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Students voice mixed views on pilot advising programs

Surveys administered to the freshman and sophomore classes show a mixed bag of opinion on the pilot academic advising system. While freshmen were generally satisfied with the new program, their Class of 2000 counterparts reported that academic advising could use some improvements.

At the beginning of the school year, a new system was implemented, adding student advisers from the senior class to each residential college, assigning a graduate student coordinator to act as a link between the faculty and peer advisers and designating faculty advisors specifically for either freshmen or sophomores.


According to the freshman survey – completed and turned in with course cards – more than 80 percent of the students responding gave the advising system an overall rating of three, four or five on a scale in which five represented "extremely helpful" and one represented "extremely unhelpful."

"Satisfaction with the advising system seems much higher this year than last year," said Butler College Director of Studies Claire Fowler, who was in charge of the survey. "People have responded positively to the changes."

According to Fowler, various "things working together" contributed to the improvement of the freshman advising system. Peer advisers were extremely helpful during orientation. Because faculty advisers were not assigned to both freshmen and sophomores, faculty assigned to freshmen were able to focus solely on that class, she explained.

Erin Shaughnessy '01 confirmed the survey's findings, agreeing that the system works well, though she said she would like more advising focused on specific classes. "I like my adviser a lot, but I would like to see more advising on limited enrollment classes and deadlines in general," she said.

Sophomore advising

A different survey distributed to sophomores assessed student satisfaction with the individual advisers, such as faculty advisers, peer advisers and departmental faculty. In addition, the survey asked how many times the students had used the various advising sources.

According to Assistant Dean of the College Harold McCulloch, the sophomore advising has been improved, but more work is needed to fine-tune the system for those students who are at a crucial stage in their college careers when they must begin to decide on possible majors.

'Sense of continuity'


"We feel that we gave sophomores too much flexibility by allowing them to meet with any of the five faculty advisers in the residential colleges," he said. "It's too serious of a moment (in their college careers) although we still want them to have flexibility in the add/drop period."

McCulloch also expressed a desire for freshman faculty advisers to continue advising sophomores in the upcoming academic year. "We think that it might be helpful for freshman faculty advisers to consider advising sophomores next year, so that there is a sense of continuity for everyone," he said.

He concluded, "We are extremely pleased with the freshman response, and though we aren't displeased with the sophomore response, that is where we need to focus our efforts. And we will."

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