Section 1: Advisor's Handbook Purpose & Use
Please note that more recent versions of the Advisors Handbook as well as expansions and clarifications of specific sections may exist in hardcopy. Registrar Phil Apodaca, Associate Dean of the College Victor Nelson-Cisneros, and the Dean's Office can provide current information. Always check the most recent edition of the Colorado College Catalog for information about policies and courses. Do not assume that this is the most recent articulation of the College's policies or procedures.
The Colorado College Advising Handbook, Section 1:
The Colorado College Academic Advisor's Handbook is to assist faculty in their work with academic advising. The handbook presents information on the role of advising at the College, the academic policies and procedures of the College, and provides information and suggestions to help you with your advising responsibilities.
The quality of advising is the joint responsibility of faculty, students and administrators. Good advising contributes to student persistence and academic excellence. Advising is another context and opportunity for teaching. As such, advisors can help students understand the relevance of their college requirements and majors to future personal educational and professional choices. More significantly, faculty can help students understand the importance and value of a liberal arts education and what it means to be a liberally educated person at the beginning of the 21st century.
We hope that you will find the handbook a useful tool and valuable resource. Comments and suggestions to improve its usefulness are welcomed and should be sent to Jeff Noblett, Associate Dean of the Faculty, AH 108, or call 389-6681.
Teaching and Advising
The Colorado College offers students the opportunity to learn in small classes through open discourse with faculty and fellow students. Learning in this setting creates an active and engaging relationship between the faculty member and the student which is based on trust, support and encouragement. Advising, at its best, is also a teaching and personal relationship developed via conversations between the faculty advisor and the student. The goal of good academic advising is to advance the academic goals and objectives developed by the student in these conversations. The advisors help students answer questions and reach sound decisions about their academic goals and program, provide accurate information, and help students take full advantage of the College resources to achieve their goals. The care and personal attention given to students in and out of the classroom is the foundation for successful learning in teaching and advising.
The academic advising program at Colorado College assigns faculty and academic support administrators as academic advisors to all full-time students. All students receive guidance from their advisors to insure that they make informed and timely choices about their academic program and plan ahead to take advantage of all the academic opportunities available at Colorado College. As advisors, the faculty are responsible to:
- Review new advisee folders, provided by the Dean's Office, prior to meeting with their advisees on the Friday of New Student Orientation (NSO) at the beginning of the academic year.
- Meet with new advisees during New Student Orientation (Friday Morning) to review their course selections for FYE blocks one and two. Students will be free to change courses within the FYE set of courses as availability of space allows. You might post a sign-up sheet on your door early in NSO for students to sign prior to the Friday morning meeting; some advisors prefer to meet with their entire set of new advisees at once--if so, a note on your door explaining your plan would be helpful. You should receive advisee packets before or in the first days of NSO, and may wish to contact your new advisees by email or telephone before NSO Friday.
- Set an appointment to meet with each new advisee during block one to get acquainted, review each other's responsibilities in the advising relationship, and review basic information about teaching, studying and learning under the block plan. Convey to the student an interest in him or her as a person and not just in the student's academic success.
- Have a thorough understanding of the curriculum, all-college requirements, course sequences, and requirements for a major. Advisors should be familiar with the course schedule and be able to recommend visiting faculty, block visitors, and courses with little visibility that a new student is unlikely to discover. Have a thorough knowledge of College rules and regulations and the process for petitioning for waivers of rules to the Dean's Advisory Committee.
- Have a thorough knowledge of College rules and regulations and the process for petitioning for waivers of rules to the Dean's Advisory Committee.
- Acquaint advisees with the services and opportunities available to them at Colorado College. Refer advisees to other persons and services (such as the Boettcher Health Center, the Career Center, etc.) when appropriate. Follow-up on referrals with the office and the student.
- Help advisees understand their past educational achievements and how these are related to their present educational goals. Try to broaden their view of a liberal education; help them think about options and alternative approaches to their educational goals. Advisees should feel that they can come to you to discuss whatever is on their minds (papers, problems, ideas, etc.) at any time during the block. Let them know your office hours and preference about calling for an appointment to avoid missed connections. If you give the student your home phone number, make sure that you tell them what times are appropriate to call and the time after which it is inappropriate to call you. Providing this information prevents calls at the wrong hour and helps students feel comfortable calling at the appropriate time.
