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Adviser Responsibilities

Advisers will:

  • Help students clarify their educational goals.
  • Inform them of the range and scope of experiences available to them.
  • Help them assess their strengths and weaknesses, and help them explore the ramifications of their decisions for their future occupational goal.
  • Familiarize students with policies and regulations which might influence his/her program.
  • Communicate to students what decisions they will have to make at what stages of an academic career. For the student with clearly defined occupational goals interested in pre professional programs this may be especially important. The student needs to understand how today's decisions may limit possible alternatives later on.
  • Initiate a continuing evaluation of the adviser-advisee relationship. A student's first adviser, in many instances, will not be the final one. As an undergraduate develops more clearly defined educational and occupational goals, he/she may change advisers, perhaps several times. Thus the student and the adviser must assess the extent to which the advising relationships is meeting the students' needs and goals.


There are two arenas in which faculty advise: in the classroom and as academic advisers of undecided students and those who have chosen a major.

Advising for the classroom

Faculty advise as a member of an academic discipline. Students will ask course instructors to explain the requirements for a major or minor in that discipline. To answer them, faculty need to know the core courses, electives and sequencing of courses. The discipline faculty, either singly or as a group, approve substitutions in the major, waive prerequisite requirements, and agree to individual arrangements. Discipline faculty provide information about careers in the discipline and/or identify particularly appropriate graduate programs.

Advising outside the classroom

The Campus Assembly statement expects faculty advisers to hold weekly advising hours. In order to assure that advising occurs, special advising requirements have been specified for freshmen and sophomores. Caring about students and knowing about the curriculum and campus resources are two places to begin. Faculty are encouraged to consider the following suggestions:

  1. Become familiar with advisees' background, skills and goals to help them make the best use of their college experience;
  2. Become familiar with the UMM Catalog, especially the UMM liberal arts philosophy and academic program, including the majors and the GER;
  3. Meet with their advisees (see Advising Calendar) to help them make course selections for the next semester or year(s) and to discuss their educational and career goals;
  4. Maintain those aspects of the system that make it work, such as removing registration holds and signing graduation applications, keeping the students' advising files up-to-date or returning them to the Advising Office when the student has a new adviser;
  5. Monitor an advisee's academic progress and contact those who are in trouble;
  6. Build a productive, supportive advisee/adviser relationship; some advisers will suggest curricular and extracurricular options, others will discuss career options and graduate school;
  7. Make referrals for psychological counseling, career planning, or academic assistance when students have problems that go beyond the scope of the advising relationship.