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This May, Arizona State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean’s office will be leaving its headquarters in the Fulton Center and moving to the newly renovated Armstrong Hall — the former home of ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law (now on the Downtown Phoenix campus).
As part of this move, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will not only relocate its academic leadership and dean’s office staff, but will re-imagine the entire first floor of Armstrong Hall — nearly 46,000 square feet of space — to become a new academic advising and student services hub focused entirely on student success.
Part of the renovation involves creating three academic advising centers for new freshmen and transfer students. Organized around the college’s three divisions — humanities, social sciences and natural sciences — the 40 academic advisors and student services professionals that will staff these spaces will focus on welcoming and supporting the nearly 2,600 freshmen and 1,800 transfers that join the college each year.
“The goal is for our college’s Sun Devils to start their ASU journey off on the right foot,” said Paul LePore, associate dean for student and academic programs in the college. “And our move to Armstrong Hall will provide our new students a single location to connect to all of the opportunities and resources our college and ASU have to offer. For prospective students, Armstrong Hall will provide the chance to learn about, ask questions and explore the diversity of degree programs and co-curricular opportunities available in the college.”
After the first year — once students have settled into college life and have found their intellectual homes — academic support will transition to the faculty and advising professionals in their academic units.
“Our faculty and unit advisors are in the best position to mentor students in their respective disciplines and provide them tools to make the most of the opportunities in the major,” LePore said.
“With 19 academic units and over 90 different undergraduate majors, transitioning to our college can be complicated. We want to ensure that the onboarding of our students goes smoothly and that our new freshmen and transfers are supported in all of the ways that matter,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of the college and Foundation Professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies. “We also want to make sure our units can focus their efforts on supporting the student experience in their academic disciplines.”
The Futures Center on the first floor of Armstrong Hall will be a 21st-century career center for College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students.
Students, alumni, community members and staff can gather at the café on the first floor of Armstrong Hall. A video display wall will show achievements from the college.
The second floor of Armstrong Hall features a rotunda, which offers ample open space to foster communication.
Another component of the Armstrong Hall renovation is the Futures Center — a project built in partnership with ASU’s office of Career and Professional Development Services. Designed as a 21st-century career center for liberal arts and science majors, the Futures Centers will offer services and programming to prepare students for life after college — whether that means entering the workforce or continuing education through graduate or professional school.
Through the new Futures Center, preparation for life after college will begin from the very first day students arrive on the Tempe campus. Starting with LIA 101 (the college’s student success course for freshmen), first year students will have opportunities to discover their future passions and career pathways, learn the transferable skills employers and graduate and professional schools are looking for, take part in resume workshops and employer panels, and seek out internships throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.
College alumni and community supporters have been involved from the onset of the project to help shape the student experience by sharing their time, expertise and resources to enhance the college’s vision for Armstrong Hall. Alumni, business and community partners will be offered opportunities to connect with students by serving as mentors, internship supervisors and by providing job shadowing opportunities — sharing with students how they can be successful in the constantly evolving 21st-century workplace.
“The vision we have for Armstrong Hall represents the college’s ongoing commitment to the success of our undergraduates," Kenney said. "And the first-floor space of Armstrong Hall will be the means by which we bring together our faculty, staff, alums and community members in support of our students in an atmosphere that will be designed to encourage creativity, adaptability and a focus on the future.”