Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

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NEWS

When senior psychology major Lynette Copeland wanted to see an academic adviser last semester, she waited two months.

“[I] wanted to see him to make sure I was on track.  He wouldn’t meet with me because he was busy with lab work. … He didn’t e-mail me back or call me back.”

Copeland is not the only student who has had trouble seeing an adviser, and even some administrators acknowledge that FAU’s advising situation is not up to par. At 663 students per adviser, FAU’s student-to-adviser ratio is more than double the national average, according to NACADA, the National Academic Advising Association (see side bar). 

FAU plans on hiring eight new advisers to ease overcrowding. Dean of Undergraduate Studies Ed Pratt assumed they would be hired by March.  Regardless, eight will not be enough to bring the student-to-adviser ratio down to NACADA’s recommended maximum of 300 students per adviser. 

“It’s important to understand that the hire of eight new advisers will only be a first step.  We need around 36 new advisers to bring us up to the standard recommended by the National Academic Advising Association,” said Pratt. 

He added that more advisers may be hired in 2011, depending on the budget.

For now, FAU plans on hiring three advisers for the College of Arts and Letters, two in the College of Business, two in the College of Science, and one in the College of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs.

“We have been informed that the university is hiring new advisers on behalf of the colleges,” said College of Business Associate Director Tiffany Nicholson. “Many of the colleges lost positions in their student services as a result of the budget crisis that the state has.  [The College of Business] lost a half-time undergraduate position in an office that was already understaffed to meet the needs of our students.”

Nicholson added that the College of Business’ Boca office only advises pre-business students in groups of up to six to ease overcrowding.  It also only allows business majors to make walk-in appointments on the Boca campus.  They can still make appointments with an adviser on the Davie campus.

Transfer students have also had to wait weeks before meeting with an adviser. Junior biology major Shirley Saint-Remey transferred to FAU two months before the fall 2009 semester.”I [had] just transferred, and it took a couple weeks before I could see an adviser.”

If a student’s currently assigned adviser has no time to see them, then that student can see another adviser not assigned to them, Pratt said.

“I assume this is possible because many colleges keep their advising notes online, meaning that they can be accessed by other advisers in the same college,” he explained.
Pratt also acknowledged the bigger problem.

“We still need to do more to service students who have not had access to advisers, such as sophomores and students unable to enter high-demand majors because of GPA or other factors.”

 

Pass or fail?
How FAU’s advising measures up

According to the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), a nonprofit organization that discusses academic advising, the national average of students to advisers is 284 to 1. Here are the ratios for FAU’s colleges:

– Arts & Letters: 1,096 to 1
– Science: 900 to 1
– Business: 888 to 1
– Education: 626 to 1
– Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs: 501 to 1
– Freshman advising: 424 to 1 (estimated)
– Nursing: 208 to 1

The ratios for the College of Biomedical Science, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Honors College and the Graduate College were not supplied.

[Source: Ed Pratt, dean of undergraduate studies]

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