At Dickinson, academic advising is a form of teaching, and the student-advisor relationship is primary. You will likely find the advising experience a multifaceted one. One way to approach academic advising is to focus on the logic of the curriculum: students need to learn how to match their interests and priorities with our course offerings and academic programs. Their learning process will thus involve both basic decision-making and personal reflection.
Getting to know your advisees is good practice. Your students' expectations, past experience, and prior knowledge (whether accurate or not) will influence how they learn. Just as in the classroom, an atmosphere of mutual respect and constructive criticism will provide a sound foundation for an effective advising relationship.
- By the end of June First-Year Seminar assignments will have been made and you will receive a list of your students’ names and Dickinson email addresses.
- At this point a general welcome to your seminar and a short introduction of yourself is appropriate, if you wish. You typically will not begin advising your seminar until they arrive on campus because:
- A team of Summer Advisors consisting of faculty and staff from the Center for Advising, Internships & Lifelong Career Development will be providing direct phone and/or email advising to students during the week of July 13-17. Students will select courses between July 13-22. Course request is not done on a first come first serve basis. We expect that all entering students will have a conversation and receive their Alternate PIN from a member of the summer advising group working during the Advising/Course Selection period in July.
- Summer advising focuses on the process of identifying leading areas of interest, foreign language study, and—when appropriate—a lab-science course. Attending to these priorities helps create a balanced schedule and enables students to complete the foreign language and lab-science requirements by the end of the sophomore year.
- Schedule Adjustment Period – July 31-August 3. Students who request additional assistance will communicate with Summer Advisors during Schedule Adjustment Period. The new First-Year Students will arrive on campus in mid August for orientation (date TBD).
- Please note: No paper advising files will be sent to advisors. Advisors have access to academic information for each of their advisees through CLIQ (accessed directly through your Gateway portal).
Approximately 95% of incoming students will arrive with a full course schedule. If possible, please plan to hold generous office hours during Orientation and the first week of classes in case students decide to make changes or encounter questions. It's important that each of your students has the opportunity to connect with you one-on-one by the end of the first week of classes. This would be a time to review the courses your advisee is enrolled in this semester.
- You get to define the advisor-advisee relationship. Some professors find it useful to refer to the Advising Guidelines in this handbook.
- Likewise, some advisors have found it useful to ask their advisees to fill out “Starting your college career at Dickinson College” and bring it with them to their individual advising appointment with you, whether later that day or during the first week of classes.
- Consider using Moodle for general announcements and conveying basic information regarding deadlines to your students.
- Consider scheduling group advising at key points in the semester: to check in with students (late September) about their experiences in the other classes and at Dickinson generally; before course request for Spring Semester
- Begin to stress the importance and value of using the Program Evaluation (Degree Works degree audit) function with your advisees. This evaluation provides important information regarding how the student’s AP credits and current courses meet individual degree requirements. By using this evaluation tool early in their college years, students can begin to be responsible for monitoring their own academic progress.
During the first week of classes –
- By Wednesday, please check to make sure all of your advisees have four courses for the term and that they understand that this is the only week for Add/Drop for fall semester.
- Consider offering a group advising session for students who want to talk about Add/Drop options.
During the third week of classes-- Early alerts for first-year students
- During the third week of classes we will contact all faculty to identify any FY students about whom there are concerns. The three general areas for evaluation are: a) graded work; b) participation in class; and c) class attendance. At the same time, this is an important time to take stock of these issues within your own FY seminar. We will forward the names of any students who are in your seminar that were identified by other faculty. Please know that you have a partner in your college dean! You should feel free to make requests or referrals.
- Your follow-up with advisees during these early weeks is important and can often help students address academic and/or social adjustment issues and concerns.
October is "advising month" in the fall semester
- Please consider encouraging your students to participate in the programs the advising office offers to help students get familiar with our curriculum and to explore their options. The advising office will send you news about these programs in mid-September.
- Schedule individual appointments with your advisees to review how things are going, and to discuss course selection for spring 2021. Ask students to select at least six spring 2021 courses to discuss with you.
Ask your advisees to bring their most recent Program Evaluation (degree audits) with them each semester prior to Course Request Period.
- At the end of your advising session, give the Alternate PIN, which you can find in the CLIQ program listing your advisees. (Please remember -- sending Alternate PINs by email without an advising conversation undermines good advising.)
- If any of your advisees receive “U” grades, ask them to make an appointment with you to discuss their strategies for improving their performance. They should also meet with the faculty member/s who assigned the “U” grade(s).
- It may be necessary for a student to consider using a course withdrawal to salvage their semester. (Remember, students have only 2 discretionary course withdrawals to use and must petition the Academic Standards Committee for any additional ones.)
"Early Excellence" Identification
- Mid-way through the fall semester, we will contact you for “early excellence” identification. You will be invited to send us the names of two or three students in your seminar who are particularly promising, articulate, academically talented, and/or think beyond the obvious. We will want to work with you to support and guide these students into appropriate opportunities for engagement. Although we recognize that your recommendations will be preliminary, in recent years, faculty have proven extremely adept at recognizing promising students—a significant majority of whom earn Dean's List honors by reaching the top 20% of the class.
- Let your advisees know that you will be meeting with them in the spring to discuss their academic goals, and course selections for fall 2021.
December Seminar Wrap-up
- Many advisors find it useful to take a few minutes to write more extensive notes for their files about each of their first-year advisees. Most likely you will be asked to write a recommendation for your advisees who will be applying for Global Education/Study Abroad and details about each will come in handy next year.
Start of the spring semester
- Welcome your advisees back to campus for the spring term and invite them to make an appointment with you to discuss their evolving academic interests and goals. (Words of wisdom from an experienced advisor. With one semester of college under their belt, they have been home to discuss their college experiences with their family and friends during the holiday break. They often return with more realistic expectations and different interests for their second semester of college. Although they may still consider making course registration changes for their second semester of college, February is a prime time for thinking very broadly with them about their future – academically and personally.)
- The early spring semester advising appointment is one of your best opportunities to talk about academic goals, potential majors, summer jobs and internships in career fields that interest your advisees, their plans for going abroad, and what is generally important to them.
- Study abroad: Dickinson’s Center for Global Study and Engagement has asked advisors of undeclared students to engage our advisees in substantive conversations about study abroad. We want to encourage students to think of study abroad beyond “the destination.” We want students to start thinking, early in their Dickinson career about such questions as: How does study abroad fit into their overall academic interests?
- Language study/competency often drives study abroad choices, but increasingly, students studying a given language have multiple options for study abroad settings. Engage students in conversation about their academic interests beyond the language study to help them explore options beyond the most popular destinations.
- What investigations, questions, and goals might they formulate in advance of study abroad to help enable them to get the maximum benefit from the experience and help enable them to recognize the value of special opportunities that may present themselves while they are abroad?
- In what ways might explorations of their academic interests allow them to engage with and learn from different segments of the host society?
March is "advising month" in the spring semester
- Please consider encouraging your students to participate in the programs the advising office offers to help students get familiar with our curriculum and to explore their options. The advising office will send you news about these programs in mid-February.
- Remember the continuing importance of reviewing each advisee’s Program Evaluation in your advising conversations and prior to giving the Alternate PIN.
- Course Request Period for fall 2021 is still TBD.
- You will be notified when the system opens up for Schedule Adjustment Period. At this point your advisees will be able to see what courses they are registered for during fall 2021. They should be encouraged to check and add available courses to fill out their schedule of four classes. Remind them that any changes or additions at this time will be “live” and immediate.