Reviewing student advisors

We all know Ann Landers is the one to turn to when looking for advice on the practical side of life. When students need academic advice they turn to academic advisors to guide them. But who advises the advisors?

The University of Calgary set up the Student Advisor Review Team, whose mission is to provide input and analysis of student academic advising and to recommend changes.

The review team will cover issues such as who should be advising, where advising will fit with the changes in direct entry and how technology such as Degree Nav-
igator will fit in.

"We’re asking how do we best serve the needs of decided students and undecided students," said U of C Vice-president Academic Ron Bond.

"How do students acquire information?" asked U of C Associate VP Student Affairs Peggy Patterson. "Where, what kinds; is it from a friend or a counsellor? It’s relevant in curriculum redesign and direct entry."

The review team is chaired by Social Sciences Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Programs Elizabeth Wilman. Other members include associate deans from various faculties, five student representatives and advisors, and counsellors from across campus.

"We’ve established a Web site which is a major vehicle for communicating [our mandate]," said Bond. "I expect a report [from the committee] in January."

According to Wilman, changes in direct entry and the Faculty of Communication and Culture are direct factors in the review.

"Direct entry means that students will be making decisions about the choice of degree programs earlier in their academic careers," said Wilman. "This necessitates that we focus more heavily on advising for pre-admission and first-year students."

Bond sees the need for a new set of advising regulations because of the influx of high school students into direct-entry faculties.

"Students will show up in [the Faculty of] Science and not know [their plans]," said Bond. "Transfer students have different needs regarding the programs they’ve done. We need to be flexible to deal with individual circumstances. We need to arrive at some conclusion."

In the 2000 Graduating Students Satisfaction Survey, some students found problems with the advising they received.

"SART is aware of the results from the 2000 Graduating Student Satisfaction Survey," said Wilman. "Dr. Miriam Grant from the Faculty of Graduate Studies is a member of SART and we are addressing graduate as well as undergraduate advising."

Students who wish to contact the review team or find out more information can visit www.ucalgary.ca/VPA/sart.

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