Academic Affairs

Updates from VP of Academic Affairs

  • SGA would like to congratulate the following recipients of the 2012 Faculty Excellence Awards. We received dozens of glowing nominations from students, which made the task of selecting eight recipients very difficult; however SGA is proud to announced the following honorees: 

    Robert Gatter, School of Law
    Lisa Gladson, John Cook School of Business
    John Buerck, School of Professional Studies
    Tobias Winright, College of Arts and Sciences
    Ronald Mercier, College of Arts and Sciences
    Brody Johnson, College of Arts and Sciences
    Sridhar Condoor, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology
    Michael Swartwout, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology

    These professors will be recognized for their contributions to SLU at a reception and ceremony later this month. The SGA Academic Affairs Committee would like to thank all the students who submitted nominations. 

Role of the Vice President of Academic Affairs

The Academic Vice President of SGA is the chief student representative to the administration regarding all academic affairs. As the chair of SGA’s Academic Affairs Committee, he initiates and coordinates programs that will aid in the educational reforms that are in the best interest of the students and the University community. The particular initiatives of the Academic VP may vary from year to year, but his top priority is always to represent the students’ best interests to the academic officials of the University.

The Academic VP serves students directly by coordinating the Billiken Readership Program, which provides three different newspapers to students at 15 locations on campus. With the Financial VP, he co-chairs the Upperclassmen Scholarship Selection Committee, which awards five $1000 scholarships each year to students whose involvement has made a lasting impact on the University community. Also, the Academic Affairs Committee organizes the annual Faculty Excellence Awards, which honors outstanding faculty members who have been nominated and chosen by students.

Additionally, the Academic VP participates in the formation of University policy and actions as a member of several governing bodies, including the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee, the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee, and the Advising Leadership Committee. Members of the Academic Affairs Committee also maintain regular contact with top-level administrators including Dr. Manoj Patankar, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Mr. Jay Goff, Vice President of Enrollment and Retention Management, and the academic deans and directors.

Pius XII Memorial Library Renovation Project

The renovation of Pius XII Memorial Library has been a top priority for SGA for two years, so we are excited to announce that construction on this project began on Tuesday, January 31, 2012. The renovation will be completed by June 2012 and will achieve the following improvements:

  • New entrance from West Pine Mall on the south side of the building
  • New chairs, flooring, and ceiling throughout the building
  • New tables and study carrels in most areas
  • Total seat count increases by about 300
  • Increased number of three-prong power outlets to more than 600
  • Most student carrels and tables will have built-in outlets
  • About one-fourth of study carrels will have built-in data ports
  • Upgraded Internet access that will...
    • Be up to 6 times faster;
    • Provide greater capacity to meet peak times of usage by adding 10 additional access point locations;
    • Have improved security; and
    • Have 76 additional wired connections
  • New group study rooms on the first and third floors
  • All book shelves on the first floor relocated to the lower level
  • Noise zones for each floor:
    • First floor: conversational
    • Second & third floors: quiet
    • Fourth & fifth floors: silent
  • Window blinds removed and replaced with a tint-able film
  • Expanded printing services
With a project of this scope, you may be concerned with the level of disruption it will cause to the academic environment of the library. At every step of the way, SGA will continue to work with the administration to minimize distractions due to construction while maximizing the utility of the library. The construction crew will usually work Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. We have made it very clear that Midterms and Finals times must have as little disruption as possible. If you ever feel that the construction is causing excessive disruptions, please email

The construction schedule will start with the fifth and forth floors. After completion of this, they will move to the second and third floors. Finally, crews will complete the first floor renovations. 
Construction of the new entrance to West Pine Mall will likely begin in February. To clarify, the Lewis Annex and the Busch Addition, including the circulation desk, the current entrance, and undergraduate writing services, will be unaffected by this project for the most part.

Academic Advising

SGA is working with the administration to improve academic advising for all students. Last year, the University surveyed 2,704 undergraduate students to evaluate the Integrated Advising and Mentoring System. This survey results revealed a number of opportunities for improvement; namely, students did not understand the roles and expectations of academic advisors, faculty mentors, and themselves. Visit the advising website to learn more about how the system can aid your academic success at SLU. You can also read the frequently asked questions to get a grasp of the expectations and responsibilities in advising.

Students have expressed to SGA a concern about the quality of their academic advising experience. To address this issue, we are developing a series of questions that students could answer about their academic advising experience. Our goal is to have the advising units of each college and school adopt this, or a similar, form of student assessment and use the results of the survey in the professional development of their academic advisors.

