STATEMENT OF ACADEMIC ADVISING
(By Faculty action, April 2, 1985).
STATEMENT OF PHILOSOPHY
Basic to Wittenberg's mission is a deep and abiding concern for the welfare of each of its students and the education of the whole person. Accordingly, an important responsibility of its faculty and staff is to provide professional, competent advice for each student with respect to educational, vocational, and personal planning. The approach is person-centered, treating each student as a distinct individual.
Wittenberg recognizes that personal growth and maturity are reached through acceptance of responsibility. The college, therefore, affirms that the primary responsibility for the pattern and outcome of the student's educational program and for the development of social responsibility lies with each student. The role of the advisor is supportive; the student is responsible for knowing institutional policies and programs and has full responsibility for all decisions made.
While Wittenberg recognizes the interest and concerns of parents, it considers the student to be a young adult and a responsible agent, acting in the pursuit of educational goals and social responsibility. The college believes that its relationship with the student complements the students' changing relationship to the parents. Accordingly, the University does not assume the role of parent. Rather, the faculty and staff work along with the parents to cultivate independent and responsible action of the part of the student.
STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the academic advising program are as follows:
- To help the student understand the nature of a liberal education
- To help the student obtain maximum benefit from the total educational experience by discussing emerging interests and relating these interests to University opportunities and opportunities beyond the classroom
- To help the student determine career goals based on the student's aptitudes and interests and outline a course of study that will enable the student to achieve these goals
- To assist students in understanding the policies and regulations which give structure to the students' educational experience
- To offer support to a student as academic and developmental problems arise by counseling or referring the student to appropriate resources
Academic advising at Wittenberg is provided by members of the Wittenberg faculty. The advising role is viewed by the institution as an integral part of the faculty member's responsibilities. Each student entering the college is assigned to a faculty advisor. The adviser is also the student's instructor in the WittSems Course.
Students may request a change of adviser at any time by submitting an adviser change form to the Registrar's office. Most students retain their originally assigned adviser until they declare a major during the sophomore year. At that time the student requests an adviser from the department in which the student has declared a major. Each department determines how it wishes to work with its major advisees. Students who opt for double majors will have an adviser for each of their majors, and students who declare a minor will have an adviser for the minor course of study.
Transfer students with declared majors are assigned directly to the chairpersons of the major department. After the initial conference, the chairperson may reassign these students to a faculty advisor within the department. Transfer students who have not identified a major are assigned to the Registrar's office.
In all cases of advisee assignments, the advising load will be considered within the context of the faculty member's total set of responsibilities and commitments.
THE ADVISING PROGRAM FOR FIRST YEAR STUDENTS
The advising program for first year students reflects the philosophy and objective of Wittenberg's academic advising program. However, since this program is specifically designed to assist the entering student in the process of adjusting to the college experience, it has the following special features:
A Summer Pre-orientation program and New Student Days are held prior to the fall semester for first year and transfer students. The program provides several opportunities for first year students to meet with advisors. Topics of discussion include the nature of a liberal arts education, making the transition to college, results of placement exams, fall semester course schedules, and institutional academic requirements. Additionally, special activities are arranged for transfer, minority, commuter, and international students.
The first year student advisees are enrolled in the WittSems course taught by their advisors fall semester. This placement strengthens the relationship between advisor and advisee and also provides a common time for daily information or problem-sharing.
Faculty advisers are encouraged to relate to their advisees in a social context through such activities as pizza parties, concerts, faculty home visits, etc. A stipend is provided to help defray expenses.
All first year students are required to meet with their advisers each semester to obtain course registrations and to have the opportunity to discuss and plan their class schedules and overall academic program.
For the objectives of the academic advising program to be achieved, the faculty adviser should seek to exercise the following basic responsibilities:
- Being acquainted with the advisee. Know the advisee's academic abilities and background, become familiar with objectives, interests and motivations of the advisee. (This may extend to some acquaintance with the advisee's non-academic background, such as home influences, financial needs, campus residence, hobbies, etc.).
- Establishing a rapport with the advisee by showing interest, understanding and respect. (In this connection it may be appropriate for the faculty member to make the student aware of the possibility of changing faculty advisor).
- Clearly outlining the advisor's role and responsibilities in the advising process and help the student define and understand responsibilities.
- Being available, keeping office hours for appointments.
- Providing accurate information on University requirements, procedures, and policies related to the academic program.
- Being familiar with courses in the curriculum (prerequisite, content, availability) and the registration system.
- Keeping accurate records on the advisee's profile, academic program and progress, conferences and conversations.
