-Photo of Rinere via Harvard Crimson

The long, tortured nonexistence of the sixth floor of Lerner is coming to an end…soon. Though the floor has been without residents (aside from a colony of mice, probably) since Lerner Hall opened in 1999, an administrative light has appeared at the end of the tunnel.

In an email to students, Dean Shollenberger wrote that this summer “the sixth floor of Lerner will be renovated to house the Dean of Student Affairs’ suite, the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing, and the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.”

This jumble of bureaucracy is moving up to the six floor to make way for a planned central Student Advising Center on floor four, part of the the University initiative to improve student advising. In that vein, Shollenberger also announced the hiring of Monique Rinere, who recently overhauled advising at Harvard, where her work received high marks. Rinere will lead the charge to improve Columbia’s advising program.

Full email from Shollenberger after the jump.

 Dear Students,

In 2007, responding to needs expressed by students, a new plan for undergraduate advising at Columbia was developed. This plan addressed both resources and facilities, and while it would take several years to fully implement all of the pieces, providing adequate advising resources for undergraduates was a clear priority from the outset.

Several overarching goals factored into our decision to enhance undergraduate advising:

  • To provide each student with more individualized guidance.
  • To build a seamless advising experience that provides greater coordination between academic, preprofessional, career, and other advising resources across the schools.
  • To establish a single, highly visible, easily accessible advising center in a central campus location.

By centralizing undergraduate advising and improving the overall structure, we will be able to provide a comprehensive advising program that addresses the diverse academic and personal needs of our students. The deans of Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science have played a pivotal role in guiding this reform of undergraduate advising. To ensure that we have the resources necessary to achieve these ambitious goals, alumni, parents and friends established the Austin E. Quigley Endowment for Student Success. Through their generosity, we will be able to enhance advising programs and services for undergraduates.

I am happy to announce two significant steps toward the achievement of our goals.

Appointment of Dean of Advising

Our commitment to student advising necessitates strong and visionary leadership. After a national search, I am pleased to announce that Monique Rinere will be the new Dean of Advising and Associate Dean of Student Affairs for Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. As Associate Dean of Harvard College, Dean Rinere oversaw the development of the Advising Programs Office which served 7,000 undergraduates. Under her leadership, Harvard’s Advising Programs Office enhanced services for students by strengthening relationships with students, faculty and departments, developing a peer advising program, and creating innovative, web-based resources. I look forward to working with Dean Rinere and the expertise and leadership she will bring to the Center for Student Advising.

Creation of a Central Advising Center

The Center for Student Advising will be housed on the fourth floor of Lerner. Beginning this summer, the sixth floor of Lerner will be renovated to house the Dean of Student Affairs’ suite, the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing, and the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. Once these offices have moved to the sixth floor early in the fall, we will begin planning for the expansion of the current Center for Student Advising. This expansion will provide a central physical space for student advising and is essential in providing students with streamlined, accessible resources.

CCSC and ESC have been important partners in our discussions about the enhancements to advising and I know they share my excitement as we begin this important phase of our development. Dean Quigley, Dean Navratil and I have had an opportunity to provide a more detailed update about the overall plan with both councils and have shared with them the architects’ proposal for the sixth floor space. We will continue to communicate regularly with the councils as we proceed with our plans for the fourth floor. In addition, we will discuss with the councils the best use of the space that will eventually become available in the residence halls when the advising centers move to the fourth floor of Lerner.

Over the past three years, the commitment to enhancing student advising at Columbia has been shared by students, staff, the deans and alumni. The vision, evaluation, planning and resources that have gone into this have truly been a collaborative effort. Establishing one centralized location for the advising office and naming Dean Rinere as the head of that office are important steps toward honoring that commitment. I am thankful to everyone who has played an integral role in this effort and look forward to welcoming you to the new space.


Kevin G. Shollenberger

Dean of Student Affairs

Columbia College/The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Student Life

Arts and Sciences

Columbia University