“Academic advising is an educational process that facilitates students’ understanding of their education and fosters their intellectual and personal development toward academic success and life-long learning.” - National Academic Advising Association, 2004
Students who rate their advising as good or excellent
Principle responsibilities of the faculty academic advisor:
- Are more likely to interact with faculty
- Perceive the institution’s environment to be more supportive overall
- Are more satisfied with their overall college experience
- Gain more from college in most areas - National Survey of Student Engagement 2005
The University of Redlands encourages students to be active learners in and out of the classroom. Advising is a collaborative process that actively engaged students about their responsibilities and choices. Students have a world perspective based on their past experiences that may or may not allow them to be ready to enter this relationship fully. The role of the faculty advisor is to create a partnership with the student so he or she can begin to explore intellectual options, including potential major and eventually career choices. Advisors are sensitive to differences between their advisees, while providing guidance, planning, challenge, and practical assistance to their advisees.
It is not unusual for advisors to encounter advisees who are quite different in terms of the level of preparation for a college education, socio- economic class, race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, family experience and knowledge of higher education. All of these factors make the advising relationship unique for each student. Do not assume that one advising model will fit all. Each student’s specific strengths, needs, and situations should dictate your approach.
Listening without interjecting your own values is the most important aspect of creating an advising relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.
The advising session should be thought of as a constructive dialogue between the student and advisor as opposed to an expert authority speaking to an uninformed student. By following each student’s thinking and personal framework, an advisor can best intervene to correct misinformation and encourage thoughtful reflection about how to best make the most of one’s education.
An ideal outcome of good academic advising is to encourage the student to move from a passive recipient of knowledge to someone who engages his or her learning intentionally. Another outcome is to have the advisee gain a coherent understanding of the academic curriculum and how it will benefit her or him in both the short and long term. A third outcome is for the student to feel like he or she has an ally, mentor, and support in the academic advisor.
Guidance: Provide your advisee with a relationship that is unique. Your advisee will count on you to give them feedback about their selection of courses and how these fit not only into their semester plan, but also their four-year career. It is important to assist your advisee to have a realistic selection of courses that helps them toward liberal arts foundation requirements, potential pre-requisites for a possible major, and those courses that might expand the student’s intellectual horizons.
Planning: Assist students with short and long-range decisions about course offerings. Utilizing the academic planning sheet, advisees can see visually how a course of study might play out over four years. If a student wants to study abroad, it is important to factor this into the scheduling. Importantly, encourage your advisee to look up information in the catalogue and learn how to use web advisor to their advantage. If you do all the work, they will tend toward dependency rather than toward independence. Encourage students to consult with other faculty, departments, and resources (e.g. study abroad office, academic support services, pre-professional advisors) who may be relevant to the student’s academic interests.
Challenge: Sometimes a challenge to a student’s preconceived ideas is an important part of his or her learning process. Students who see themselves as not interested in certain fields may be encouraged to take a course outside of their interests. The faculty advisor is a representative of what it means to be liberally educated. By encouraging an open attitude toward the liberal arts foundations and having rationale for why the university requires students to sample various ways of understanding reality and truth, the advising relationship becomes an extension of liberal arts learning. It is also important to help the advisee think realistically about the academic workload expected and highlight the differences from high school.
- Advisors are available particularly during the times the advisees are making decisions about registration for an upcoming semester. Advisors need to have their office hours publicized and/or make individual appointments and inform advisees of contact information.
- Advisors keep records about advisees’ plans, interests and goals so that it is possible to
carry on a sustained conversation throughout the first and sophomore years. By helping students fill out their four year plan, faculty provide their advisees with a way to see short term and long term progress with a potential major and the liberal arts foundation requirements. If student moves to another advisor, these records will document your work with the student.
- Advisors know the curriculum and the general degree requirements through reading the catalogue and attending advising workshops.
- Advisors review the files of the advisees to get to know the advisees’ backgrounds, interests, fears, hopes, aspirations, academic strengths and weaknesses.
- Advisors intervene in cases of academic difficulty, typically when mid-semester academic status reports suggest that an advisee is struggling. Contact advisee to come in and talk about what is happening in the class(es) where difficulty has been noted.
- When working with a student peer advisor (during first year seminar), advisors involve them as a partner in the advising process. Take advantage of the student perspective on the curriculum and employ their energy and enthusiasm in facilitating meetings with advisees. Peer advisors go through a relatively thorough training in addition to their experience as student at the university.
Basic information you need to know
Catalogs change every two years; students follow the one they came in on.
- Web advisor always has latest information about the course schedule for any given semester. Hard copy is not updated.
- Liberal Arts Foundation Courses (LAFs) are found in the back of the latest schedule of classes and are identified on web advisor listing. Johnston students go to committee to determine breadth requirements. Requirements of LAFs vary for BA, BS, BM degrees.
- A course can fill more than one LAF; all LAF courses need to be taken for numerical grade unless otherwise stipulated by a particular course.
- Students must have 128 credits to graduate.
- Major and Minor requirements can be found in the catalog. Students can double-major but not double degree (BA & BS) unless they take 32 extra units.
- Each department decides how to count AP units. For some departments, it allows student to skip introductory classes, which others count the credit based on the score, or both.
- Transfer credits are determined by the registrar. Students taking summer school courses for LAFs or major should consult with the department and the registrar’s office before (usually need documentation/catalog from the school).
- Courses taken at other institutions do not get averaged into the GPA. Courses taken during study abroad do count toward the GPA.
- Courses may be retaken (same alpha) with the higher grade being averaged into the GPA and the lower being removed.
- Courses with prerequisites and permission of the instructor sometimes keep students from being able to register for what appears to be an open course.