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The start of summer orientation for new University of Wisconsin-Madison students is just around the corner. This year, each new student will visit College Library thanks to it being SOAR advising’s new home. The decision to permanently house SOAR advising in College Library is the result of a partnership between the Division of Student Life, Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR), and the General Library System. The move means significant modifications to parts of College Library, including upgraded furniture, work spaces, and additional outlets. It also has required adjusting how some key areas are utilized in the summer, including the Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning (WisCEL).

“As the landscape of higher education changes, so do our campus needs,” said Carrie Kruse, Director of College Library. “The Libraries are always looking to build multi-dimensional partnerships to address the complex demands related to space, technology, and the student experience. We are excited to welcome SOAR into College Library. College also looks forward to continuing our partnership with WisCEL during the fall and spring semesters, as we all work to create solutions to achieve a high quality experience for our students.”

The changes at College Library to include SOAR advising means WisCEL will operate its summer courses and programs from other areas of campus. During the fall and spring semesters, WisCEL courses will continue to run as usual in the College WisCEL Center.

“The upcoming shift of not holding summer WisCEL courses in College Library will require some adjustment,” said Professor John Booske, WisCEL Director and Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair. “Each of our centers have capabilities unique to that building, so we will look for creative alternatives that allow us to continue to support active learning courses in the summer. WisCEL is now working with campus Facilities, Planning & Management (FP&M) to offer its unique capabilities and program support in other spaces around campus.

WisCEL – College Library
College Library undergoes renovations to accommodate SOAR Advising.

“We are pioneers in creating active learning environments. The big picture shows the inclusion of SOAR advising into College Library is good for our students, and WisCEL is happy to help create a win-win experience for everyone involved,” continued Booske. “We recognize the solution of investing to convert more spaces into twenty-first century active learning classrooms, optimizing configurations and infrastructure, as well as related programs enhances the overall learning experience.”

The Libraries will provide an additional staffing presence at SOAR, offering every student a chance to interact with library staff. It’s designed to improve the welcoming feel of campus and make it seem smaller.

“The College Library partnership continues to grow and develop. It’s so much more than a space, it’s adding a team of dedicated staff that are also invested in First-Year student success,” said Chris Verhaeghe, Assistant Director of Orientation Initiatives. “We couldn’t ask for a better ally or partner moving forward with the new SOAR Advising home.”

The entire process to complete modifications to College Library is expected to be phased over a three year period. For more information visit: Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration; the Libraries; or the Division of Student Life.