2.2. Advisor Responsibilities
The University’s advising program is a decentralized system with two primary components: advising services for students who have not declared major and, advising services for those who have a major.
Administrative responsibility for the advising program at Kennesaw State University resides ultimately with the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Success. The academic deans are directly responsible for administering the advising program in their respective colleges. The director of Student Success Services, along with the associate director of advising, directly administers the program for undeclared and learning support students.
The Undergraduate Advising Council, consisting of representatives from each of the colleges, Student Success Services, the Office of the Registrar, the Vice President for Student Success, and chaired by the Dean of University College, works to improve the advising process and system.
Selection and Responsibilities of Advisors
Although advising is considered to be a contractual obligation, the extent of that obligation varies by unit. Some departments expect all faculty members to be responsible for a certain number of assigned advisees; other departments assign advising responsibilities to one individual or a small cadre of advisors; still others contribute faculty members to a college-wide advising team. Faculty members should consult their respective department chairs to determine their specific advising obligations.
Recognizing that effective advising is a partnership between advisors and advisees and that each has its own role and responsibility, it is expected that, regardless of where the advising occurs, the academic advisor’s roles is to:
- Help the advisee understand the academic and administrative processes of the university.
- Help the advisee understand the expected standards of achievement and likelihood of success in certain areas of study.
- Discuss the educational and career objectives suited to the advisee’s demonstrated abilities and expressed interests. Advisors help the advisee to understand the relationships among the courses, programs, research opportunities, internships, study abroad programs, other academic and personal development experiences provided by the university.
- Help the advisee plan a course of study and give advice about courses and the adjustment of course loads. The advisor will inform the advisee about the prerequisites for subsequent courses in the advisee’s program and evaluate their progress.
- To familiarize advisees with, and direct advisees to, appropriate campus resources.
- Participate in the advisor training sessions provided by the university and each college and department to keep informed and current.
- Encourage students to utilize available resources in the development of effective study skills.
- Provide necessary mentorship and career development support.
Suggestions for Effective Advising
- Care about students as people by showing empathy, understanding and respect.
- Establish a warm, genuine, and open relationship.
- Evidence interest, helpful intent, and involvement.
- Be a good listener.
- Establish rapport by remembering personal information about students.
- Be available; keep office hours and appointments.
- Provide accurate information.
- When in doubt, refer to catalog, advisor’s handbook, etc.
- Know how and when to make referrals and be familiar with referral sources.
- Don’t refer too hastily; on the other hand, don’t attempt to handle situations for which you are not qualified.
- Have students contact referral sources in your presence.
- Keep in frequent contact with students; take the initiative; don’t always wait for students to come to you.
- Don’t make decisions for students; help them make their own decisions.
- Focus on students’ strengths and potentials rather than limitations.
- Seek out students in informal settings.
- Monitor students’ progress toward educational goals.
- Determine reasons for poor academic performance and direct students to appropriate support services.
- Be realistic with students.
- Use all available information sources.
- Clearly outline students’ responsibilities.
- Follow up on commitments made to students.
- Encourage students to consider and develop career alternatives when appropriate.
- Keep an anecdotal record of significant conversations for future reference.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of your advising.
- Don’t be critical of other faculty or staff to students.
- Be knowledgeable about career opportunities and job outlook for various majors.
- Encourage students to talk by asking open-ended questions.
- Don’t betray confidential information.
- Categorize students’ questions; are they seeking action, information, or involvement and understanding.
- Be yourself and allow students to be individuals.
In addition to the American College Testing Service (ACT) suggestions, a few additional suggestions specific to Kennesaw State University are:
- Bookmark the online catalog and Schedule of Credit Courses for immediate availability when advising. Be sure to check prerequisites. Students depend on you to help them get in the right class. If students wind up “over their heads,” both the students and the professors teaching the courses suffer.
- Check course numbers carefully. Numbers change periodically and you want to get students in the correct class.
- Students should register only for what they want to take. Do not tell students to register for just any course and change during drop/add. Often the course students really want is not available during drop/add.
- Students will receive no refund for dropping one or more courses after drop/add ends unless they withdraw from all classes for the semester.
- Students should not sign up for a directed study course unless they have prior approval from that department’s chair. Students enrolling in internships must have prior approval from the faculty and departmental coordinator and the registrar prior to any phase of registration.