At my institution, faculty are required to serve as academic advisors within the major. It is an area that is evaluated during promotion/tenure review. How do I best report my faculty advising practices in my portfolio?
Tracking Tasks for Tenure
Dear Tracking Tasks for Tenure,
Thank you for your question! Several members of the ECP Committee have completed their portfolios successfully. In fact, our own Janet Peters (pictured at right) recently obtained promotion to Associate Professor! Completing the promotion/tenure portfolio may arduous, but the result is a product that demonstrates months of hard work.
Depending on the institution, there are several ways to define faculty advisors. It seems from your question that a faculty advisor is someone who is assigned Psychology majors and helps them plan their undergraduate schedule and progress to graduation. Some institutions have staff advisors, others utilize one to two faculty members as advisors as a service commitment, and others expect all faculty to serve as academic advisors for all undergraduate majors in their department.
Albee Mendoza (pictured at right), currently the only ECP in the team serving as an academic advisor, shares advice and best practices.
Provide evidence of meetings with your advisees during the semester.
During the Add/Drop period early in the semester, I meet with advisees to make changes on their current schedule as students realize the requirements of their selected courses. After these meetings, I complete a summary of our time in order to remind them of tasks, to document what changes were made to their schedule, and to describe what courses need to be considered come registration time. Advisees also come to me during the graduation petition period, midterm reporting period, and withdrawal period. After these meetings, however brief they may be (i.e., required signature), I send an email to the advisee about the interaction for documentation purposes. [Demonstrates completion of required tasks for advising]
During registration period, I strive to meet with 100% of advisees (I usually have 15 to 25 advisees). I utilize an online scheduling system (i.e., SignUpGenius) to keep track of who is coming when. I make myself available outside of office hours and provide meeting times the week before registration opens until the week after it closes. I email my advisees to indicate available times and how to prepare for their appointment. [Demonstrates additional availability to accommodate advisees]
If the numbers are available and they are in your favor, then you may consider contacting the Information Technology department or Academic Affairs office to report your individual retention and/or graduation rates compared to the institution’s retention and/or graduation rates. [Demonstrates excellence in the area of faculty advising and contribution to the institution’s mission]
Provide evidence of resources that you find most useful.
Like at many institutions, there was no formal training by my institution to serve as a faculty academic advisor. There were voluntary sessions with the department of Information Technology to learn about the technological aspects to register students. I learned about the advising process from asking colleagues in the department as well as consulting the college catalogs. On my own, I utilized STP’s e-books such as Academic Advising: Models, Students, Topics, and Issues and Academic Advising: A Guide to the Sub-Discipline. [Demonstrates the advisor’s willingness to learn more about these practices and understand the needs of individual advisees]
My college catalog is a bit unwieldy, which makes it difficult to ascertain exactly what classes are needed for the major. To overcome this challenge, you may consider creating a user-friendly checklist, mirroring the information on the catalog and containing the general education requirements, major requirements, major electives, and general education electives. This checklist may include when courses are typically offered (every fall, once a year, etc.) and the prerequisites for specific courses. Similarly, you may think about creating a checklist for the minors that your advisees typically select, which may be more time-efficient than looking up the requirements every semester at registration time (e.g., how many credits are needed to complete the minor?, what specific classes are required?, what prerequisites are needed for those required classes?, when are classes usually offered?). For my institution, popular minors include Criminal Justice, Human Biology, History, and English. [Demonstrates the advisor’s production of resources to maximize efficiency during meetings]
Provide evidence of specific activities you do to serve your advisees
Send an email of office hours at the start of the semester to advisees. [Demonstrates that the advisor is available and thinking about their advisees, especially to accommodate them for the Add/Drop period, and is available to them for the entire semester]
Send emails throughout the semester to advisees about important college-wide deadlines (e.g., when to withdraw from classes, when to sign graduation petitions, when late fees are incurred, etc.) [Demonstrates the advisor’s own knowledge of these deadlines and their willingness to be available to students to discuss these issues]
Send emails about department-specific meetings and activities (e.g., Psychology Club Movie Night), community-wide internships and events (e.g., Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk), and nationwide programs and awards (e.g., Psi Chi Regional Travel Grants) [Demonstrates the advisor being engaged with the department’s student organizations, the larger community, and the field as a whole]
Rely on the expertise of different departments throughout campus to support students’ success and professional development (e.g., using the early alert/academic progress report system, referring advisees to on-campus tutoring services, providing contact information for disability support services, encouraging participation at events hosted by the career counselor) [Demonstrates the spirit of interdepartmental collaboration and the encouragement of students’ professional development]
Provide evidence of professional development activities focused on faculty advising
Get involved in academic advising committees.
Attend local, regional, or national talks about faculty advising like NACADA Drive-Ins.
Learn about best practices in serving a variety of student populations (e.g., attending trainings on working with first generation students).
Collaborate with other departments and discuss faculty advising practices.
Complete research and present about faculty advising.
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Because institutions differ in the weight of faculty advising in promotion/tenure review, please make sure to check with colleagues. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments about this topic.
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Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee
Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.
Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.
Molly Metz, Ph.D.
Janet Peters, Ph.D.
Daniel Storage, Ph.D.