EvCC says ‘Goodbye’ to Educational Planning, ‘Hello’ to Counseling

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Nathaniel Lynch

For a little while no one knew who the advisors were.

Stephanie Davey, Staff Writer

EvCC has made drastic changes this year regarding advising, and students may be confused about where to find help with their future education.

This year advising at EvCC has overcome a legal dispute and converted from the Educational Planning Center to the Counseling, Advising and Career Center, all while hiring new staff and putting new procedures in place for students.

 according to court documents. EvCC hired five others who were given the job title of educational planners.  EvCC’s faculty union, the American Federation of Teachers Washington, filed a complaint to the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) in 2010. Court papers show that the counselors who were let go and the educational planners who were hired in their place performed the same work, while the educational planners were paid lower wages.

In 2014 PERC found that that the college had committed an unfair labor practice. The college was ordered to offer the counselors who were let go their jobs back. There were another five counselors that worked in the career center who did not lose their jobs. These counselors kept their title, but worked in the Educational Planning Center. They, too, were offered their original jobs back, reopening the Counseling, Advising and Career Center.

Of the five former faculty members who were asked back, one, Evelyn Henriques, accepted. Four other counselors have been hired in the former faculty member’s place. The Educational Planning Center officially closed on September 4, and again became the Counseling, Advising and Career Center which “moved very smoothly, all things considered,” says Anthony Williams, EvCC’s Dean of Student Development. Williams is another new addition to the college, beginning employment in March 2014.   

The new counselors have been commencing throughout the quarter, the last one starting on Dec 2.  “It’s frustrating that they started after the quarter started, some near the end of fall quarter,” says Dr. Earl Martin, who has been a counselor at EvCC for 25 years.

It all began in 2010, when five counselors were let go from their positions, because of severe on-going budget reductions.”

Meanwhile, mandatory advising procedures began for students in fall quarter 2014. Students who are in their first year will have a block on their account during their first and third quarters until they speak with an advisor. Martin says that there have been long lines during busy periods where people could wait for over an hour, but that the Counseling, Advising and Career Center is “doing our best.”

Helping take pressure off the career center, Williams has opened a registration lab in Baker 112 where students without registration holds can get help registering and have quick questions answered. Williams says that the new faculty has a big impact on the lab, and that they’re learning while helping students. Assistance in the lab does not count towards mandatory advising.

As for where to find advising, students should seek faculty advisors in their department of interest. Advising for the undecided student is available at the Counseling, Advising and Career Center, located in Parks Student Union on the third floor. Walk-in advising is offered, or appointments can be made, guaranteeing times to meet with a counselor.

Advising at EvCC has changed this past year; hiring new counselors and a new dean, switching back to the original Counseling, Advising, and Career Center, and putting mandatory advising in place could leave students confused. The college is going through “major transitions right now, and we’re in the thick of it,” said Martin.