College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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We Are Family


By Stephanie Benhart

When freshmen first come to the College of Business they are welcomed into the Business family of support.

Associate Dean Victor Mullins is trying to reinforce this idea for students with a new effort called “Straight Talks.” During their first semester on campus, freshmen are encouraged to attend these group meetings with Mullins.

“It is important to make sure their [freshmen’s] first semester is a great transition from high school,” Mullins said of Straight Talk’s purpose.

Each Straight Talk session consists of a group of about 15 students meeting with Mullins on Friday afternoons in an informal setting. Freshmen are able to talk about whatever is on their minds. They are encouraged to talk to their “family” about classes, professors, internships and campus life in general. The initial invitation to the talks was met with enormous support. More than 350 of the 500 freshmen replied to the initial invitation.

“It’s important for freshmen to feel a sense of community… we want to reach out to them,” Mullins said.

Freshman Brie Baker who attended a Straight Talk said she thought it would be a good way to “get in touch with the College and get to know the Dean. I try to take advantage of the good opportunities the College offers.”

Fellow freshman Amanda Kidd agreed the Strait Talks are a good idea and said she felt the Business makes the community more focused and inviting to new students.

Mullins stressed to the students there is always an “open door” policy in the undergraduate affairs offices and they should feel free to contact him or anyone else with questions or for help.

“I personally don’t know what I’m doing and they [Undergraduate Affairs] are trying to help me,” Kidd said appreciatively.

“Whatever issues come up, we enjoy helping,” says Mullins. It makes our professional lives more rewarding to know that we are making a difference. As our freshmen advance to sophomores and beyond, they will carry on this helping attitude to future students. Our commitment now serves the future of the College, and that makes it even more worthwhile.”

The administration has great hopes for their freshman class and is providing more personal relationships that can make the transition from freshmen to upperclassmen really work.

UIUC College of Business