If used, improved advising benefits students, staff


    The majority of advising on campus tends to leave something to be desired.Some students are misadvised and don’t graduate on time. Others may not take the time to see their adviser. And still, others sign up for classes they don’t need to graduate because no one – advisers or students – seems to know what is needed.

    But TCU now has the opportunity to do something about it.

    With the adoption of the new Core Curriculum, faculty, staff, administrators and even students have a chance to change advising for the better.

    Faculty, staff and administrators are going back to class in an attempt to make advising better.

    TCU is offering advising classes with the intent to teach any willing adviser how to instruct students in the new curriculum.

    The only problem is the advising classes aren’t required. Advisers get to choose whether to attend the classes.

    I would hope all advisers would take the time out of their busy schedules and attend the advising sessions. And if they don’t want to do it for their own general knowledge, then please do it for the students.

    Students are part of the heart of the university. They make it tick and help pay people who work here. I would hope TCU employees would do whatever they could to be there and mentor students.

    Freshmen and transfer students have to be advised for their first three full semesters. After that, they no longer have to be advised, said Marsha Ramsey, director of the Center For Academic Services.

    But why stop after three semesters?

    If TCU required students to be advised throughout their college career, perhaps students would graduate on time and be much more satisfied with the advising process.

    Of course, no one is perfect, and everyone who works and attends school on this campus is an adult and should be treated as such, but perhaps requiring all advisers to attend an advising class each year and then requiring TCU students to take advantage of their well-educated professors would be beneficial.

    And of course, there’s going to be those advisers who moan and groan about having to take the class. And there’s going to be those students who moan and groan about having to see an adviser, but the advising classes are relatively short, and the same goes for the advising appointments.

    I see my journalism adviser every semester, and I’ve had a wonderful advising experience since she has been appointed to be my adviser. I’m on track to graduate on time with a double major.

    There are definitely those success stories out there, but there are also those horror stories floating around.

    I had an advising session with a previous adviser who told me that it was going to take me eight years to graduate with a double major. He then sent me to meet with the associate dean of the school because I told him I didn’t think that was accurate. Turns out he was wrong, and I was better informed about my degree plan than he was.

    Those are the types of situations the school needs to avoid.

    Ramsey is teaming up with Ed McNertney, director of the TCU Core Curriculum, to present advising sessions to faculty and educate the advisers.

    McNertney said the university is working to improve advising.

    “I know there’s great concern and desire to improve advising,” he said.

    Ramsey said 154 faculty and staff members have participated in the advising sessions since the classes started last spring.

    The classes teach advisers how to use the tools available to them including the portals that give each adviser information about individual students, new classes and new requirements and reviews things they should already know – and the list goes on and on.

    Ramsey also said advising has an affect on retention.

    She said it’s proven that if students develops a strong relationship with a faculty or staff member, they are more likely to stay. Also, if students take too hard of a class load their first semester, they usually aren’t going to do too well. Students shouldn’t crash and burn.

    Instead, they need to be adequately advised so they can take a balanced course load, not all the hard classes in their first semester. That’s usually setting someone up for failure. When you do poorly your first semester, it’s hard to rebound and bring your GPA up. Incoming students rely on advisers to help them take a realistic course load.

    McNertney said the registrar’s office has done a really good job aiding in the advising process. If you were to look at the Class Search Web site, the new Core Curriculum is laid out clearly and colorfully for everyone to see and understand. Students can now figure out what classes they need with more ease.

    Perhaps these advising classes and techniques will help advisers help students.

    However, when asked if the sessions were going to continue into next year, Ramsey said she wasn’t sure but that she hopes to keep it going.

    She said she would also like to send out an advising newsletter to all the advisers over the Internet so everyone can be on the same page and set up a Web seminar.

    However, she said she needs more staff in her office.

    Please, someone get this woman some staff so she can continue to improve advising. What she is doing for the university is invaluable and should be commended.

    It should be given staff, support, money and everything else it needs so it can continue to grow and prosper.

    It’s to the best interest of everyone involved.

    Janelle Stecklein is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Plano.