Academic Services

Nov. 10, 2020

Academic Services includes the units and function of: Academic Advising, Academic Fellowships Advising, Pre-Health Advising, the Student Support Services Program (SSSP), the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP), the MLK Fellows, Student Accessibility Support, BUGS tutoring, Roosevelt Fellows, Faculty Ambassadors, and the Gen One Network.

Academic Services Mission

In establishing the Academic Services mission statement in 2016, there was an intentionality of centering diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work, rather than having them as an add-on or afterthought as we have seen with many other mission statements.

Academic Services upholds a culture of inclusivity as we engage a diverse community of students, faculty, and campus partners. We promote the growth of students as scholars and citizens through comprehensive advising and support over the course of their academic journey. We provide resources and opportunities that strengthen students’ ability to define and achieve their academic goals, develop resilience, and lead meaningful lives.

As a team that has changed and evolved over the past several years, we have had an ongoing commitment to these values, and welcome the opportunity to be in conversation with the organizers of the Black Action Plan to hold us accountable to our commitments, and engage in self-examination to move beyond diversity and inclusion to equity for Black students in the Brandeis community.

Below we outline our current actions and ongoing commitment to becoming an antiracist office. We welcome feedback and engagement on all.

We begin by providing the following details responses to the Black Action Plan list of demands for which we do have some agency and resources to affect change:

Black Action Plan Demand Academic Services Response
Increase Inclusive Mindfulness within Academic Administration & Services Yes, we commit to increasing our inclusive mindfulness
Lack of transparency with administration and situations with the student body (Lack of accountability) Yes, we commit to increasing transparency and accountability in our policies, processes, and practices
Hire more Academic Service Counselors/Advisors of Color Yes, we commit to increasing diversity in our hiring processes
Provide Black and POC students with academic advisors of color to allow them the opportunity to feel more comfortable and prepared when occupying predominantly white classroom spaces and course rigor, while attending a predominantly white institution Yes, we invite students to work with the advisor who most affirms their identity, and supports their needs
Provide Black and POC students the option to work with various academic administrators of color to make a more diverse, inclusive, and representative academic environment among Black and POC students Yes, we similarly invite BIPOC students to work with administrators of color to “make a more diverse, inclusive, and representative academic environment among Black and POC students”
Increase the promotion of cultural courses during the student advising process (i.e., Afro and African American Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, Language studies, etc.) Yes, we will explicitly highlight the DJW and DEIS-US requirements as unique to Brandeis and its values, encouraging students to take these early on in their career when advising on course selection
Advisors should encourage engagement in these cultural courses while also informing students of resources that they can utilize to succeed within these classes. Yes, we will encourage engagement in these courses, and inform students of resources to help them succeed
Prohibit academic counselors from discouraging students from taking courses in departments such as AAAS because of the “challenge” Yes, we will prohibit advisors from discouraging students from taking courses in departments such as AAAS because of the “challenge,” rather informing students of resources to help them succeed as noted above