Working Definition for Academic Advising at IUP

  • From the IUP Faculty Advisor Handbook

    Academic advising should be considered an exchange of information between advisor and student, not just lists of “Do’s” and “Don’ts.” Faced with the wide range of choices in the university catalog, students often do not know how to choose wisely, and it is your role as an academic advisor to guide them. Only through exchanging ideas and questions (and often understanding and patience) will a student succeed in his or her academic collegiate life.

    This exchange between advisor and student should occur, at minimum, once a semester during an academic year. During these two meetings, you will devise semester course schedules for the student. The goals of scheduling are to fulfill major requirements, meet academic capabilities, and foster the student’s personal or vocational interests.

    However, in order to be an effective advisor, it is recommended that you be available to discuss academic or personal situations with your advisees at other times than when they are planning to register. Creating a friendly and open atmosphere, while maintaining a standard professional demeanor, will lead to clear and honest interactions. The more clearly you communicate with each other, the more likely students are to understand the outcomes of your meetings.

    From the student’s point of view, the advisor not only provides information and interprets university regulations, but he or she may also be a source of assistance in overcoming problems relating to the university. The advisor may also be the first person to hear of personal problems and disruptions in a student’s life. When this occurs, the advisor’s task is to refer the student to an appropriate service that can handle such problems. An academic advisor is part of a “distant early warning” system and is not expected to be a substitute for professional counseling.

    The advising relationship is a two-way street, and active student participation will make your meetings more productive. (If students are not asking the right questions, you may have to ask them yourself.) Remember that advisees believe you to be a source of guidance throughout their academic careers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. When you open the door for clear exchanges of information, you are well on the way to providing sound advice.