Are We Doing Advisory Right?

By Peter B.

“Not again!”

As many of you know, advisory is a time when we relax and eat junk foods on Tuesday mornings before chapel. However, most of us know what it feels like to find out that there is no food at your advisory and have those “come on, not again” moments. In my advisory, I’m pretty sure that we’ve gone months at a time without having snack, so I make a point of bringing snack on my days.

What has this world come to though? We meet with an academic advisor weekly to establish a bond, and discuss academic issues, but can’t take it seriously or accomplish much. My advisory group never gets more serious than a “seen any great movies lately?” I think the largest problem with advisory is simply that we don’t have enough time in our weeks to talk with our advisors in the first place.

We get between ten and fifteen minutes per week (10:00-10:15) to “debrief” and talk about our academics. As it is, snack even shortens the meeting to almost 8 minutes. For my advisory, this statistic means that we have a little over a minute to talk about anything important per student as we have 7 people. If a serious issue arises, advisory period can only tickle at the skin that aches for more.

To scratch the itch however, we need a longer period. A well-kept secret at OES is the fact that staff know of the advisory period’s redundancy. If you think about it, truly important meetings (ex: comments, schedule forecasting, etc.) occur during Friday’s “X” period. The people seriously interested in their academics who need consultation can’t find it in the short period we are granted.

In relation to the actual advisors, the Dig’s own Graham O’Connor says, “I don’t think my advisor plays much of a role in my time at OES. I just don’t think that she’s able to help me as much as she could.” He agrees that advisory is not as useful as the idea suggests. I concur that “It doesn’t seem like a fitting term.”

Some people don’t even feel close to their advisor. Abe Asher says, “students after their sophomore year should be able to choose their advisor.” He suggests a system where students choose their top 5 faculty that they feel they can connect to in order to make the period more effective. However, even our brilliant editor mastermind can’t solve all of our problems.

Friday’s “X” period provides the best session for meetings. During our current “X” periods, we usually have a chapel. Chapel could simply be extended on Tuesday to allow more effective meeting times. With an “X” period before chapel, we could more effectively meet at with more ample time to discuss relevant issues and needs in our academic lives.

***
Please note, this article DOES NOT recommend that we rid ourselves of the heavenly de-stressing before chapel, but points out that we could be more effective with a longer period.

2 thoughts on “Are We Doing Advisory Right?

  1. I think you might have looked farther afield for some faculty and students who see value in their relationships and time in advisory. I’d prefer longer periods, but value the check in time I have with my advisees. Everyone in the room is responsible for making the relationships work- so if the time seems wasted, think about what each person as an individual can do to remedy that. For faculty, time and job as an advisor is not restricted to the Advisory period, bot often involves a considerable amount of time, contact, support, energy, and thought outside of that time. Students sometimes do not appreciate an advisor or the amount of work we put in, and we get that- but often we hear about it much later.
    In response to Abe’s comment, any student may switch advisory at the end of any year. The fact that very few students do suggests that the relationships are not as unimportant as some of your respondents imply.

    Debby Schauffler

  2. I think the point of the weekly short advisory is that it serves as a “check-in” time. It’s not meant to be a long meeting time, but it gives advisors an opportunity to find out if there’s something going on with advisees that needs some longer meeting time, which can then be arranged. And it also gives advisees a chance to alert advisors if there’s some community issue (e.g. too many tests this week!) I don’t know, I like seeing my advisees every week, but maybe that’s because I have the BEST group of advisees.

    Corbet Clark

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