Maia Parmakova on the Advising Center’s Role in Your Academic Journey

February 01, 2024
Maia Parmakova on the Advising Center’s Role in Your Academic Journey

When thinking about the Academic Advising Center at AUBG, there is one person who comes to mind – Maia Parmakova. This is one of the first people first-year students meet (during the Liberal Arts workshop as part of the Orientation week). She is also one of the people who keeps everyone on track with their academic pursuits.

Read below more about the work of the Advising Center history, services, and team.

Parmakova’s first interaction with AUBG was when she decided to take English courses at the English Language Institute. Afterwards, she joined the AUBG team which was about to establish its own Advising center. For this reason, the university team supported her to obtain her master’s degree in management from the University of the Pacific. With the newly gained knowledge, she returned to AUBG community to put in practice her management knowledge and skills to establish the Advising Center.

AUBG Advising Center

The Academic Advising Program at AUBG stands as a collaborative initiative between Student and Academic Affairs. Its history goes back to 2004. Even though there were advising sessions back then, they were not formalized or centrally coordinated by a single office.

After extensive research and analysis of the university affairs, the team decided that the “split” advising model was the most suitable for the structure of the university used by NACADA, the Global Community for Academic Advising. This model involves collaboration among Advising Center staff, faculty members, and peer advisors.

The primary goal of the advisors, both faculty and students, is to support students in:

  • course selection
  • degree planning
  • navigating the liberal arts environment
  • setting academic and career goals
  • understanding academic policies
  • evaluating progress towards degrees

Over the years, the Advising Center has expanded its responsibilities to include the AUBG Subject Tutor and Peer Advisor Programs, providing students with comprehensive academic support in one location.

The Advising Team

When you enter the Advising Center, at first, you may think that this is the office of one. And this would be correct assumption, as Maia is the only person fully devoted to Advising Center. However, she still has to apply her management skills when she coordinates the work of over 50 professors and students who are trained and available to help every student navigate through their academic experience at AUBG.

Working with Faculty

AUBG professors play a crucial role as long-term friends and supporters of the Advising Program. Those who choose to become Faculty Advisors undergo training, staying connected with the program throughout the advising calendar. Faculty members also recommend high-achieving students for inclusion in the Subject Tutoring Program, highlighting the collaborative spirit between faculty and the Advising Center.

Working with Students

The peer advisor and tutoring programs aim to create a comfortable support system for students through well-trained peers. By offering guidance and tutoring services, these programs not only assist students but also provide student advisors and tutors with an opportunity to enhance their leadership and teamwork skills.

Student advisors and tutors undergo a competitive selection process, demonstrating both academic excellence and the ability to balance personal life. “We make sure our student advisors and subject tutors are well prepared thus they have to undergo several trainings before offering professional support and expertise to their peers.”

“In the end, their working experience is valuable to their peers but also to them in terms building their resumes with work experiences and mastering important skills and qualifications such as teamwork, listening, communication, problem solving, crisis management, etc.”

Students utilizing the Advising Center’s services are empowered to make informed academic choices, positioning them for success in their academic endeavors.

Steps to Success

Apart from the individual work with students, Parmakova also coordinates the AUB100: Steps to Success course. This is an initiative that was developed throughout the years and today it is an integral part of the first-year experience of every student.

The course consists of a series of workshops designed to help first-year students make the transition from high school student to university student by developing the life skills they need for success throughout their academic career. A different instructor teaches each workshop. Topics may include becoming an active and strategic learner, managing stress, addressing addictive behaviors, selecting a major, emotional intelligence, and presentation skills.

Embracing the Liberal Arts Model

Maia’s extensive experience as the head of the Advising Program emphasizes understanding the goals, the main aspects and expectations of the liberal arts model is a stepping-stone for a successful academic and personal experience at AUBG and after.

Therefore, my main goal is to raise awareness and promote the advantages of the model for academic and personal development.”