Campus Commentary

Advising Or Dividing?

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There is a divide on the UCBA campus about on the Advising office. The major conflict seems to stem from the different visions of the advising office held by the students who have an issue with it and those that defend the office. The conflict is about who should predominantly plan student futures, the advisors or us, the students. This is a troubling issue as the advisor is one of the most important people in a college student’s life. It is their job to guide us through our academic careers and help us achieve our college goals, and if we can’t decide what we expect from them this could have wide-ranging repercussions. This is a conversation we should have soon, as the end of the semester always comes faster than we expect and soon registration will be upon us.

For many students the Advising Offices is completely fine in what it offers. They only go to the office a few times a semester, sometimes only once and only because it is mandatory. The academic office for them is merely a way to check in to make sure that they are taking the right classes and getting the clear for signing up for next semester’s classes. These students don’t feel the Advising Office should provide them anything else beyond these simple services. As one student said, it was “satisfactory.”. For these students, it is more comfortable to call the shots with the advisors only suggesting advice.

Other students are not satisfied with these services. In the words of one student, going to the office was a “waste of my time” and “I had to tell them what I needed, not the other way around.” He felt that the advising office should take a more proactive approach in helping students. Instead of just informing them of more than just what classes they need for their majors, they could also provide some help with students for things such as internships and careers related to majors. A second major complaint that was raised by students was the lack of knowledge of academic advisors about the other campuses. As a branch campus, many students use UCBA as a launchpad to the Clifton Campus after their GenEds at UCBA. For these students they have many questions about this transition and are frustrated by the lack of information their advisors know about the other campuses beyond the classes there. For these students, the act of diving headlong into planning their future without any assistance seems foolish, and they expect someone to help them with the wisdom an adult looking back.

This disparity of opinions raises interesting questions about the advising office. The main divide is what is the role of the Advising Office in the lives of students. Should students plan their academic careers on their own and then the Advising Office will just inform them how to fulfill their plans? Or should the Advising Office take a more proactive approach? The answers to these questions remain undecided, and we should consider these questions carefully and approach this topic with some nuance. If many of us feel that it’s fine then great, but if not, then we should take the running of the school seriously. Regardless of the answer, the Advising Office should investigate their precarious position among the student population. A point to stress though, is that people of the Advising Office are just doing their job. Regardless of your position on the office, we shouldn’t let that translate into anger towards the workers in the office.

About Christopher Williams

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