- Inform advisees about the process of changing advisors. Sometimes the advising relationship does not work out; students should know that they can change advisors without much difficulty. Students may change advisors at any time by filling out a change of advisor form available in the registrar's office. It requires the signature of the old advisor and the signature of the new advisor. You may want to mention that faculty are not offended because a student wants to change advisors.
- Help new advisees plan their academic program for blocks three through eight of their first year while anticipating the student's second year schedule and their declaring a major at the end of their second year. Question their reasons and priorities for choosing the courses they have chosen. Talk about the grading options available to them. Help them create a balanced academic plan for the rest of the year. Encourage independence and long-range curriculum planning in your advisees. New students register for blocks 3-8 in October of their first year. Faculty Advisors receive students' pin numbers as well as their own for use in the electronic pre-registration. A student must secure the advisor’s pin number in order to pre-register via the computer. Good objectives for new student registration include: completion of the Alternative Perspectives: A (two units of Western Culture) requirement, one natural science requirement and at least one introductory course for majors in each discipline in which they are considering majoring. Otherwise, students should be exploring courses such as First-Year Seminars (FS), General Studies courses (GS), Divisional Studies courses (SS, NS, HS), and Emphasis on Writing courses. In addition, we want to encourage students to explore and take risks in their course selections. They should take some courses which open doors to areas in which they have little previous knowledge or background.
- Meet with advisees during the pre-registration period in Spring to review and assess your advisee's proposed course schedule in relation to their degree progress report. Make sure that your advisees are making progress on the all-college requirements. Discuss the option of completing a Thematic Minor instead of the distribution requirements. Alert them to the importance of declaring a major before the end of their second year. Once the major is declared, students should choose an advisor in the department or program in which they intend to major.
- Do not make a guess in response to a student's question about policy or requirements. The College may be legally obliged to conform to your incorrect guess. Check the Catalog, ask a faculty colleague, ask the Registrar or the Associate Registrar (x6610 or x6611), or ask the Associate Dean of the College (x6687).
- Keep track of your advisee's progress in his or her academic pursuits by staying in touch with your advisee and by keeping accurate records. If any advisee seems to drift away and repeatedly fails to make appointments, take the initiative to inquire directly or notify the Associate Dean of the College.
- Encourage advisees to be involved in extracurricular activities and intramural sports or an exercise program.
- Ideally, try to meet or speak with your advisees at least twice a semester and at least once during block one, and with new (first-year and transfer) advisees before they register for blocks 3-8; you should meet all of your advisees prior to and/or during pre-registration in Spring (block 7).
- If an advisee receives a No Credit in a class, you should contact or meet with the advisee to find out the cause of the failure. The advisor should help the advisee plan activities to meet the difficulties facing the student. Assess whether you should refer the student to another professional person on campus and then ask the student whether you can make the arrangements for the student in their presence. Follow-up on the referral with the professional and the student. Encourage students who are having difficulty to see the Dean of Students or the Associate Dean of the College.
- Good academic advising involves the ability of the advisor to help a student take responsibility for choices about his or her education and define and develop realistic goals. The advisor must accurately perceive a student's needs, and then help match these needs with available College resources in a responsive manner. At times, it may be proper to suggest to a student a change of goals, a change of academic discipline, a change of institutions, a leave of absence or even withdrawal from college. These questions should be addressed in the atmosphere of a caring and trusting relationship.
The Student's Role and Responsibility in the Advising Relationship
Students share a significant responsibility for the success of the advising relationship. Students should take the initiative in seeking advice and developing close relationships with their advisors. An advisor should inform each advisee about the student's responsibility in the advising relationship. You might want to copy items 1-9 or adapt these points to suit your expectations of students and give them to your advisees. In order to develop an effective advising relationship with their advisors, students should:
- Learn the name of their advisor, the location of the advisor's office, the phone extension and the department secretary's phone extension early in the first block.
- Schedule appointments with their advisor early in each pre-registration period. Encourage your advisees to plan at least two schedules, a first choice and second choice set of courses, before coming to see you about scheduling for the following year. They should be prepared to discuss their course selections in terms of their interests and academic objectives.
- Accept responsibility for their academic choices. They should keep track of progress toward the degree, noting requirements met and courses and requirements yet to be met for graduation.
- Maintain a file for themselves with their academic records: transcripts, course schedules (outcomes), degree progress reports, relevant correspondence, and copies of petitions for waivers, declaration of major form, Liberal Arts and Science major application form, and Thematic Minor application.
