Academic advisement is occurring for many students, and Associated Students Vice President Sarah Jackson is working to streamline the process for future students with a proposed advisement agreement.
The proposed agreement was presented to the faculty senate executive committee last Thursday by Jackson and Nadia Souri, a former A.S. senator and current peer adviser.
Student advisement was one of the original platforms that Jackson promoted while running for vice president with Adam Salgado, who is the current A.S. president.
“When Adam (Salgado) and I first got together, the first thing that came up was advisement,” Jackson said.
A survey was conducted and 294 students from all colleges and departments responded to what they wanted out of advisement, what they were currently getting out of their advisement experiences, and what they thought their responsibility was in the advisement process.
From the student responses, an academic advisement draft has been created by an advisement committee that is chaired by Jackson. It comprises of the needs of the students, the rights and responsibilities of the students, and the rights and responsibilities of the advisers and faculty.
The survey showed a lack of communication between advisers and students, who felt they had not been informed correctly or did not understand their options. Time was a factor in students’ needs not being met by advisers, as appointments were not long enough or advisers were not available when students had time to meet them.
Jackson said of the advisers, “They’re doing the best they can, but they don’t have the resources and there’s too many students to advise.”
The draft approaches advisement within the concept of assisting the “whole” student and aiding in the student’s “academic, career and life goals.” According to Souri, “We’re doing this from the student perspective. We’ve really been building this document to make sure all student concerns are addressed.”
Jennifer Matos, faculty president, said that the faculty senate executive committee had a number of suggestions for changes in the document, but the idea was generally approved by the committee. “It was well-received, and let me tell you right now, not many things are well-received by Senate Exec. It’s a good sign,” she said.
Some of the most prevalent concerns, according to Matos, regarded mandatory time limits for meetings and the potential need to hire a professional staff of advisers. One portion of the document states that scheduled appointments with advisers should be a minimum of 30 minutes. In reference to the time requirement, Matos wondered what would happen if there was not a need for a lengthy advisement, and asked, “Do both parties have to then sit there until the 30 minutes are up?”
President-elect Adam Haverstock expressed a positive potential about the advisement document being continued after Jackson leaves her position. “The vice president (Josh Hansen) is going to head up the work on the academic advisement program,” he said.
Jackson is asking the senate to adopt legislation that would allow for a permanent academic advisement committee. She said it would ensure that advisement would continue to be addressed in the AS senate within future administrations.
“Ask the Matador,” which Jackson hopes to see up and running by next year, would be an online tool for students to ask common questions about their advisement concerns and receive immediate answers.
The site would take any new questions that were asked by a student and store them into a database for future reference. If an answer needed to be addressed by an adviser, the site would forward the question to the adviser and the student could get a response soon.
Jackson stressed the importance of advisers being involved with student success, and said, “The big thing we’ve been pushing is the collaborative effort, that it’s not just the adviser’s responsibility and it’s not just the student’s either.”