- Being familiar with graduate education possibilities.
- Having an understanding of the nature of student development and the relationship of liberal education opportunities to student development.
THE ASSISTANT PROVOST FOR ACADEMIC SERVICES
The Assistant Provost for Academic Services is a member of the Provost's staff who is responsible for the coordination of the academic advising program. Duties related to this area of responsibility include training of first year student advisers, maintenance of a first year student adviser manual, implementation of programs, practices and procedures that benefit the advisement of students, assisting with on-going training for advisers, and evaluation of the academic advising program to ensure that the objectives of the program are being met.
To assist the faculty member in the advising role, Wittenberg provides the following resources to all advisers:
- A Wittenberg catalog
- A Faculty Manual, which includes a section on advising information and procedures
- A cumulative adviser file, initiated by the Registrar at the time of matriculation, which serves as an academic working field for the student and advisor during the student's enrollment
- Course content information, which is distributed prior to each registration period
- A comprehensive list of other advisory services on campus and materials on the EARLY INTERVENTION early warning system
- The Assistant Provost for Academic Services
- online watch report and degree audit
In addition to the resources above, advisors of first year students are provided with the following resources:
A first year student adviser manual
- Two orientation assistants, trained upper class students who assist the faculty advisers with first year student orientation and other activities during the year as needed.
- In-service training program
- A stipend to help defray expenses for social activities with the first year student advising group
ADVISING UNDECIDED FIRST YEAR STUDENTS
(Revised April, 1997)
First year students who arrive at Wittenberg undecided about their major will need special help in planning their class schedules. They may also need clear indications from the advisor that it is normal and acceptable to be undecided at this entry point, coupled with advice on how to get closer to a decision over the course of their first year. This will be especially important to those who want to take advantage of Wittenberg's Four Year Graduation Guarantee.
THOSE WAVERING BETWEEN TWO MAJORS
Those who are wavering between two majors should consider scheduling the suggested first year courses in both majors while completing general education requirements where possible. This may assist them to clarify which major best suits their capabilities.
Those who are undecided (or are considering three or more majors) should probably be advised to design their schedules so that at least three courses taken each semester fit General Education requirements. Their other course can be used to explore possible majors. These courses can be used as electives later if the discipline is not chosen as a major or minor. Undecided students might also be encouraged to visit lower-level classes in subject areas in which they think they might have some interest, and perhaps to visit upper-level classes in that major, before scheduling classes for the coming semester. These visits can serve as mini-explorations into a discipline, and help students determine how deep their interest in a particular discipline runs.
It is important to encourage undecided students to widen their interests first and narrow them only after considerable exploration of majors and careers, since choices made from among a wide range of alternatives tend to be the most stable choices in the long run. However, the semester system makes it important to begin exploring majors earlier to allow students to complete graduation requirements on time while still making it possible to take advantage of Wittenberg's "Power of Experience" Program, including opportunities to study abroad, complete career-related internships, etc.
Community Service experiences often provide opportunities for undecided students to test out environments in which they are interested in building careers - potential education majors can get experience in the classroom; possible management majors can work with Junior Achievement projects; students interested in medicine can volunteer in a hospital emergency room, birthing room, pediatric ward, etc. Advisers are encouraged to suggest early community service as a form of career exploration.
Most of all, it is important to undecided students, to our efforts to retain them, to encourage these students to take charge of their educational experience - to gain the information and experiences that will make them feel ready to set academic and career goals for themselves.
Advisers can assist undecided students by directing them to these Career Center services. These services may be particularly helpful to undecided students. The Career Center web site contains a wealth of useful information.
Available on WittLink this exercise serves as a base from which to develop a four- year plan for college and career success. It helps first-year students examine the entire "package" they are putting together at Wittenberg in relationship to their possible career goals so that critical decisions - from what major to choose, to campus activities, to community service, internships, summer jobs, independent study subjects and study abroad--can be made to meet both the student's broader academic interests and career goals. Often strategic decisions about extra- and co-curricular activities allow students substantial freedom to choose a major or minor that is a match to their intellectual interests, rather than feeling compelled to make a "safe" vocational choice.
"Don't Cancel Class" Career Center Presentations
Often a brief classroom presentation by the Career Center Director will encourage students to begin thinking about careers as expressions of their creative spirit, their personal values and interests, and their unique combination of abilities. Faculty sometimes choose to schedule these presentations during a class period they cannot personally cover.
Alumni Careers Day Program
Participating departments coordinate panel discussions in which successful alumni/ae share insights into their chosen career. Designed to show the diverse career paths taken by graduates with the same major but differing interests, values and abilities, this program is co-sponsored by the Career Center and the Alumni Office.
