Laurie Arliss, professor of speech communication, has worked with the Exploratory Program for more than a dozen years and has taught at IC since 1984. Her background in small-group dynamics lends her a unique perspective in her role as exploratory adviser.
"Exploratory students find each other and discover there's a whole group who hasn't decided on a major. They're bright, intellectually curious, and want to learn about everything," she said.
In her Ithaca seminars, such as the recent Group Interaction and Individual Choices course, Professor Arliss begins by devoting a significant amount of time to explaining academic policies, requirements, and upcoming deadlines. If topics emerge that require additional coverage, they become priorities for special sessions or discussion outside of class.
Before the class registration process occurs, she devotes multiple class sessions to course selection strategies and brings in guest speakers, including upperclass students who have already navigated the program.
"I like watching the change and development in exploratory students, especially since you can spend up to two years with them," Arliss said. "Many of them ask if I'll be their adviser even after they declare a major!"