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Advising at UW-Madison

December 4, 2010

At ASM’s recent Forum on Advising, 20 students attended as well as Don Woolston, Emeritus Professor in Engineering who is  leading the Provost’s Office commission to reform advising. Obviously, we all aren’t too happy with advising systems, often finding the process frustrating, unnecessary, unhelpful and possibly avoiding the advising experience all together. Others find great help with advisors and rely on them for almost everything (those are the kids who need to learn how to read DARS reports…but that’s a whole other issue…probably within advising itself)

The major critiques of advising:

  • Large (major) department advisors are busy, don’t have time to see students and have strict requirements for students to even set up a meeting with them
  • Contradicting advise from various departments, for those double majoring or exploring options
  • Inability of DARS to create one report with multiple declared programs
  • Advisors need to know when courses are offered (semester, yearly) and how often
  • SOAR needs more knowledgeable student advisors and be ready to  help with individual needs/questions

The major solutions taken away from the forum:

  • Hire more advisors in various majors to help with accessibility
  • Inform advisors about common major requirements in other departments, learn more about other programs, and be able to advise on certificate programs.
  • Create a database of advising notes from previous advising sessions with students so each session is more personalized and advisors know what was discussed previously
  • Develop a DARS report that would allow for long-term course planning and double-majoring students
  • Develop a tool to schedule meetings online through a calendar program
  • Complete an interest survey prior to SOAR so students can receive class advice based on their interests

What would you want to see changed about advising on campus!?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Alison Scharman permalink
    December 5, 2010 10:26 pm

    Advising is definitely an issue that I have heard a lot of students complain about in my three years here. While I have been very lucky and have wonderful and knowledgeable advisers for both my majors and certificate program, I definitely feel frustrations that students have expressed about accessibility.

    One problem I have had in the past with accessibility issues is that I have had to schedule appointments with advisers for small questions when I am not available to attend their open advising office hours. Once I scheduled an appointment, but because the question did not take a lot of time to answer so my adviser was confused about why I made an appointment for a question that took three minutes to answer.

    A solution to this could be to create a system where students could engage in online chats with advisers. I think both private and public chats would be beneficial to students. While private chats could be more personal and individual, public chats (such as a discussion board) would allow students to learn about issues that other students are facing that they might not have thought about. This solution would be a way to save time for both students and advisers when an advising appointment is not necessary for a question a student has and the student cannot attend open advising hours.

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