Students critical of academic advising, grad survey finds

Citing a lack of timely appointments and informed advisers, some University students and recent graduates say they are unhappy with the institution’s current academic advising system.

But University officials defend the system, saying they are making changes to address students’ concerns.

Some University officials have said some a lack of advising is decreasing graduation rates.

Recent University graduates surveyed this spring indicated they were less able to get timely help from an academic adviser and less satisfied with the quality of career development

advice and services than students at the University’s coordinate campuses.

The surveys, which are distributed to all graduating students, used a rating system to gauge students’ opinions.

Current University students say they still encounter advising problems.

College of Liberal Arts sophomore Jeff Knoll said his adviser told him to take unnecessary classes. Knoll said he recognized the mistake and saved himself an extra semester at the University.

“Most of the advisers know what they’re talking about, but they don’t know the courses as well as they should,” Knoll said.

He probably would not go back to academic advising unless he had to, he said.

Na Xiong, a third-year CLA student, said she never had a bad advising experience, but she stopped going to her adviser after their first meeting.

“The only time I went was at orientation,” Xiong said.

CLA officials said it is a common problem that students stop attending advising appointments, but the college is working to improve the advising system.

“We still have a lot of challenges that we haven’t smoothed out,” said Chris Kearns, dean of student services.

He said CLA is always working to improve students’ welfare.

CLA recently started holding planning meetings for first-year students to help them graduate in four years.

The college also began a First-Year Interest Group program in which 100 first-year students take many of their courses with the same group of people and are required to take a course teaching good study habits and how to navigate the University.

Arlene Carney, CLA’s associate dean for academic programs, said many of the changes aim to help improve graduation rates and students’ overall lives.

“We want students to graduate, but we also want students to be happy with their experience,” Carney said.

Carney and Kearns said students can find advising opportunities and resources in their student communities and on Web sites.

They also said students with advising problems should first go to their student communities.