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. Faculty members may be asked to advise undeclared students, undergraduates who have declared a major, and graduate students when applicable. The advising of incoming new students (both freshmen and transfers), first-year students, and undeclared students is coordinated by the academic deans, chairs, and directors, the coordinators of boards of study, and the Advising Center.
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 transcript 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 viewing your advisees’ transcripts and checking their academic progress using the degree progress report.
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, they should no longer need to enter the PIN and the PIN will be erased from the advisee list. 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 has not yet declared a major 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.
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 their advisor 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 chair of their conservatory, the director of the School of Art+Design, or (for arts management students) the dean of the School of the Arts.
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, the advisor can use the online Student Alert, 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. When alerts are received, this committee contacts the student to help identify the challenges that are affecting his or her ability to succeed in college. Students are then strongly encouraged to use the services that may help them address these issues.
When the advisee decides on a major, he or she will file a Declaration of Major form with the Office of the Registrar. This form 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.
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