Opinion: Advising needs advising

Abby+Sink+shares+her+opinion+about+the+advising+process+at+the+university.+

Graphic by Maliah White

Abby Sink shares her opinion about the advising process at the university.

Abby Sink, Staff Writer

Registration as a first-semester senior was bittersweet. It felt like the beginning of the end of my time at the university. In a way, I suppose it was. 

I’m grateful to my advisers here at the university that really worked with me to help me graduate in four academic years. There were bumps along the road and classes taken that weren’t needed, but overall, my experiences have been positive. However, listening to my roommate and classmates, I’m realizing this has not been the case for everyone. 

Students are having different experiences with their advisers. While I love this university and am proud to go here, the lack of consistency in quality advisers is a problem. 

One of my peers mentioned they met their faculty adviser for the first time in a face-to-face setting after trying to meet with them in person for three years.

Another mentioned that she almost didn’t graduate because she was never given an adviser for her minor. 

Other students talk about how they had to teach their adviser how to use Degree Works, Schedule Planner, and the university bulletin. These are all programs necessary to help students create class schedules. 

Proper advising is critical for student academic success. Students oftentimes are depending upon their advice to help them pick the classes they need to graduate.

When advising is not consistent, students end up not getting into classes they need to graduate, or they take classes that have nothing to do with what is actually needed to graduate. There is this inherent scapegoat in all levels of student disappointment when it comes to this correlation: “My adviser told me to take this class.”

I know there are many faculty advisers here at the university who work hard to make things right for their students. I fully recognize how hard it must be to teach courses, and on top of that, try to keep the schedules and plans of thirty or more students in line. It is simply a challenging job, no matter how much training one receives.

From a few tips I got while asking around about the training of faculty advisers, I have come to understand it isn’t much. Apparently, they’re trained once and that’s it.

Wacky, right?

You would think a university with a mission statement describing itself as an “engaged learning community committed to exceptional education” would take the time to make sure its employees were well-educated and trained. 

With how many changes occur in as little as a year, a concept we are all familiar within the wake of COVID-19, it is my humble opinion that training should at least occur every other year. While I’m sure the university loves all of the extra money being poured in from students taking courses not benefitting them at all, we as students are tired, overwhelmed and are the ones eating this debt we’re going into.

As a public relations and advertising student in social media courses, I’ve already heard about the absolute heartbreak of seniors who were promised they would have been able to graduate in Spring 2022 with a social media minor but were misled entirely by the university. 

From my perspective, I wish the university would return to their academics-first model that made me fall in love with the university when I first visited in 2017. I’m tired of seeing all these announcements about fancy buildings and sports complexes when my friends are being told they can’t graduate on time or with their minor at all.

Maybe there is an easy fix to this, maybe there isn’t. I wouldn’t know, though, because I’m here to learn.

I do know one thing. If the university doesn’t start prioritizing student happiness, there will be much bigger consequences than students feeling frustrated at how their futures are being handled by the hands of underpaid and overworked faculty advisers.