Freshman, sophomore advising now required

Lyndsey Schley

Freshmen and sophomores are now required to visit with an adviser every semester before they are allowed to schedule classes.

The policy goes into effect in fall 2013, meaning freshmen and sophomores will require advising this spring to schedule for next fall, according to a message from the Provost on Feb. 15th.

“I struggle to see why it’d be bad to have our students advised before they register,” Provost Todd Diacon said at the Feb. 11 Faculty Senate meeting. “We want to have that high-touch relationship with our students where they get good advice. We want to ward off problems when we can.”

Juniors and seniors will also be required to visit an adviser once a year, though they will not be blocked from scheduling for not attending this semester. Half of the juniors and seniors will be advised in the fall and half will be advised in the spring, Diacon said.

“We have to have a culture of student success at Kent State University and that means these one-on-one meetings with our students,” said Diacon. “I certainly think we need to spend a lot of time with our students [who] are struggling, but we should spend time with our students [who] aren’t struggling as well. Upper-level advising sessions [are] where you have very good conversations about career opportunities, internships [and] being proactive.”

These requirements will raise adviser workloads, which may make it difficult to fit all students in with the current advising staff, said Barbara Hipsman, associate professor and faculty senator.

“Because it’s a reasonably new program, I think they’re still grappling with how much time it will take,” Hipsman said. “It’s not that I argue that it’s time not well spent because if freshmen and sophomores get the right advising, I’m convinced they have a higher rate of retention. I do think it’s great, but I hope the university sees it for what it really is, which is a lot of staff time. How does the college pay for it?”

The JMC advising department is putting up fliers to get the word out to their students, adviser Aimee Swartzlander said. Swartzlander said she thinks the new requirements are a good idea.

“It’s not necessarily going to be more of a workload,” Swartzlander said. “We’re just going to be busy all the time. We encourage students to come see us anyway, so the fact that there’s actually a requirement now is actually going to help us do our job and to help students stay on track. A lot of times, we have to seek the student out if there seems to be an issue. They should know that we’re here to help them.”

Contact Lyndsey Schley at [email protected].