An extensive search progress along with months of training are just a few things new CSU advisers can go through.
Advising and training of new advisers can be a complicated task. There are 55 departments within the eight colleges at CSU, and each department is in charge of creating its own system for training its advisers.
At the Help/Success Center, where students who do not fit into a specific college go for advising, advisers are required to have a bachelor’s degree, and preferably a master’s. But a degree itself is not good enough to become an adviser, said Assistant Director of Advising Services Gaye DiGregorio.
“We’re looking for skills to be a good adviser,” DiGregorio said.
Such skills include enthusiasm, patience, problem solving and interpersonal skills.
Advisers at the Help/Success Center undergo a training program before they begin to advise students, DiGregorio said.
Training programs differ from one department to the next, although college representatives can generalize about their specific college. In the College of Liberal Arts, Academic Adviser Blane Harding said training begins once a potential adviser is identified.
“The college, specifically Associate Dean Ann Gill and Administrative Assistant Marcy Christensen, put together an advising manual for liberal arts advisers,” Harding said.
The manual covers topics such as sample check sheets, minors, frequently asked questions, concentrations, important phone numbers, AUCC/USP requirements, and so on, Harding said.
In addition to the manual, each adviser has a meeting with Gill or Harding who explains the program and answers any specific questions.
“This [training] is an ongoing process as questions or concerns arise,” Harding said.
In order to keep advisers updated on any changes to the program or new information, the college of liberal arts is in the process of establishing a list serve, which will be accessible to all advisers, Harding said.
The College of Agricultural Sciences has a similar philosophy about advising.
“The College [of Agricultural Sciences] has long placed emphasis on the importance of good advising,” said Lee Gray, Acting Associate Dean.
Adviser training is very important, and in some cases in the college, departments hold training sessions, Gray said.
The topics of these sessions include general advising expectations, reviewing the check sheets for departmental requirements, core curriculum requirements, internship opportunities and extracurricular department and college-sponsored activities, Gray said.
Advising is evaluated along with teaching, research and service in an annual faculty performance review, in which students have significant input, Gray said.
In addition, some departments within the College of Agricultural Sciences have formal advising evaluations done by every graduating senior, Gray said.
Most departments at CSU have professors that are advisers as well.
“All faculty who have a teaching appointment also have an expectation to advise undergraduates, and in most cases graduate students,” said Tom Field, professor and teaching coordinator for the animal sciences department.
Advisers have more than just an administrative role.
“I think it is important to recognize that we view advising in two realms, administrative and professional preparation,” Field said.
The administrative role includes the basics of advising, such as classes that need to be taken to graduate. Professional preparation includes steps needed in order to compete in today’s job market along with the experiences needed to become a professional in the discipline, Field said.
The College of Business is the only college on campus that offers primarily full-time advisers for their students, said Mike Jaramillo, director of student services.
“We have full-time professional academic advisers who deal with all academic advising issues and peer advisers who assist students with academic advising issues as well,” Jaramillo said.
The College of Business has faculty career advisers who work with students who have 45-plus credits and a declared concentration. These advisers address issues such as career interest, research and mentoring.
The training program in the College of Business is extensive, Jaramillo said. Just like the College of Liberal Arts, training begins as soon as the adviser is hired.
“The intensive training usually lasts one to three months and then ongoing training is in place for at least the first full year of employment,” Jaramillo said.
According to College of Business standards, training is not fully completed until one full academic year in the position has been completed.
“The training includes expectations, a model of developmental advising, helping skills, legal issues, diversity and multiculturalism, different aspects of advising and logistical things,” Jaramillo said.
One of the new full time advisers for the College of Business said his training was very thorough.
“I had quite an extensive training that took all summer,” said Seth Webb, an undergraduate adviser.
Training entailed shadowing, which means new advisers follow experienced ones and can use them as resources, Webb said.
Webb went through preview adviser training as well as doing a lot of self-study.
As a new adviser, he said his experiences thus far have been great.
Webb tries to live up to his mission, stated by Kurt Hahn, “It is the sin of the soul to force young people into opinions but it is culpable neglect not to impel young people into experiences.”