According to the Human Resources department at my university, I’m officially a faculty member. However, my teaching practices are a direct reflection of my years as a student advisor. I would even go out on a limb and say if it weren’t for my years in student advising, I wouldn’t be the teacher that I am today. There isn’t a lecture I have where I don’t come across an opportunity to use my advising knowledge. For example, if I have a student who’s struggling academically in my class, I never hesitate to send them an email or chat with them after class to see if they would like to discuss tips for success. If I have a student who’s excelling, I might turn to that student and offer them some ways that they can challenge themselves. I’ll also point them towards joining a club or even starting one if I think it will help “stretch” the student. My job as an educator isn’t just to teach, that’s just one of the perks of my position. One of my main roles is to help my student’s be successful in whatever form that they need.
In an article titled “ Who Advises Best, Pros or Profs?” Charlie L. Nutt is quoted saying, “When it comes to helping students be engaged, to give them advice about what they need to do outside the classroom, faculty are not always the best.”
I have to say that sentence isn’t 100% accurate in my experience. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are many faculty members who have no desire to advise students outside the classroom. I do think there are a lot of faculty members who do enjoy advising students outside lecture, myself being one of them. I would even dare to say that faculty members who are willing to advise might be able to offer students more then we even realize. A lot of times the advising department has to wait for the student to come to them, or they call the student into their office (never a good sign). A faculty member has the ability to build a relationship with a student and approach them when they see bad habits forming. Hopefully, this leads to the student never being called into the advising office.
So, tell me higher education people! What are your thoughts? Do you think faculty members should stay out of the advising world?