Colleges offer group, individual advising

The College of Communication and the Neeley School of Business exercise different advising techniques – individual versus group advising.Lynn Cole, assistant dean of the Neeley School, said the business school advisers usually speak to groups of 20, mostly freshmen, because the coursework for the students is similar.

However, she said, students who feel their advising needs have not been met in the group session are advised to set up an individual session.

“The pro for group sessions is more on a delivery side,” she said. “We’re able to serve more students in a shorter time period and not be repeating ourselves over and over with each one. The con is that students may feel like they’re not really getting the one-on-one with their adviser. However, what we’ve found is the feedback from them has been very positive.”

Dean Dan Short of the Neeley School said group advising has a limited role.

“It’s very hard to sit in a meeting with 25 people and ask your personal question … because you feel like you’re wasting everybody else’s time. And that’s what I don’t like about that system.”

Richard Allen, chair of the radio-TV-film department, said the department advises students in groups followed by optional one-on-one advising.

Because all radio-TV-film students are required to take the same three basic courses, Allen said, it’s more efficient to advise the students in a group setting rather than repeating the same information individually.

“Otherwise, you have very few staff members meeting with 50 or 60 students and it becomes a huge time crunch and you feel like you’re saying the same thing to each person,” he said. “For our purposes, it’s best to have group advising just to sort of lay out the basics and then let people follow up with individual appointments. That way when they come to their individual appointments, they know exactly what they’re asking and they’ve had time to think about it and make some decisions.”

However, students are required to be advised only their first three semesters, Allen said. Students in their first two years must be advised to remove the academic hold on their accounts, he said.

Rebekah Fear, a senior radio-TV-film and theater major, said her experience with advising has been positive mainly because she planned out her own schedule. She said she knew which classes she wanted to take and created a schedule with alternative choices.

“Students need to be prepared,” she said. “Advising is to make sure you’re not messing anything up to graduate. It’s a safety net. It’s the adviser’s job to make suggestions but not to plan out your whole schedule.”

Part 2

Both the Neeley School and the Schieffer School provide annual training for advisers, administrators say.

Lynn Cole, assistant dean of the Neeley School, said Neeley School advisers attend the National Academic Advising Association conference every year as well as workshops at other universities. Slater said at least once a year Dorenda Kesler, assistant to the dean of the College of Communication, meets with faculty to discuss advising, new policies and new procedures.

Tommy Thomason, director of the Schieffer School, said the school has one-on-one mentoring between experienced advisers and new advisers who join the faculty. He said the classes – aimed to inform faculty on advising techniques and curricular requirements – are mandatory at least once each semester or more often if specialized problems, such as new accreditation or university requirements, arise.

Steve Levering, a journalism professor, said the advisers cover the basics, such as the number of hours, upper-division courses and liberal arts courses that are needed to graduate.

But, Richard Allen, chair of the radio-TV-film department, said, the radio-TV-film department doesn’t conduct formal training for advisers unless they are orientation advisers.