Changes in advising leave students with questions

Julio Rodriguez
Staff Writer

mb1_1503Mikey Bryant|The Hudsonian

Students are concerned with the advising changes the liberal arts and sciences department has made in an effort to better serve students.

“I’m frustrated because an advisor should be a counselor. You want to be able to get know them so you can feel comfortable around them,” said Paige Jacobs, a liberal arts and sciences student.

During the start of the semester, students were concerned that the advising center was assigning students to random advisors whenever they were in need of advising, which could lead to the lack of a formal relationship between advisor and student.

“The business advisement center has been running for nearly 25 plus years and operating much like we do up here. That model was working well, so the college decided it would better serve liberal arts students,” said Heather Chase, chair of the liberal arts and sciences department.

The model that Chase is referring to is the use of non-teaching professional advisors, rather than the previous model which implemented the use of faculty advisors for students.

“The system was adopted to accommodate the needs of students. The shift allows for students to receive advising year-round and during school breaks, which are considered new student busy times,” said Chase.

According to the college’s Institutional Effectiveness Report, advising hours have nearly doubled from 8,000 advising hours to 13,703.

“We doubled our advisor available hours to students. In the past, there was not nearly as many hours as there is now with this center because we have five advisors up here who work 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,” said Chase.

In addition, some students are concerned about advisors being able to get to know them personally.

“I don’t need an advisor that I haven’t been able to build a relationship with telling me where to go,” said Jacobs.

The liberal arts advising center also advises the fine arts and digital media departments after the previous advisor retired.

Mariah Day, a fine arts student, also has concerns. “How are they supposed to get to know us if we don’t have specific advisors anymore who know our specific situations in our major? That doesn’t seem to make much sense,” she said.

Chase, however, does not believe that this will be the case.

“Advising is not random; we keep track of what we do. We have files for every student.  Even if you don’t see the same advisor the next time you come back, that advisor that’s sitting with you can see everything that you’ve talked about, so they’re not missing a beat,” said Chase.

The advisors each take detailed notes pertaining to classes, referrals and the college programs that students show interest in. The notes are then kept on file to ensure that every advisor has the resources to access a base knowledge of the student they’re meeting with.

“You would come in and see an advisor, and usually when you’ve seen one advisor more than once, which is very frequent, then that advisor would make that recommendation for you.” Chase is referring to the recommendations written by advisors that are usually required for acceptance as a transfer to a four-year university.

“We try to accommodate the student the best we can to keep them in consistency,” said Chase. “We never want to send a student away and not let them get what they need or want.”

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