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FYCS Advisor Finds New Ways to Connect with Students During COVID

Academic advisors play a vital role in helping students reach graduation; from providing academic advice to emotional support, advisors are crucial to overall student success. The advisors in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences are finding unique ways to connect with their students during COVID-19, ensuring students still feel part of the FYCS family, according to Kathryn Ivey, an FYCS academic advisor.

FYCS has one-on-one advising, meaning all students are assigned one advisor while at UF. Students unsure of their assigned advisor can find their advisor listed in one.ufl.edu under advising notes.

For FYCS advisors, communication is key. Advisors have been very proactive this semester, reaching out to students through check-in emails throughout the semester and monthly drop-in meetings for students to casually chat with their advisor.

Ivey sends two weekly emails to students, one with general updates and notices and one focused on the FYCS Practicum/Internship requirement, as well as holding virtual advising meetings via Zoom to meet with and keep in contact with her advisees.

The FYCS Family

FYCS advisor, Kathryn Ivey, pictured at a FYCS event in 2019.

Like all CALS advisors, FYCS advisors genuinely care about their students and welcome them to the FYCS family. Ivey uses the first few minutes of her meetings to check if her students are feeling okay and provide them with resources or advice to help make these times easier to navigate.

“Faculty and advisors do our best to be available to our students to help them navigate this chapter in their lives,” said Ivey. “College can be scary and full of unknowns and providing a sense of comfort and stability is an important feature we try to provide to our students.”

Ivey’s favorite memory since joining the FYCS team is the biggest testament to how strong and connected the FYCS family is.

“My favorite FYCS memory was watching a non-traditional student, who would make her way to Gainesville every day from Jacksonville, walk across the stage and graduate. She put her family first for so many years, when she finally made the decision to finish her degree, they rallied behind her 1,000 percent,” said Ivey. “It was amazing to see her accomplish her goal of finishing her degree at the University of Florida!”

Tips for Success

Ivey stressed the importance of students connecting with their advisors, as advisors help make their time at UF as seamless as possible. Advisors are here to help, and students should ask their advisors questions regarding courses at UF and opportunities after UF.

Her best piece of advice for success in online learning is to treat online courses like regular, in-person courses. Blocking out time each week to watch lectures and complete assignments ensures students are not rushing to complete tasks at the last minute.

Students interested in the FYCS major should check the website for faculty bios and course syllabi. Ivey also recommended scheduling an appointment with her to discuss any further questions and get to know the department more.

Ivey said, “FYCS is a family in that we deeply care for each other as a department and the success and well-being of our students is equally as important.”

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