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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

A&S | Maxwell Launch Syracuse University’s First Student-Advisor Texting Service

Undergraduate students can now seek advising advice via two-way text.

Sept. 11, 2020, by Dan Bernardi

Student on phone.jpg
A&S | Maxwell undergraduate students can now reach their advisor through a convenient two-way texting service. (Photo taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Between classes, labs, meetings and other activities, students can find themselves pressed for time. To offer students flexibility the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) | Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs are implementing a texting program called Signal Vine, making access to advising services for undergraduate students quicker and easier than ever.

The new platform, which is the first of its kind at Syracuse University, will provide A&S | Maxwell undergraduate students the ability to contact their advisor the same way they do everyone else in their lives. The two-way texting service allows students to conveniently reach out to their advisor to set up appointments or ask quick questions any time, any place, and advisors will respond as soon as possible during their office hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

On some college campuses where the Signal Vine texting service has already been implemented, users have experienced an uptick in students reaching out to their advisors. At the University of Texas, where the service was started in 2017, the rate of students contacting their advisors via text was more than two times the amount of contacts via email, in person and phone combined. Steve Schaffling, A&S | Maxwell Assistant Dean for Student Success, says the service will prove extremely beneficial to both advisors looking to communicate critical information to students and students looking to have their academic and career advising questions quickly answered.

“This program will allow us to better meet students where they are,” Schaffling says. “Texting is how students communicate in every facet of their life. This communication tool will improve advising relationships and allow advisors to provide our students with immediate support on important issues.”

After the official launch of the service on the week of September 21, students will soon receive an initial text directly from their academic advisor to open their line of communication. Throughout the semester, students will receive periodic text messages alerting them of important dates such as the add/drop deadline and the course withdrawal deadline. Beyond that, Schaffling says advisors will contact students who they haven’t talked to in a while or reach out to students they feel might need to schedule a meeting to follow up on academic difficulty, career planning or course registration.

This service is not intended to take the place of meetings between students and their advisor, as in-depth conversations about academic and career planning will still happen in face-to-face advising sessions. But it will allow students to easily schedule those meetings as well as correspond about dates, deadlines and other transactional information.

According to Schaffling, Signal Vine enables A&S | Maxwell students to now engage with advisors instantly and on their time. He says, “this software and experience is another example of how we are enhancing the (A&S |Maxwell) student experience.”