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Faculty Senate hears concerns on advising

By John Ashby

Delores Scott, of the Office of Academic Enrichment, and Ron Daniel, associate provost, discussed academic-advising issues with members of the Faculty Senate at its January meeting.
Scott told the senators that surveys indicated student dissatisfaction with academic advising. "The perception of the students didn't mesh with faculty expectations. We need to make advising a quality experience for the students," Scott said.
Asked the sources of dissatisfaction among the students, Scott said, "We don't have hard data specific to the university yet--we will be gathering that information."
Senators said it was difficult to try to keep track of requirements, which are constantly changing. The College of Engineering employs professional advisors to keep track of requirements, freeing faculty members from this responsibility, but also lessening the opportunity to get to know the students.
One issue still affecting advising, according to a senator, was the switch from quarters to semesters. Other issues include decreasing the number of hours required to graduate, and implementation of the core curriculum. Gender differences in student expectations from advisors have recently been recognized as an issue for advisors to be aware of.
Senators said students often don't take advantage of the advising opportunities they have because the university doesn't have an effective mechanism to require interaction with advisors. It was suggested that the central administration take responsibility to do all advising on the core curriculum and leave departmental advising to the departments.
Senators also suggested rewarding faculty members who enjoy advising if it is considered an important issue at the university.