Short Answer: Revising Advising

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 5/16/10 10:00pm

Friday's Verbum Ultimum offered recommendations on the proposed restructuring of student advising. What do you think the College must keep in mind as it embarks on this process?

Accessibility must be the highest concern for the administration, but not to the extent that unrelated offices are too closely linked. While it is true that there are too many offices spread across campus, students should not be going to the same place for advising on careers and eating disorders.Chris Talamo '11

Enticing students to seek out advising with free food at meetings hasn't been the most successful system so far. The College must constantly evaluate the goals and needs of individual students and reach out to them proactively.Julian Sarkar '13

A centralized advising "hub" seems like a good idea, though it would be a bit awkward to have kids battling drug addictions sharing a waiting room with kids completing Rhodes scholarship applications. Perhaps this calls for a "good hub/bad hub" arrangement; one hub for disciplinary and crisis counseling, and another for career services, scholarship awards, major card concerns and so on. Clearly, a "bad hub" would be stigma city, but at least all the negativity would be concentrated in one place. And students facing urgent personal problems wouldn't have to play a guessing game about where to go and get help.Ryan McClafferty '12

The advising system sounds good in theory and looks good on paper. In the real world, good advice always depends on the initiative of the seeker and the wisdom of the adviser. The administration should keep that in mind. If they keep their goals small, they can probably produce a reasonably efficient system that won't do much good or much harm, and that's OK.Charles Clark '11

The College could do a much better job guiding first year students, especially in terms of course and D-Plan selections. It seems like students go through their first year with essentially amorphous plans for how to spend their next three years, uncertain of what they'll major in, where they'll study abroad or what they would like to do after graduation. The new guidance system should be more accessible to students and better suited to address these important issues.Josh Kornberg '13

The worst part of the advising system is first year advising. Even though they have an "advisor," first-year students receive little guidance as to what courses to take during their first year. Furthermore, first-year students do not have immediate access to what in my mind is the best part of the advising system at Dartmouth the strong informal advising network that exists among students and professors. I would like to see the College take advantage of this informal network and make it easy for first-year students to get advice from a variety of sources.Andrew Clay '12

When it comes to finding internships, choosing a major or planning a career path, many students are stumped and more than a little lost. Advisors could take this opportunity to reassess the ways in which they talk with students, get to know them and suggest opportunities. They should also bear in mind that pointing students to online sources or expecting students to have specific questions is not always the most productive approach.Emily Baxter '11

I think the College needs to echo its commitment to forming intimate relationships between students and faculty with the advising program and having a one-on-one with a professor in a field of interest is a very valuable experience. However, for better contextual advice, I think students are the best resources. So there should be a greater emphasis on getting students to give back and help out freshmen, while remembering that meeting with professors remains one of many quintessential first-year academic experiences.Zachary Gottlieb '10

Fixing student advising will take more than simply moving all the different resources to one location. Quite frankly, a lot of the "advice" that advisors currently give, whether it is choosing classes and finding an internship, isn't all that helpful. From my experience, I am almost always referred to some website and told that everything is "up to you" (read: figure it out yourself). Real reform to the advising systems will require getting our advisors to actually give some substantive advice.Ethan Wang '13

There is no reason that a centralized advising system would be clinical or "cloistered and inaccessible," as the Verbum suggests. If anything, the current system, which forces students to track down the resources that they need and disperses resources among highly specific, autonomous groups is much worse in these respects. I would hope though that centralizing advising wouldn't decrease the diversity of available resources.Emily Johnson '12

The main priority for these reforms should be to clearly outline what support systems are available, and then let students choose what they will pursue.Natalie Colaneri '12

The area that needs the College's attention most urgently is Career Services. While the department does a decent job for students looking for a career on Wall Street, I can't think of anyone who has ever been truly satisfied with their advising in any other field of work or study. The new administration should focus on creating a Career Services department that helps us find academic opportunities, jobs and internships especially in this rough economy that match the variety of students' interests on campus.Jordan Osserman '11

The College must ensure that the student body is consulted at every step of the potential restructuring process while Kim's approach sounds sensible, an examination of individual student opinion will yield the greatest long term plan.Jacob Batchelor '12