Academic Advising Committee
Minutes of a Meeting
22 October 2019, 11am

In attendance:  Rosa Tapia, Beth De Stasio, Monita Mohammadian Gray, Andrew Mast, Pete Gilbert

Rosa called the meeting to order at 11am. 

The first order of business was to develop talking points for Rosa’s upcoming meeting with our friends on the Mellon RTP Task Force.

We’d like to see a separate advising survey, with questions (perhaps) based on the expectations set out in the June 2019 document, “Advising Syllabus for First Year Students: Explorations and Foundations”:

• Treat you as an adult with respect and empathy
• Help you understand the goals of your Lawrence education and how it might affect your individual life goals and dreams
• Help you develop good decision-making skills and learn how to assume increasing responsibility for your educational planning
• Understand the curriculum requirements and academic policies, or help you find the resources to get those answers
• Encourage and guide you as you develop realistic and clear academic goals
• Provide you with information about campus resources and services
• Assist you in working with and developing relationships with other faculty members
• Be accessible for meeting with you during office hours or through email

Some points from that discussion:
• Evaluating advising for faculty up for reappointment will require some finesse because they haven’t been at it very long and there won’t be many advisees to survey. However, it’s important for the Tenure Committee to have the advising “data point.”
• An early assessment can allow time to catch red flags and offer guidance where necessary.
• It’ll be important to be able to track who’s had what advisor and for how long and in what relationship (First year? Non-major? Major?).

Beth shared some links to other models of advising assessment.

We then discussed the need for Advising as a Responsibility/Job Requirement to appear in job ads, interviews, discussions with the Provost, and in contracts/appointment letters. We started to discuss possible draft language: “Starting in the second year of employment, faculty members will participate in academic advising for majors as well as non-majors and/or undecided students. In that role, faculty meet with students regularly throughout the year to offer guidance in navigating the academic life at Lawrence. Lawrence uses a holistic advising model that emphasizes the growth and development of the whole student.”  Or something…

We discussed the importance of departmental colleagues in mentoring new and successful advisors and thought maybe there should be an “advising mentor” who would be in the same department and could help with the issues relating to advising in the major. We also thought about advising “shadowing” in which a new advisor might (with permission) sit in on an advising session with a student and an experienced advisor.

Other topics:
• We need clarity about advising non-majors vs. advising majors – how it’s different, how it’s the same, expectations of a hand-off from one to the other, etc.
• Tenure guidelines include clear statements about teaching, scholarship, and service. Maybe we should have a separate statement about advising.
• New advisor training should include higher-level expectations as well as hands-on, “here’s how you navigate Voyager” sort of content.


We’ll meet again next week (Tuesday 29 October at 11am in MH 306) for more Fun with Advising.