Emerging Initiative: University Peer Advising Link (ULink) | UVA Student Council


What is ULink? What are its goals?  

ULink is the University Peer Advising Link. The Peer Advising Link serves as a peer advising program for all undergraduate students at the University of Virginia. The program follows the University Board of Visitors’ Strategic Vision to strengthen advising at the University.

For those organizations and student groups that already have advising programs, ULink may serve as an optional supplement, or compliment, for the student. The program does not nullify or overshadow these programs, and will operate with developed partnerships with such programs.

 Who does ULink serve?

ULink covers all undergraduate schools in some capacity, but primarily serves first year students in the College of Arts and Sciences (CLAS), the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), the School of Nursing (NURS), the School of Architecture (ARCH), and the Curry School of Education (CURRY). Advisors will be assigned to students in each school proportional to the size of the school. ULink will have small number of “consultants” for the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy (BATTEN) and the McIntire School of Commerce (COMM.  Similarly, there will be a few “liaisons” for the Pre-Law and Pre-Med tracks.

Who composes the organization?

~Advisees: A large portion of first year students and a few second year students who carry over. Students will be roughly matched with advisors with their academic interest.

~Advisors: Upperclassmen, largely 3rd years, will serve as advisors. These individuals will be well rounded and trained to understand the academic system.

How is it organized?

~Co-Chair: This is the official head of the organization. The Chair supervises the work of the vice chairs, works in close partnership with Office of the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, administrators from each school, and other advising programs at the University (OAAA, APAA). The Chair sets the tone and vision of the organization.

~Vice Chair of Outreach: This Vice Chair manages Public Relations and Marketing, and will be responsible for informing the first years of the program and upperclassmen of the organization. The Vice Chair will head organizational recruitment and manage relations between ULink and the external community.

 ~Vice Chairs of Advising: These Vice Chairs are in charge of organizing and educating into groups and specialties. One Chair coordinates advisor-advising pairing and advisors, consultants, and liaisons in each school. The other will educate ULink advisors on the academic system within the pillars of academic advising.

~Vice Chair of Administration: This Vice Chair will coordinate the internal affairs and communication within Ulink, manage events for the advisors and advisees, such as end of year dinner, social events, and more.

~Vice Chair for Finance: this Vice Chair will manage funds and will be responsible for annually constructing and presenting the financial budget of ULink, which would involve events for organization, promotional items, and more.

~Coordinators: Appointed by ULInk leadership and school councils, Coordinators of each school will assign advisors into teams and match them with advisees.

Advising Pillars:

ULink advisors will be trained in these areas of academic advising, and advisees should expect this sort of advise out of the ULink program.

1) Course registration/advise and fulfilling degree/graduation requirements, 2) Guide in using online resources SIS, Collab, ARC, 3) Faculty Engagement. This is regarding classes, not research with professors or recommendations, 4) Advising Resources/providing advisees with Academic Resources, including deans, faculty advisors, tutoring resources, writing center, 5) Concentration exploration

Advisors will in be teams of five and the team’s majors will be a span of diverse discipline. Each advisor will have no more than 5 advisees.

School administrators will contact rising First Year students in the summer before their first year with the opportunity to participate in ULink. Students will have to “opt-in” to the program, stating why they wish to be a part of peer advising. After selection, advisors will be match with 5 first year students, their advisees.

If you would like to learn more about the ULink program and the reason why the initiative came about, please reach out to us arc@virginia.edu. We have conducted research and focus groups on advising to support this initiative.