Academic advising session educates faculty

Kelsie O'Connell

With enrollment just around the corner for students at Washburn University, the decision on what classes should be taken is crucial. On Friday, Oct. 22, faculty members met for an Academic Advising Orientation that will serve as a productive tool for providing assistance to students at their advising sessions.

Students who have declared a major will soon be meeting with their department’s advisors, who will provide students with a pin number to enroll in required courses as well as adjust schedules. New professors at Washburn University made up a majority of the attendees at the orientation day, along with some professors who have been at Washburn longer.

“We’ve invited faculty that think they are going to have advising duties,” said Pamela Erickson, Coordinator of Advising at Washburn University. “The purpose of it is for new faculty to learn how advising works at Washburn. We’ll have another one in March.”

One new faculty member at Washburn, Karen Garrison from the department of kinesiology, attended the meeting in hopes of learning how Washburn’s advising programs work.

“I hope to learn basically how to better help the students prepare for the future, and to help make sure they graduate on time,” said Garrison.

The academic advisors at Washburn University, who held the orientation seminar, discussed the issues in great detail with academic advising as well as the advantages. This year, advisors are working to make academic advising a more personable experience, which is an important part of student retention.

“The advising session is an opportunity for you to really reach out to these students and connect with them,” said Erickson. “Luckily Washburn requires every student to meet with an advisor every semester. Many institutions don’t.  I’m very thrilled that Washburn does that, because it does lead to higher retention of students.”

Washburn is a rare school that allows freshman students to declare a major, but about 1,200 students are still considered undeclared. Yet, with the availability to enroll online, students are sometimes reluctant to want to visit with advisors, since most courses can be chosen on students’ own time.

“Students don’t usually know why they have to come talk to us,” said Dannah Hartley, Academic Advisor at Washburn. “Sometimes they think it’s a hurdle.”

Advisors gave faculty at the seminar more information on academic advising. The next academic advising seminar will be held in March, because it is around the peak enrollment time. Appointments to talk to academic advisors can be made by contacting the Office of Academic Advising from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

“You’re advising them [the students],” said Erickson, “but the ultimate decision is up to them.”