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Pictured Left to Right: Bridget Norquist, Aimee Kelly, Mel Wensel, and Joe Hannah

The ISS advising team – Mel Wensel, Director of Academic Services, Aimee Kelly, Assistant Director of Academic Services, Bridget Norquist, Senior Academic Adviser, and Joe Hannah, Academic Adviser – is here to help you in a variety of ways. Our goals are to help you successfully complete the program, assist you in identifying and achieving your educational and professional goals, and support you in developing a strong identity as social scientists and as UW Huskies.

Advisers can assist you with planning courses and meeting graduation requirements, refer you to relevant resources and offices, and work with you to meet challenges that may come up within the course of the program. In practice this means that we reach out to you to check how classes are going, we work closely with core faculty to catch issues before they become real problems, and we respond to your questions quickly and efficiently.

Working with ISS Advisers

After your first quarter begins, you will be assigned a primary academic adviser. Your primarily adviser will usually be the one who reviews your degree progress, evaluates your learning plan, and reaches out to you on occasion. You are always welcome to ask questions of any of the other ISS advisers as well. While email is the best way to reach us, we are also available for phone, video chat, or in person appointments. Please feel free to contact us any time.

Transcript Evaluation and Degree Planning

Once you are accepted and confirm enrollment UW Admissions will evaluate your transfer credit and forward your transcripts to the ISS advisers. (Returning UW Seattle students usually do not require new transfer evaluations unless they have completed credits elsewhere prior to returning.) Early in your first quarter, we will complete a second review of your transcripts, which includes applying prior social science coursework (up to 15 credit) to your major requirements. We will then contact you via email with a formal degree audit review that indicates what your remaining requirements for graduation are. (To learn more about transfer credits, please visit the University of Washington Admissions Transfer Credit Policies webpage.)

The degree audit is the foundation for your Degree Planning process, a process that continues throughout your time in the ISS program. Degree planning involves understanding the requirements for graduation, how to sequence your courses, planning which courses to take and when, and finally, what is involved in graduation. You can read about those steps in more detail on our Degree Planning page.

Learning Plan Evaluation

Beginning with your two introductory courses, ISS 301 and ISS 350, you will develop a learning plan. We use the learning plan as an advising tool to ensure that our students understand what they need to graduate. The learning plan includes two pieces, the first being a degree completion plan -- a list of courses you will take and when you will take them -- that you will build from your DARS audit provided by your academic adviser. 

The second piece of your learning plan is a reflection that asks you to consider your academic, professional, and personal goals, and how your course selections can help you meet these goals. This is also a space to explore the the way your courses complement one another and to identify the skills you are developing in your courses. The purpose of the learning plan is to help you become an intentional learner who builds a coherent course of study, rather than simply checking off boxes.

You and your adviser will revisit your learning plan in ISS 355, and as often as you wish. We consider this a "living document," something you can change as often as you need tuntil you have reached your goal of graduating!

Academic Support

If you are having a difficult time in your courses, ISS advisers are here to talk about your options. We may reach out to you about specific courses or if you've received academic warning. We are also here to help you identify where the challenges may lay, explore solutions, and find other campus resources as necessary. The following pages include more information about academic hardship.

Graduation and Commencement

Your primary academic adviser will prepare your graduation application for you the quarter in which you plan to graduate. The prepared application will be emailed to students to sign and return. This is the final step to getting your BA degree -- an event we are all looking forward to!

Like all graduating UW seniors, ISS students are welcome to participate in Commencement exercises at Husky Stadium in June.  Students finishing their B.A.s in December, March, or June are invited to the ceremony, as are students graduating the following August.  For information on the ceremony, including how to order tickets and academic apparel, see the University of Washington Commencement page.