Inadequate advising,unqualified advisers

Advisers should be more than peer mentors; they should be professional staff members.

Most students at the University have two advisers, a college adviser and a department adviser. The former deals with University-wide or college requirements, while the latter serves as an expert on a given major. When a student enters his or her major, it becomes more useful to seek advising from the department adviser. Some departments employ peer mentors who do not always have the knowledge the position necessitates.

Some departments will not consider hiring student advisers, preferring professionals while other departments have defined requirements where even an undergraduate student is considered an acceptable candidate for the position. Advisers are supposed to be a one-step process for students. It’s problematic for students to be shuffled back and forth between consultants simply because the University failed to hire a qualified person for a given position in the first place.

More importantly, the fact that there is no overarching process in departmental hiring leaves room for neglect. The lack of structure allows departments to have latitude in hiring that might not be in the best interest of students. The University should have a policy requiring enforcement of a set of minimal requirements departments must abide by in hiring processes.

The role of the adviser is important to students. Too many students leave this campus without utilizing the assistance of their assigned adviser, and the availability of peer advisers over professional staff worsens the issue. It’s unlikely a student will seek the consultation of someone they know will not necessarily provide answers. The hiring of students itself is not the problem. The problem is peer mentors are expected to bear the burden of advising on a topic that they perhaps are not familiar with. Peer mentors often lessen the stress in departmental offices, they can perhaps assist in many walk-in related issues, but they often are inadequate when it comes to more complex situations. Ultimately, peer mentors should work only in conjunction and be a supplement to professional advisers, they should not replace the position of a professional adviser.