- Become familiar with the all-college requirements, Thematic Minors, and distribution requirements by reading the "Academic Policies" section of the Bulletin. They should also read the pamphlet on the Honor Code, the Pathfinder, and engage in personal long-range curriculum planning.
- Consult with their advisor when they add and drop courses or otherwise change their approved course schedule. Students who change their course schedules, may fail to complete a requirement. Students are ultimately responsible for their own choices, but advisors need to know what is going on in order to be helpful. Students have failed to graduate because they changed a required course without telling their advisors.
- Consult with their advisors before declaring a major, changing majors, taking a leave of absence, studying abroad, changing advisors, transferring to another college, or withdrawing from the College.
- Meet or speak to their advisor about once a block. Students should immediately seek out their advisors when they are having difficulties. If the advisor is away from campus, the student should see the Dean of Students or the Associate Dean of the College. Both offices can be of great help. A student can also consult with the department chair of the advisor, especially if the student is a major in that department. Early contact and discussion is essential given the pace of the Block Plan.
- Become familiar with the full range of opportunities and services at the College. Some of these include the Dean of Students Office, Boettcher Health Center, the Career Center, Campus Activities Office, Residential Life, Tutt Library, Academic Computing, the Writing Center, the Alumni Office, Community Service Office, Office of International Programs, Office of Minority Student Affairs, El Pomar Sports Center, Shove Chapel, student organizations, CCCA, Arts and Crafts Program, Outdoor Recreation Center, Intramural Sports Program, and the Freshman Outdoor Orientation Trips (FOOT) program.
General Deadlines During Each Block
First class meeting each block: All block courses meet at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, the first day of the block. Location of courses (rooms) is available at the Registrar's Office, Worner Desk, and the main desk of each residence hall. The classroom assignment list will indicate whether a course is meeting in the afternoon (P.M.), all afternoon classes meet at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, the first day of the block. Adjunct and Extended Format courses meet as individually announced. Students should ask the teacher for the schedule, meeting times and classroom for these courses.
Class rosters and waiting lists: Students enrolled in a class should be present for the calling of the roll on the first Monday of the block. Typically, faculty call the roll during the first hour of class. Students whose names appear on the class roll and are present to respond to their name are enrolled in the course. Students who are absent usually are removed from the roll, and the instructor calls the name of the first person on the waiting list. If the person on the waiting list is present, he or she is added to the class list. Students may make arrangements with the instructor to be late or absent from the first day of class at the discretion of the instructor.
However, students who are added to the class from the waiting list must fill out an add/drop slip in the Registrar's Office during the first four days of the block in order to be able to select a grading track. Students who fail to add the course at the Registrar's Office will have to take the course for grades. This rule should be announced to the students who are admitted into a class off the waiting list. Students on waiting lists are moved into a class when an opening occurs in the class roster because of student-initiated changes during the academic year. When an opening occurs, the student at the top of the waiting list is tentatively added to the class list and asked to come and confirm the course at the Registrar's Office within 48 hours. The student who does not add the course officially is dropped from the waiting list and the Registrar sends a notice to the next student on the list.
Adding and Dropping a course: Students can add or drop courses to be taken in future blocks at any time prior to the beginning of those courses. In addition, students can add a course in progress during the first two days of the course; but they must first drop the course in which they were previously enrolled for that block. Exceptions to the procedure must be authorized by a dean and the affected professors. Dropping a course without authorization automatically results in a grade of No Credit. Students may drop a course before the second Tuesday of the block at 5:00 p.m. After that the student will receive a No Credit unless an Excused grade is granted by the Registrar.
Changes to the Grading Track: Students may change their grading track during the first four days of the block. Students who add a course after the first Thursday of the block deadline must take the course for grades.
How an Advisor is Assigned to an Entering Student
The Assistant Dean of the College assigns all new students, both first year and transfers, to faculty advisers prior to the start of the academic year and in January. Winter Start students are assigned in the late summer prior to their first (winter/spring) semester at the college to faculty teaching in the winter/spring semester. Ideally, a student is assigned to an advisor with whom she or he is taking a class or who is in an academic department in which the student has expressed interest. Transfer students are assigned to a faculty member in the department in which they intend to major.
