The House of Student Representatives will research ways to improve academic advising because inconsistent advising is preventing some students from graduating on time, said Anthony Oppermann, chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee.
The committee was created to give students a way to communicate concerns on any academic issues on campus. Oppermann said the committee wants to be well-informed and establish a good relationship with the Faculty Senate so the two bodies can have an open conversation about expectations for advisers and students. He said he hopes to work out a compromise by the end of the semester.
To research the issue, the committee, whose members have yet to be named, will visit each college to study their advising process, as well as learn the stance of the Faculty Senate. Oppermann said the research will help determine what areas need work.
Oppermann said that if you walk around campus, the majority of students believe advising needs to be improved. Everyone on the SGA retreat selected improving advising as a priority for this semester, he said.
Chris Hinds, a freshman pre-major, said his adviser didn’t even show up for his advising session during orientation last summer despite a line outside her office. Others students interviewed criticized the process.
But the percentage of students who make formal complaints is small, said Lynn Cole, director of the Neeley Student Resource Center. The department has professional advisers, in addition to faculty, who serve as mentors.
Cole said she hopes TCU promotes the professional development of advisers, and supports the concept of a central advising system to guide freshman and new transfer students through their University Curriculum Requirements.
From 1999 to 2003, students were not required to be advised. Registrar Pat Miller said it is hard to say whether that is affecting students now.
Miller said SGA was behind the change last year that made advising mandatory for a student’s first three semesters on campus. He said the journalism and radio-TV-film departments block registration until students are advised.
Former SGA President Brad Thompson said the task force last spring was pleased with the new rules, but added that he’s glad the House is continuing to look at ways to improve advising.
Oppermann believes that if TCU can offer quality advising for every student, it should be mandatory. However, Cole believes it should be required for freshmen and sophomores, but not upperclassmen because their intent to graduate motivates them to be advised.