Advising across the spectrum


Butler University students have the opportunity to study from a selection of more than 65 fields of study. Each which greatly from one another.
With such variation in the academic opportunities offered, the result is often an advising process equally as diverse.
“So much of advising is college based,” said Jennifer Griggs, director of the Learning Resource Center.
For example, the Butler Department of Dance is a smaller program compared to others at Butler and the faculty is made up of a small group of people. This leads to inevitible interaction between students, professors and advisers.
“We see all the students all the time and we see each other all the time,” said Larry Attaway, dance department chair.
Attaway believes this is a benefit to dance students because they are able to talk to a variety of faculty members on a daily basis.
A larger college on Butler’s campus is the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. In this college, when it comes to advising, things are slightly different.
The College of Pharmacy has a director of advising, Amy Peek, who serves as a liaison for the students in this program.
“She is able to guide the students in their particular tract because she understands the core curriculum and what the program requires,” said Jane Gervasio, chair and associate professor of pharmacy practice.
Each college organizes its advising in different ways because they have different curriculum as well as different policies and processes, according to Griggs.
Despite the differences, Butler does have a faculty advising model which works to inform advisers about how to mentor students.
There is an adviser listserv through which Butler distributes updates.
In the past, the LRC has put on many workshops and training sessions for advisers.
“Unfortunately, when trainings have been offered, very few faculty members have showed up to them,” Griggs said.
The lack of attendance led Griggs to work with each of the colleges individually because this is how she was able to ensure that professors would hear the information.
Online tutorials and training videos have been considered, but at this point they have not been put into place, according to Griggs.
“The notion of offering training in advising is not a bad idea, it would make sure that advisors are up-to-date with their information,” Attaway said.
Some colleges do adviser evaluations. Griggs believes to be beneficial because it allows faculty to know what they are doing well and where improvements can be made.However, this is not a University wide thing.
All Butler advisers are required to meet with their students before registration.
This is monitored by the fact that students have a hold placed on their account until their adviser meets with them and takes it off.
Griggs said she wants the  productivity of the advising process to rely on the student as much as the adviser.
“We want it to be a balance between personal responsibility on the student and to what extent we want the students to feel supported. We want students to be proactive,” Griggs said.
Griggs said the LRC wants students to feel comfortable. Because of this, students are able to change advisers if there is an issue.
“Of course if there is a favorite adviser in a department not all students are able to have that adviser,” Griggs said. “There needs to be a balance.”
Griggs explains that advisers should be mentors to students, advising them in their decisions made during their time at Butler University.
Most colleges require all their professors to become advisers, unless they step up in another way and take on some other type of responsibility.
With this, the college is ultimately responsible for training these professors to take on advising roles.