The Academic VP is the student representative on the Advising Leadership Committee, which consists of all the supervisors of the academic advising units in each college or school as well as a few other relevant administrators. My membership on this committee gives students a voice in determining key policies that affect registration, transferring, and more. For example, there was a proposal to reduce the period of time that students have to drop a class without receiving a “W” from two weeks to one week. I maintained that students need two weeks to have enough time in class to make a good decision about whether or not to drop a course. The committee agreed and the policy was not changed. This example is one of the many times that SGA has stood up for students’ interests and the administration has responded positively.

Study Abroad

SGA has received numerous concerns from students about the process of preparing the necessary materials for a Study Abroad program. Consequentially, Sam Hurteau, a Senator for the John Cook School of Business, has been working with Mr. Tim Hercules, Director of International Services, to improve the services offered by the Study Abroad Office. When Sam met with Mr. Hercules, he passed on the feedback that SGA had received from students. Mr. Hercules is happy to hear directly from students who have ideas to improve the study abroad experience. If you want to contribute your opinion, you can email Mr. Hercules at or Sam Hurteau at

If you are interested in learning more about SLU’s Study Abroad program, visit its website here.

Service Learning

Do you want a course that gets you of the classroom and into the world? Then you want to check out the experiential learning opportunities that Service Learning courses offer. In these courses you will learn how academics and service are not independent aspects of education but rather interdependent. Find out more information about Service Learning here

For more information about Service Learning, contact Dr. Leah Sweetman, assistant director for Service Learning of the Center for Service and Community Engagement. Contact Dr. Sweetman via email or phone, 314.977.4214. 

Additionally, students in the John Cook School of Business can pursue a certificate in Service Leadership. Find out more about this certificate program here

Billiken Readership Program

Did you know that you pay a $2.50 fee each semester? Did you know that the fee allows you to pick up a copy of The New York TimesUSA Today and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch? You can pick up a copy of each of the three publications any day of the week from any of the on campus locations. Simply swipe your student ID in the kiosk and you'll have access to that day's edition of the publications. Don't worry, your card won't be charged. 

Check out the map below to find a location nearest you. 

                                                *Click to Zoom

Upperclassmen Scholarship

Each fall, SGA has the pleasure of award five $1000 scholarships to Juniors and Seniors who have demonstrated exceptional involvement and service to the University community. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and cannot be receiving a full tuition scholarship.

The Academic Vice President and the Financial Vice President co-chair the seven-member selection committee. Other members include the Director of the Student Involvement Center, or her designee; the Director of the Cross Cultural Center, or her designee; a representative from the Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid; one member of the SGA Finance Committee; and one member of the SGA Academic Affairs Committee.

Faculty Excellence Awards

The Academic Affairs Committee hosts the Faculty Excellence Awards to honor outstanding faculty members. Each spring, SGA asks students to nominate top professors. The Academic Affairs Committee considers dozens of nominations and selects eight recipients who are honored at a formal reception. Over the years, faculty members have repeatedly expressed their gratitude. In addition to be one of the only University-wide awards, faculty members are particularly thankful to be honored by their students. 

Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee (UAAC)

As the student representative on UAAC, the Academic VP has a role in shaping policies that directly affect almost every aspect students’ education, including degree completion, “double-counting” courses, grade appeals, and much more.

Officially, UAAC serves a shared governance role in the development, improvement, and quality control of undergraduate education throughout the University. As the principal advisory body to Dr. Manoj Patankar, the vice president for Academic Affairs, UAAC reviews and makes recommendations regarding:

  • proposals for new undergraduate academic programs (degrees, majors, minors, and certificates); in doing so UAAC serves as the University-wide undergraduate curriculum committee.
  • policies affecting undergraduate education (including but not limited to those implemented in/by the Offices of Admission, the Registrar, Financial Aid, the Bursar, Information Technology Services, Residence Life, and Student Development; e.g. latin honors, admission requirements, scholarship requirements, etc.)
  • related co-curricular programming (including but not limited to academic advising, mentoring, learning communities, FIGs, tutoring, academic support programs, and other initiatives integrating academic affairs and student affairs)

Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee

The Academic VP serves as the student resource to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees.  This governing body meets quarterly (September, December, February, and May) and approves new degree programs, college and school reorganization, and strategic planning efforts. Membership on this committee keeps SGA and therefore, the student body at large informed of the University’s academic plans. Additionally, it offers us an opportunity to question and shape SLU’s future.

Meetings with Vice Presidents, Deans and Other Administrators

Meeting with University officials keeps members of the Academic Affairs Committee informed of potential policy changes, reorganizations, and other proposals that would affect students and provides them with an avenue to improve the services that students receive. Namely, the Academic VP meets monthly with Dr. Manoj Patankar, Vice President of Academic Affairs; Mr. Jay Goff, Vice President of Enrollment and Retention Management; Dr. Liz Whitt, Associate Vice President of Undergraduate Education; and Ms. Lisa Israel, Director of Academic Advising to address issues of student concern within each of their respective units.