Academic advising of students is considered to be an essential component of sound teaching. Good advising requires an understanding of the curriculum and support services, familiarity with appropriate graduate programs, and reasonable availability for consultation. Academic advisors are responsible for providing their advisees with appropriate accurate academic information, guidance, and referrals within the broader contexts of their individual educational, career, and life goals. Advisors are expected to play an active role in working with advisees to facilitate the processes of adjustment, learning, and intellectual and personal development requisite to successful college-level work and professional and personal fulfillment.
Academic advising at Hendrix, including advisor development programming and advisor and faculty follow-up systems for working with students experiencing academic difficulty, is coordinated through the office of the Office of Advising and Student Success. Questions and inquiries regarding academic advising may be directed to that office. All academic advisors at Hendrix are full-time faculty members at the College. Though advising loads vary, in accordance with the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) guidelines they rarely exceed 25 students per faculty member.
New faculty members are not assigned advisees during their first year at Hendrix. After this time, though, they are expected to advise students majoring in their disciplines. Periodically, they are appointed to the Council of New Student Advisors (CNSA) and assigned first-year student advisees as well. Each year, about 32 Hendrix faculty members are appointed to this Council by the Committee on Faculty based on recommendations of the Office of Advising and Student Success. CNSA members are assigned 8-12 new student advisees and advise these students until they shift to an advisor of their choice in the department of their chosen major. Advisors also have the option of teaching new student advisees in a section of Explorations. This transition to a major advisor generally occurs sometime during the second year of academic study.
Advisors and their advisees work together each spring to structure an appropriate course schedule for the upcoming year, based on each advisee’s short and long-term academic objectives as well as his or her career interests and goals. Additionally, in keeping with NACADA best-practice guidelines, CNSA members follow a formal contact schedule with new student advisees (2-3 contacts per semester) with additional contacts, as warranted, throughout the academic year. Major advisors see their advisees formally for registration and course scheduling needs, and both formally and informally for ongoing discussions and mentoring relative to academic and career planning and related concerns and interests.
In addition to ongoing discussions concerning academic planning and scheduling, career goals, and academic progress, advisors should be ready to assist advisees to grapple with a variety of academic opportunities, problems and decisions. These include such matters as these:
- taking fewer or more than the standard four courses in a given semester;
- dropping a course in progress;
- receiving an Interim Report in a course;
- changing their schedule of courses;
- Odyssey projects and credits;
- Selecting, declaring and changing a major or minor;
- transfer credit procedures;
- going on leave or withdrawing from the College;
- study abroad opportunities;
- internship opportunities and career discovery;
- making use of Academic Success opportunities;
- making use of other campus resources, as appropriate.
Advising should not be limited to assuring that a student is enrolled in appropriate courses each semester, however important that is. Intellectual curiosity, critical analysis, self-reliance, and self-examination should be encouraged. Since college is the first real venture into independence for many students, the advisor must foster that spirit, while diplomatically guiding the student to an appropriate major and helping to avoid unnecessary problems.
To assist students and advisors in understanding the academic programs and policies of the College—including appropriate sequencing of courses in each major—and to promote each student’s initiative and autonomy in directing his or her own academic program and progress, Hendrix publishes the Hendrix Guide to Academic Planning on the web each year. The Guide contains both general academic guidelines and requirements of the College and specific recommendations written by departmental and program faculty to facilitate effective academic planning. The Odyssey Program Guide contains information about the Odyssey Program and Odyssey credit.