So I don’t think anyone would deny that there is precious little training (other than trial and error) received by faculty on how to register students for classes. New folks sit with some more experienced folks for a couple of days and then, once they know how to use PeopleSoft with some comfort, they start advising.
In the past few years there have been a couple of training sessions available to faculty during Faculty Development Week, but the general presumption is that faculty know what they’re doing and provide accurate and good advice to students looking to register for classes. Or, maybe I should say, the system operates as if that were the case.
Yet, in conversations with administrators about advising, they consistently talk about errors by faculty advisors, and, with but two exceptions, the same goes for what is said by faculty about other faculty. Most faculty I know and talk to, even the two exceptions, would, I think, suggest that faculty are ill-prepared at best to advise the plurality of students we get during the Peak Registration period. The vast majority are undoubtedly knowledgeable in advice about some area or other, but few, if any, are ready to advise anyone who sits down in front of them, yet the system suggests they are (with the exception of brand new students) and that they do a great job with them.
Our most recent Humanities Department assessment suggested otherwise; we found that somewhere around 10% of the students in our Humanities 201 and 202 classes do not have the pre-requisite for the class they took the survey in, and that’s NOT including all of the students (of which there were many) who self-identified in the first week or two of class (through writing samples and/or fear after hearing about the course requirements. That’s a lot of mis-advised students.
This past week, Faculty Council met with the Student Services honchos to discuss some FC concerns about registration and advising, and the discussion eventually turned to the possible benefits of an advising protocol, at least, and/or training session for faculty members–something more rigorous than sitting next to another person or two. It would be deadly, though, if it turns into an exercise of the useless sort. So, when it comes to advising students, what are your consistent concerns? What are your consistent challenges? What sorts of things do you want to know more about and what sorts of things do you want everyone else to know about your classes and programs?
What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?