Academic advising leads to graduation success

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Academic advising is a serious responsibility that BOTH the student and faculty advisor  share.  Having been a University Master Advisor, College of Arts and Communication advisor and Department of Communication advisor as well as being recognized as an Outstanding Faculty Advisor by the National Academic Advising Association in 2012, I can tell you that there are very special faculty who take this part of the “instructional duty” to heart.  In the 30 years I taught in the Communication Dept., I availed myself of every opportunity to learn the advising requirements.  Nearly every semester, there would be curriculum changes that would “grandfather” current declared majors, yet, would need to be addressed by recently declared majors.  It was imperative that the student and faculty in their major meet face to face to discuss the implications of any changes.  It is the duty of the each student to READ the College Catalog  concerning the requirements of their declared program of study and make sure, should they NOT understand those requirements, that they contact their advisor, BEFORE the stress of registration, to work out the semester by semester PLAN for graduation.  It is the duty of every Faculty Advisor to be up to date on the curriculum requirements in their Department.

Before I retired in 2011, there were wonderful faculty advisors at UWW that were focused on student outcomes and working very diligently to make sure they understood what would help their students achieve their academic goals.  Faculty advisors who had been on staff 15, 20 or 25 years, which made a huge impact on their knowledge of what options a student had to succeed in their major, minor and university requirements.  Nearly every semester since I retired, I volunteered to come back during the advising process, just before registration opened up, to assist the large numbers of students in the Communication Department’s 8 programs find their way to the best plan to graduation.  It was painfully obvious which students had studied their AAR and which were just floating along only doing what they were told. It is frustrating to a faculty advisor to learn the student in front of you, in their Junior year, had NEVER read the catalog or knew which minors were allowed with their major.

The Academic Advising and Assistance Center has 17 advisors on their home page on the UWW website.

“Advising is most effective when it is viewed as an ongoing process in which the students and the advisors work as partners. Students must continuously work with their advisors in order to develop comprehensive academic plans that lead to successful career planning.

Ultimately, students have the responsibility for their own educational plans and for monitoring all requirements for graduation.”

This single statement is crucial for students to be honest with themselves and make sure they do the “homework” (like exploring the Undergraduate Catalog to learn the University AND College requirements for their chosen major to finding the right fit of a minor) to be ready to discuss their academic plan with which ever advisor to whom they are assigned!  Beginning with their preview day, where they sign up for their first semester, they are given the opportunity to talk with faculty and staff whose job it is to guide them in pursuit of their academic plan.

Lastly, should a student find their advisor is not familiar with their program, an appointment with their Department Chair, is the first step on the path to be their own best advocate and get the answers they need to complete their plan.

If there is a student who is still not clear on what they need to do to graduate, I would be happy to review their AAR and have a face to face meeting to help explain their options.  I can be reached at [email protected]

Since Ms. Tracy, the Copy Editor of the RP, mentions, in her Nov. 11th editorial, that her life “is a whole lot less stressful.” because she was fortunate enough to have an Academic Advisor who is one of the “positively heavenly beings who look at your AAR and have so much knowledge and experience that they can direct you down an easier path of life”  perhaps she would be a good resource for how to find one of those elusive heavenly beings.

All the best to each of you as you prepare for your life beyond graduation.

– Jeanine Fassl

Emeriti Faculty