Advising: “Have All Of Yours Signed Up Yet?”
By Kayla Lemay
As another registration period comes and goes, the complaints of advisors’ apathy continues.
Many students feel as though their advisors could not care less about them, and they feel it’s proven through the lack of e-mail response, the two-minute-long advising sessions, and the resulting staying longer than four years because students just didn’t know what class to take and when.
Some students have admitted they feel as though the system is rigged in a way. They feel like professors don’t care that students don’t have the money to pay for more than four years of schooling, which is why the degree audits don’t show all prerequisites and advisors don’t bother to mention them. They appear to just let students figure it out for themselves.
We did have an article about a student actually graduating in four years in our April Fool’s edition this year, but that problem is no joke.
However, there is something else that needs to be considered – all of these advisors are full-time faculty.
They each teach upwards of four classes, meaning they have at least 140 students to teach. 140 papers to read, 140 tests to grade, and 140 homework assignments to hand out, among other things. Add on top of that around 50 students to advise, depending on the size of their department.
Believe it or not, our advisors don’t just sit in their office all day. They are incredibly busy people.
While some professors can teach under four classes, that is only with special permission for “Alternative Professional Responsibilities.” For example, Susan Miskelly of the Communication Studies department works in the Academic Achievement Center. However, she is required to work nine hours there, in addition to three classes and at least 3 office hours per week, and that number goes much higher during registration.
Speaking to Miskelly, she she’d some light on the subject in a different matter – perhaps it was not the advisors that don’t care, but the students. She showed me the sign up list she had posted on her door for this advising session, and explained that of her nearly 60 advisees, only 30 of them made an appointment to speak with her. She said that all of the advisors of the Communication Studies department had been checking in with each other, asking “Have all of yours signed up yet?”
She also explained it seems like students often don’t realize that their advisors are people, too. Some of the advisors have children, sometimes they will fall ill, or a family member will pass away. They have problems outside of Bridgewater State, just as we do. They do care, but they are not contractually required to answer to their advisees’ every beck and call.
So next time you start to complain about your advisor not emailing you, stop and think for a moment what they may be dealing with in addition to advising you. If nothing else, at least sit down and speak with them before you pass judgement – they may care about you graduating, they might just have too much on their plate to think clearly. It happens to the best of us.
Kayla Lemay is a Comment staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.