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Small changes to the Meiklejohn program this year are intended to instill a sense of community among peer advisers and to make Meiklejohns more aware of the issues first-years may encounter. Freshmen can communicate with their peer advisers before they even arrive on campus through the online Advising Sidekick tool.

"We are making what is already a great program even better," said Dean Ann Gaylin, Associate Dean of the College for First-Year and Sophomore Studies. No radical changes have been made, but "over 500 students applied to be Meiklejohns last year," Gaylin said. "We really tried to choose people who were going to be committed to the program," which is "one of the cornerstones of first-year advising," she added.

The Meiklejohn program is composed of 12 leaders, each responsible for 25-30 Meiklejohns. "I feel privileged to work with a really great group of leaders this year," Gaylin said. "We just have an outstanding group of Meiks," said Megan Tuohy '12, one of the twelve Meiklejohn leaders. The program "embodies Brown ideals" of friendliness and warmth, she added.

This year has been focused on fostering a greater sense of community within the program, Gaylin said. For the Meiklejohn orientation this year, each leader and his or her group participated in Meiklejohn group wars, akin to freshman unit wars. Also, the advising leaders will meet with their Meiklejohns a few times throughout the year, Gaylin said.

"We beefed up the fall orientation," Gaylin said. Meiklejohns now have access to more information. They are "fully informed of resources and opportunities made available to first-years," Gaylin said. A faculty panel on different academic disciplines and advising in those particular fields was added along with an academic resource panel and two sessions on academic integrity, she said. In addition, the Meiklejohn guidebook was completely revised.

But "Meiklejohns aren't expected to know everything," Gaylin said. Sometimes the best help can be putting students in touch with the resources they need, and the Office of the Dean of the College is making sure Meiklejohns are more aware of what these resources are, Gaylin said.

"As a technical change, we gave Meiklejohns and their advisees the ability to talk to each other through the ASK Advising Sidekick," said Gaylin. Students write letters to their Meiklejohns during the summer before they come for orientation.

"It forced me to start thinking about the things that I hadn't yet thought about," said Zoe Downes '14 of writing the letter. She said she also e-mailed her Meiklejohn a few times in addition to the letter, asking about "little anxieties," she said.

"It was a good way to ask all of the little questions that an academic adviser would never know because he hasn't been a student at Brown," said Downes.

Meiklejohns can now see the course preferences their advisees record over the summer. This will jump-start the initial advising conversation, Gaylin said.


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