The mission of academic advising at Rhodes is to promote student learning. As academic advisers, faculty members are both teachers and mentors to students, assisting students in understanding the nature of a liberal arts education, in assessing their strengths and weaknesses, in formulating their educational and career goals, and in planning a course of action to achieve these goals. Academic advisers are expected to be knowledgeable about the general academic program of the College so that they are able to advise all students. Advisers approve student course schedules, monitor progress towards completion of degree (and major, once declared) requirements, counsel students on academic probation, intervene with students in academic difficulty, and assist in preparing for the declaration of major. Increasingly, academic advisers are also expected to provide initial career and vocational counseling.
However, the person who bears ultimate responsibility for meeting all graduation requirements and choosing courses that will meet the student′s goals is the individual student. Therefore, a large part of the work of the faculty adviser is to develop and to cultivate in the student advisee responsibility for academic planning, careful judgment, timely decision making, and personal follow through on plans. The academic adviser′s role is to facilitate the student′s attainment of the goals set by the student; the academic adviser cannot and should not make the most important choices for the student.
The academic advising system has two components: 1) a first-year and sophomore component and 2) a departmental majors component.
Each year the Committee on Academic Advising invites eligible faculty members and administrators to be the advising group for the entering class. This group of advisers continues to serve those students until they formally declare their majors. This must be done prior to the registration period of the spring semester of the sophomore year.
The assignment of majors to faculty members is at the discretion of the departmental chair. Advising within this component of the system continues until the students graduate.
An advising group totaling 14-20 students is considered normal; however, because of large numbers of students interested in certain departments, this norm is occasionally exceeded.
Academic adviser workshops are conducted annually to help make the advising responsibility clear and the system more efficient. The College Catalogue and the adviser′s handbook contain helpful information on the academic program and institutional policy affecting the student′s instructional program.
Advising is the most important part of the service component of a faculty member′s duties, and all faculty are expected to serve as an academic adviser to a group of students. This includes regular advising of first-year students—whether annually or bi-annually—as well as advising of students in a department’s major, minor, and interdisciplinary programs. Any variance from this duty must be reviewed and approved by the academic advising committee. Section VIII in this document indicates the role of effective advising in the overall evaluation of the performance of a member of the Faculty.