Faculty Handbook 2015–16
Academic Advising: Overview
The academic advising of students is an integral part of the faculty’s teaching obligations. The college is committed to student graduation after four years of full-time undergraduate study, and faculty participation in advising is a significant factor in student retention as well. Above all, the role of faculty members in advising allows students to better understand their educational world and celebrate their success along their academic and career path. Faculty members may be asked to advise students who are exploring which major to declare, undergraduates who have declared a major, and graduate students when applicable. The advising of incoming students (both freshmen and transfers), and undeclared students is coordinated by the academic deans, chairs, and directors, the coordinators of boards of study, and the Advising Center.
Academic advising is a teaching opportunity that should be conducted with the same degree of purpose as classroom teaching. Faculty advisors teach students to value the learning process, gather necessary information, set priorities, make complex decisions, and evaluate the meaning of their course choices. Advising appointments should also allow students to make connections between what they are learning in and out of the classroom.
The basic tasks of any academic advisor are to develop a thorough knowledge of the institution and the academic programs, policies, and services that are available to students, while attempting to perceive and understand the needs of students. By understanding the institution in this manner, advisors may guide students in the matching of their needs with available resources. Ideally, the advising process will provide students with specific and accurate information, advice, and counsel and will enable the student to develop a personal relationship with his or her advisor. The current College Catalog and subsequent updates on the academic program sites, eight-semester graduation plans, and other college documents (e.g., Liberal Arts & Sciences Advisors Handbook), supplemented by referrals, provide the basis for sound academic advising.
During the advising period that precedes advance registration, advisors often post sign-up sheets on their office doors to facilitate the scheduling of advising appointments. Before meeting with the advisor, the student should prepare a tentative schedule. The advisee’s Degree Progress Report (DPR) should be reviewed during the advising session, and there should be a discussion about the student’s academic progress.
In myHeliotrope on my.purchase.edu, the advising menu under “Faculty Services” contains data and tools to assist you in the advising process, including your advisee listing with holds that may bar students from course registration, your advisees’ student schedule, the course search, and the Degree Progress Report used to monitor your advisees’ academic progress.
The alternate PIN is a unique six-digit number assigned to the student, needed to access registration for that term. It is available to you under “Faculty Services” in myHeliotrope on my.purchase.edu. You should provide your advisees with this number during your advising meeting with them. Students will need to enter this number to register for courses during the first day of their registration period. After that first day, continuing students should no longer need to enter the PIN, and the PIN will be erased from the advisee list. Incoming freshmen and transfer student will need to use their alternate PIN for all changes to their first semester schedule. If there is no alternate PIN provided in the advisee list, the student will not need to enter a PIN to access registration.
Advisors should know when to urge students to see someone else to explore alternatives. Studies have shown that students are far more likely to follow up on a referral if the advisor assists directly in making the original contact. For answers to advising questions about which the advisor or the student is uncertain, please contact the Advising Center.
Advising Undeclared Students
The advisor of a student who is exploring which major to declare should be prepared to explore with the student his or her life goals and education/career goals and to help the student reach at least a tentative decision about choice of major. Students may have questions related to internships and career options related to a particular major. The Career Development Center specializes in working with advisors and undeclared students to help these students find a rewarding and challenging employment experience that can supplement or help determine their choice of major.
When the advisee decides on a major, he or she will file a Declaration of Major form with the Office of the Registrar. It is available under Forms on the Office of the Registrar’s site.
The primary responsibilities of the major advisor are to give specific advice about the academic requirements of the student’s chosen major and to oversee the student’s completion of general degree requirements, including the core curriculum requirements. This includes:
The major advisor:
In addition to making students aware of their major and general degree requirements, major advisors can help their advisees to build other areas of interest by thoughtful choices of elective courses or academic minors. Frequently, major advisors will be asked to write substantive letters of recommendation for students who are assembling a credentials file, either for application to graduate school or for employment.
For specific questions about advising in the major, please contact the faculty coordinator of the relevant board of study.
Midterm Warnings (Faculty Feedback)
Routine academic issues should be addressed directly with the student and be reported via the Faculty Feedback system on myHeliotrope (under “Quick Links” on my.purchase.edu). Faculty can provide information multiple times for one student. If a student has poor attendance, is not submitting required assignments, or is submitting poor work but does not appear to have other psychological or behavioral issues, it may be more effective to contact the student directly and submit a notification via Faculty Feedback instead of employing the Student Alert. The student and his or her advisor receive email notification of the feedback. It is strongly recommended that advisors follow up with any of their advisees who receive feedback emails.
If an advisor feels a student is at risk of failing or seems to be dealing with problems or issues outside the purview of the advisor-advisee relationship (e.g., psychological issues, drug/alcohol problems, physical health issues), the advisor can use the Student Alert system, located under “Quick Links” on my.purchase.edu. The Student Alert provides an avenue for faculty members to channel their concerns about a student to the At-Risk Committee. Properly using the Student Alert system will ensure that a staff member is assigned to notify the proper offices and to request outreach as needed. The At-Risk Committee monitors the outreach results weekly.
Whenever mental health issues are involved, the Counseling Center will conduct outreach within one to two days of the alert. The advisor who reported via the Student Alert system will receive confirmation that the Counseling Center received the alert; however, due to confidentiality reasons, the Counseling Center is unable to inform the advisor of the outreach results. Feel free to contact the Counseling Center directly if you want to share a more private communication or if you would like guidance on how to handle a particular situation.
In emergency situations: Disruptive or threatening behavior should be reported to the University Police Department. If you have an emergency that requires immediate attention of the Counseling Center, please call (914) 251-6390 during normal business hours (Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.). For after-hour emergencies, please call University Police at (914) 251-6911 so they can reach an on-call counselor.
Students on Academic Probation
Students in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences who are on academic probation are asked by the associate dean to meet with an academic advisor in the Advising Center to discuss the reasons for their academic difficulties and how they may improve their performance. In the School of the Arts, students who are on academic probation meet with their advisor and/or the staff program coordinator for their conservatory or school, or the assistant dean of the School of the Arts.
Updated Oct. 9, 2015
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