what programming is best.  You can get some ideas from past UDRs.  Instructions for running a “Meet the Majors” or an Internship Event or an Alumni Career Panel are also available.  You can also take a survey of your majors/minors and find out what they would like.

What else can I do other than a “meet the majors”?

UDRs have organized a wide variety of events, such as lectures, group discussions, or exhibitions.  You also don’t have to do an “event”; you could provide a service (e-mail newsletters, for example) or attend faculty meetings to provide the student perspective.  Talk to your fellow majors/minors in addition to UDR's from other departments/programs to get ideas.  The most requested programs on our recent campus-wide UDR assessment survey were:  1) Internship Panels  2) Opportunities to meet with Alums  3) What do you do with a major in xxx?  and 4) Meet the Majors.  Other ways UDRs can have an impact are to attend faculty meetings, participate in job searches, meet with fellow students to identify department issues, and then meet with department faculty and staff to problem-solve, hold office hours to meet with and advise students, host review sessions, ask seniors to host a panel on how to do senior theses, and for the sciences, host a panel on the various labs and potential research and/or employment options.

I have an idea for an event.  Who can help me?

The staff members in your department/program office are the best resource.  Other offices on campus (Hiatt, Study Abroad, Experiential Learning) can provide information and assistance depending on the topic of your event.  And DAS is also available for consultation.

Too few people came to my event.  What can I do to get more people next time?
There may be many reasons, but the most common problems are the day, time, location of the event, and inadequate publicity.  The best thing you can do for future events is plan as far in advance as possible.  Check in with the department/program staff and consult campus event calendars to make sure that your event does not compete with another event for the same type of audience.  Have your event at a time of day that does not conflict with classes and is convenient.  Make sure that you adequately publicize the event by sending emails, posting flyers, and best of all, talking to as many people as possible personally and asking them to come.  Consider collaborating with one or more other department/program UDRs to encourage more students to attend (see below).

How do I get faculty from my department/program involved in UDR events?
For faculty and staff, personal invitations get a better response.  Ask for their participation well in advance of the date, and explain the importance of their attendance.  If you want a particular person, be prepared to be flexible with the date and time to accommodate them.  Continue to remind them about the event as the date gets closer.  And lastly, after the event is over, thank them for their participation.

Collaborating


I feel like I’m doing all the work.  What can I do?
Talk to your co-UDR(s) and tell them how you feel about the situation.  Don’t accuse, but try to discuss the situation as a problem that you would like to have them help you solve.  Instead of saying “I feel like I’m doing all of the work and would like some help,” you could say “I feel overwhelmed by the amount of UDR work I have to do right now, and I would appreciate it if you can help with some if it so that our event is successful.”  Many times it is not that your co-UDR does’t want to help; they may be very busy themselves and feel like they can’t commit the time.  If you plan ahead, you can each try being responsible for a particular event/program, and choosing a time of year when you know you can take on the work.  If you try to work out the issue with your co-UDR and still feel like there is a problem, talk to the UDR Council or Sybil Schlesinger.

Faculty/staff in my department are not responsive to our ideas.  What can I do?
Make an appointment to talk to DAS; they can help with strategies for negotiating with your department/program.

Which other offices can help me?
Refer to the list of offices that collaborate with UDRs.  They are always available for information, and in some cases, may also help organize the event and provide funding.

I would like to ask the opinion of other UDRs.  How do I contact them?
If you would like to ask all of them, send a message to Sybil Schlesinger, who will then review and broadcast it to the UDR listserv.  If you would like to talk to only a particular groups (e.g., all Creative Arts UDRs, or only those from languages) you can find their names and contact information on the current UDR list.

Advising


What is my role in advising students?
UDRs are considered the primary student contact for information about the specific major, minor, or program that they represent.  You should familiarize yourself with the requirements for your major/minor from the University Bulletin.  You can expect questions from current majors/minors, undeclared undergraduates, and students applying or interested in applying to Brandeis.

Are there any advising questions I shouldn’t answer?
You are not required to answer any question with which you do not feel comfortable.  However, you should be prepared to find the answer by consulting with someone else, such as the undergraduate advising head, or to refer them to another staff member of the university. 


Where can I get information about advising?
The Academic Services website is the best source for general information.  For specific questions about your major/minor, talk to your Undergraduate Advising Head.  For information about Active Listening and Advising Interactions, see the UDR Handbook.

Funding


How much funding do I have from the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences?
There is no set limit for funding for a particular event; however, funding is limited, so spending should be kept modest (e.g., snacks instead of full dinner). The average “per event” spending in 2014-15 was about $70.  Let DAS know your projected budget as far in advance as possible; they can help you resolve any budget issues.  Be sure to apply for UDR funding as soon as possible!  You cannot apply for funding after your event has already taken place.

How do I get reimbursed?
Save all your original receipts.  Refer to the funding section in the UDR Handbook for a list of other necessary information.  Speak to or email Sybil if you have any questions.

I’ve lost my receipts. Can I still be reimbursed?
Probably, but we cannot guarantee it.  Situations with missing paperwork are handled on a case by case basis.  Talk to Sybil about your options.

Are there other sources of funding?
Ask your department/program if funds might be available.  Also, if you are collaborating with another office, ask them if there are any sources of funding that they can provide.  There are also grants available from various offices (Brandeis Pluralism Alliance, Ethics Center, etc.), depending on the topic or the goal of your project, for which you can apply.