In the Fall, there are usually from 85 to 95 regular faculty available for assignment. Faculty are assigned seven new advisees on average. Availability of faculty is dependent on the total number of returning advisees assigned to a faculty member, sabbaticals, and leaves of absence. New faculty are usually not assigned advisees during their first year. Advising responsibilities and performance are considered in third year reviews, promotion and tenure, and in annual salary evaluations by the department chair and the Dean of the College. New faculty should meet with their chair in their first year or at the beginning of their second year to review advising procedures and responsibilities at the college and within the department or program.
- Student Options for changing to another Advisor: Students may change advisors at any time by filling out a change of advisor form available in the registrar's office. It requires the signature of the current advisor and the signature of the new advisor. An advisor should inform students that faculty are not offended because a student wants to change advisors. The former advisor should forward the student's advising file to the new adivisor as soon as possible.
- Declaration of Major and the changing of Advisors: Students should declare their major before the beginning of their junior year. Once the major is declared, by filling out the declaration of major form (available in the Registrar's Office) and turning it in to the Chair of the Department, the student should seek out an advisor in the major department. In some cases, the department chair will assign the student to an advisor in the department. A change of advisor form should be filled out and returned to the Registrar's Office for processing.
- Advisors for LAS Majors: Students may create their own Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) major by making a formal application to the Dean's Advisory Committee and receiving approval. The application forms and guidelines are available in the Registrar's Office. An LAS major must have a committee of three advisors; the principal advisor and a second and third advisor (readers). The principal advisor receives information from the Registrar and has primary advising responsibility. All three advisors help the student design the major, review and approve the application, evaluate the student's thesis, and certify the completion of the LAS major. In addition, all three advisors must approve any changes to an approved LAS major and report the requested change and their approval to the Chair of the Dean's Advisory Committee and the Registrar.
The "Take your Advisor to Lunch Program"
Advisees are encouraged to invite their Advisors to go to lunch with them occasionally at the Rastall Dining Hall in Worner Center. It is an opportunity to meet each other outside of the faculty member's office and provides a more informal setting to converse and get to know each other better. Please inform the checker ( a Marriott employee) that you would like to have the Advisor's lunch charged to the office of the Dean of the College.
Students usually change their advisors when they declare a major. Students will either seek out a faculty member in the department of their major or they will be assigned an advisor by the department when they submit their form declaring their major. Working with students who are majors in your department or interdisciplinary program requires the same listening, caring and advising skills that you use with your first year advisees.
Advising majors involves much more than getting a student to meet the requirements of the major. We want to engage students in the serious pursuit of knowledge within the discipline; exposing them to the many varieties of approaches to that knowledge, exposing them to the controversies and debates of the discipline; and helping them develop their own navigation skills in the discipline. As faculty we are models of approaches to the study of our disciplines. We want our students to develop critical perspectives about the old and new ideas within the discipline. We are laying a foundation for life-long learning by our majors.
End Notes (for entire Handbook)
- Dean Brenda Tooley would like to thank Victor Nelson-Cisneros and Richard Storey for their strong commitment to the on-line Advisors Handbook project. She would like to thank reviewers and contributors to the third, on-line edition -- Matthew Birnbaum, Susanne Felber, Sarah Kawano among them.
- Dean Victor Nelson-Cisneros would like to acknowledge the encouragement and commitment of David Finley to this project. He thanks Tim Fuller for his support and the contribution of the Preface in the first edition, and Richard Storey for his support and for revisions to the Preface in the second edition. He would also like to thank the faculty who reviewed an early draft of the handbook and forwarded their comments and suggestions. These include Keith Kester, Judith Laux, Thomas Cronin, Marcia Dobson, Cathy Weir, and Mario Montaño. He would also like to acknowledge the support and suggestions of administrators who helped him clarify some points as well as provide accurate information; he is in their debt. They include Mike Edmonds, Margaret Van Horn, Phillip Apodaca, Rick Roberts, and Tiggy Shields.
- Calhoon, John, Doug Casson, Tina Eyre, David Carlson and Orlando Martinez. Colorado College Campus Association Faculty Advising Review Project. Colorado Springs: CCCA, November 18, 1991.2.2
- Adapted from "Strategies of Advisement," Houston Baptist University, as found in Crockett, David S., ed. Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 765-766.
- Adapted from "Referral Skills," as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.). Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 759-760.
- Adapted from "Thirty Reminders for Effective Advising," as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.). Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 737-738.
- Adapted from "Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes Required for Developmental Advising," in O'Banion, Terry. "An Academic Advising Model," AAJC Journal, March, 1972 as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.).Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 131-132.