Academic Advising

academic advising

Handbook – Functions of the Academic Advisor

Advisors are selected to provide educational counseling for college students. To be effective, the advisor must recognize that each student has different abilities, interests, aspirations, needs, experiences, and problems.  Academic advising cannot, therefore, be a mechanical, routine matter. The faculty advisor's primary responsibility is to help individual advisees plan the program of study that will satisfy university requirements and at the same time meet each student's specific needs. To accomplish this goal, the faculty advisor must urge the student to give ample thought to the matter of education; the advisor must direct the student in examining all significant facets of education while making necessary decisions.

Although the functions of the academic advisor vary for different students, the general advising duties are normally as follows:

  1. Help the student understand the value of Viterbo's General Education program and the six core abilities upon which programs build:
    1. Thinking – students engage in the process of inquiry and problem solving.
    2. Ethical Decision Making – students respond to ethical issues, using informed value systems.
    3. Communication – students speak and write to suit varied purposes, audiences, disciplines, and contents.
    4. Aesthetic Sensitivity – students engage in and critically reflect upon artistic experiences.
    5. Cultural Sensitivity – students understand their own and other cultural traditions and demonstrate a respect the diversity of the human experience.
    6. Community Involvement – students demonstrate social responsibility by serving their communities.
  2. Helps the student examine the course offerings in the major, and understand the graduation requirements for the curriculum leading to an appropriate degree.
  3. Plans with students a schedule of courses with a consideration of the students' strengths and needs as revealed by the ACT, previous grades and Placement Test results.
  4. Helps the student explore the career fields for which the major provides training and obtain related vocational information and survey job opportunities.
  5. Serves as a link between the student and the administration by counseling the student on academic problems (course scheduling, course adjustment, and academic progress and by making appropriate referrals).
  6. Serves as a "faculty friend" to the student by demonstrating a personal interest in the student and in the student's adjustment to college; by serving as a central contact person in obtaining information that can be used to help the student; and by allowing the student freedom to make personal choices after the limitations, alternatives, and consequences involved in a decision are pointed out.

The academic advisors assigned to advise students who are undeclared have somewhat different responsibilities.  Instead of helping each student explore the selected major, the advisor assists the student's investigation of potential majors by (1) referring the student to the Career Services Center for possible assessment and guidance and by (2) referring the student to special activities (UNST 110, workshops, Career Fairs, etc.) wherein interests may be explored and experiences gained. Once an undeclared student has elected a major, the student will be assigned an advisor within that major department.