ADVISING EXPECTATIONS "Effective academic advising" is an expectation for Edgewood faculty, as stated in the "Faculty Evaluation Guidelines and Process" and the Faculty Policy Manual. Following recommendations by NACADA (National Academic Advising Association), the expectations for advisors at Edgewood College are as follows: To provide a point of contact with the college by being available, approachable and willing to assist. To guide students to identify their personal values, goals, abilities, interests and limitations, and to aid in their growth of awareness of the relationship of education to life, extending past their college years. To encourage students to clarify their career goals by helping students make connections among their priorities, interests, skills, abilities, values and careers that put them to use. To facilitate students' selection of an academic program. Each student's educational plan should be consistent with his/her individual life and career goals, as well as his/her interests, abilities and limitations. Program strategies might include obtaining specific content knowledge, developing particular skills, exploring a double major, areas of concentration and minors, and when necessary, reviewing alternative programs and careers in line with the student's abilities and interests. To assist students to develop a course of study enabling them to achieve their goals. Advisors assist students in choosing courses appropriate to their program requirements, ability level and individual needs, and in the appropriate rotation or scheduling sequence for the students’ timelines. To provide students with accurate information about the college's requirements, policies, and procedures. Advisors need to communicate correct information about degree programs, course offerings and policies. This should be done through a variety of means, such as personal explanation, checklists, catalog, departmental handbooks, and online information. To help students become aware of and use, as needed, the many services and resources on campus. Advisors should identify students' special needs and refer them to available resources. To support students in developing the ability to make decisions in their own best interest. Advisors assist students in developing decision-making skills by questioning and exploring options. Students should be encouraged to gather and evaluate information and to make decisions with an understanding of possible consequences, and alternatives. Advisors should expect that students will participate in their self-development. To be realistic with students, at the same time, encouraging them to stretch themselves to reach their potential. To abide by the policies and procedures of the college in an honest and ethical way and in students' best interests. Advisors must take care not to go beyond the limits of their authority in making decisions. Advisors are representatives of the college, and therefore have certain responsibilities, such as upholding FERPA guidelines, but they are also advocates for students within the institution. This dual role can have complicated legal and ethical implications. WHAT ARE ADVISORS NOT EXPECTED TO DO? There are limits to your advising responsibilities institutionally and for each advisor individually. Some advisors feel comfortable handling situations that others do not. The key is to recognize your own limits in helping students, and know how to refer students to appropriate resources. (Refer to “When & How to Make Referrals”) You aren't expected to handle emotional problems which fall outside the range of normal student behavior. Complex financial, emotional, physical or personal problems should be referred to appropriate offices or individuals with appropriate training. Academic advisors are not psychological counselors. You won’t always be able to accommodate your advisees' wishes. Sometimes you will not be able to give students what they want, e.g., credit for a transfer class that does not meet a requirement or admission to a program when the GPA is not high enough. What you can do is explain the reasons for your decision and offer options to students. Being patient will help them cope with their frustration or disappointment. You can't make decisions for your students, but you can be an empathetic listener and offer alternatives for consideration. Encouraging student growth means letting students make their own decisions and letting them accept consequences. Students sometimes want answers from you not only for expediency but also to avoid taking responsibility. Academic advisors should maintain their role as guides. You can't increase the native ability of your students, but you can encourage the maximum use of that ability and help students to develop realistic goals. You can't reduce the academic or employment load of a student, but you can make recommendations about alternative plans and maintain an encouraging attitude. You can't do everything. You aren't expected to make miracles happen. Students have to take responsibility for their own lives. Good Practices for Effective Advising Edgewood College expects advisors to be pro-active and meet with advisees at times other than course registration. These times include Upon initial assignment of a new advisee to give the student a thorough orientation to his/her academic program. This applies to all new advisees regardless of how long they have been at the college. Advisors should plan to spend quality time getting acquainted with each student and reviewing the information in their Academic Planning Binder (student should bring to all appointments). (Refer to “Advising Strategies for Newly Admitted Advisees”) Upon receipt of Mid-semester Grades, Academic Alert Notices or other reports indicating poor academic progress, or academic probation. Prior to schedule adjustments (i.e. dropping/adding classes) if your advisee needs suggestions. Freshmen should be encouraged to consult with their advisor before changing their schedules. To find out how a student’s major or career exploration is progressing. For purposes of declaring a major and declaring a minor. (Refer to “General Policies & Procedures Related to Majors” When you know a student is experiencing academic or personal problems. As a department, to provide group advising. Departments can offer focused group discussions on special topics related to their field, job market, experiential opportunities, etc. To review the Degree Audit for graduation. This should be done two terms before the student graduates. To discuss plans for graduate school or preparing for the job market. Also see - Strategies for Advising Special Populations DEVELOPING AN ADVISING RELATIONSHIP As an academic advisor you play many roles--expert, mentor, advocate, authority, rubber stamp, judge, teacher or friend. Difficulties can occur whenever student expectations about your role and your understanding about your role clash. When a student approaches you with a specific concern, he/she may assume that you will play a specific role. For example: A student may see you as an authority and depend on you to tell him/her what courses to take. You, however, might respond from a teaching role, by giving curricular information and procedures and expecting him/her to learn to take responsibility for scheduling courses. In this case, the student views you as an individual who commands influence, authority or knowledge while you, on the other hand, are expecting the student to play the role of responsible adult. Whenever expectations are different and there is a lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities, the advising experience may be difficult and unsatisfactory for everyone. Sometimes your advisor roles may conflict. Your role as an advocate for a student may clash with your role as a representative of the college. In these situations you are expected to uphold and abide by the policies of the college. There is no easy solution here, but advisors should strive to maintain a balance and act in a way that represents both the student and the college ethically. New students at Edgewood are provided with a statement that outlines both advisor and student responsibilities for a successful advising relationship (located in their Academic Planning Binder). Advisors should take care to explain their role and students' responsibilities by reviewing the "Be Advised" handout at the first advising meeting.
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