The Career Center Director will be glad to consult with advisors to determine what intervention might be made in the case of a particular advisee who needs assistance in academic or career decision-making. Strategies for your use in working with a student may be suggested, or a referral for career counseling may be encouraged. . In support of that process career testing is available including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Campbell Interest and Skills Test, and the interactive guidance system, FOCUS.
This workshop assists students with examining their interests in relationship to academic programs and career options. It is held in the fall prior to Advising Week
All departments share the important task of promoting interest in graduate study and advising students for advanced academic work. Each department is asked to designate one of its members as a graduate study advisor to work with the Career Center in the dissemination of materials and to assist students directly by providing personalized graduate school advising. Faculty with expertise to advise students interested in professional schools - law, medicine, theology, business, library science, etc. - are also designated to assist students with those interests. Each department is expected to maintain files on graduate study in related fields and to communicate information on graduate school placements to the Center so that complete records may be maintained for assessment and accreditation purposes. Graduate school advising resources can be accessed through our homepage under the heading "Get Into Graduate School". This section contains on-line versions of Peterson's Guides to Graduate Study, testing and financial aid information, advice on writing graduate school essays, etc. Additional books, periodicals and handouts are available in the Patmos Career Resource Center, 210 Shouvlin.
The Career Center offers a "Graduate School Planning Program” each year to prepare students for the graduate school preparation process.
Graduate School Testing
Graduate School Testing Information for the GRE (arts and sciences), LSAT (law), GMAT (business), MCAT(medicine), VCAT (veterinary medicine), DAT (dentistry), OAT (optometry), APHAT (allied health), PCAT(pharmacy) is available at The Career Center. The computer based testing programs for the GRE and GMAT are now available through Sylvan Learning Centers on a year-round basis.
Note: Pre-Med students and students from all majors who are planning to study off-campus fall semester of their senior year, should plan early to take graduate school tests in the spring semester of their junior year, or during the summer prior to their senior year.
Graduate School Fellowships
Graduate School Fellowship information is available from a variety of sources within the advising network. The Assistant Provost for Academic Services handles competitions for National Science Foundation, Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, and Mellon Fellowships. The Career Center maintains resources on Fellowships sponsored by specific graduate programs, and Professional School advisors receive information relevant to their specific areas of expertise.
Wittenberg places students in a wide variety of study abroad programs. The University maintains an office of International Education for the purpose of housing a library of pertinent materials, advising students of available programs, counseling them, and facilitating their study abroad. Students should be directed to the Director of International Education.
The Committee on International Education assists and advises the Director of International Education in developing study abroad policy, in counseling students, and in approving credit for their program.
International students will be assigned routinely for their academic advising. The Director of International Education will counsel international students in matters unique to their status as international students.
All students interested in pursuing licensure to teach should consult with a faculty member in the Education Department as early in their college career as possible to assure timely planning of required courses. Formal application should be made following the guidelines contained in the Policy on Admission to the Teacher Education Program, contained in the Education Department's listing in the Academic Catalog. Only students who have been admitted to the teacher education program may apply for permission to student teach. The Policy on Permission to Student Teach is also contained in the Academic Catalog.
Students working for the A.B. in Music degree will be advised by the faculty of the Music Department.
Pre-law, pre-medicine, and pre-theology advisers cooperate with the appropriate committees in the counseling of these students.
OTHER ADVISING SERVICES
Career Consulting and Program Development - Karen Reynolds
Financial Aid - J. Randy Green
Greek Coordinator – Casey Stevens
Health Center - Jill Vanuch
International Education - JoAnn Bennett
Minority Students - Forest Wortham
Peace Corps - Karen Reynolds
Personal Counseling - Linda Lauffenburger
Placement Services: Karen Reynolds
Religious Counseling - Rachel and Anders Tune
Residences - Holly Reynolds
Selective Services - Jack Campbell (Registrar)
Substance Abuse - Linda Lauffenburger
Student Activities - Mark DeVilbiss
Veteran's Coordinator - Lynn Thoma
Math Workshop - Kathy Johnson
Writing Center - Maureen Fry
Faculty members are encouraged to contact the residence coordinators for assistance in matters relating to students in the respective halls.
DECLARATION OF MAJOR
It is required that every student declare a major not later than the end of the spring semester of the sophomore year. This is one means of helping to ensure that students will finish a major program of study within four years.
Before the first registration subsequent to the declaration of a major, the student and the student's adviser must plan a program of studies for the balance of the student's degree program.
The student is free to change the major at any time that it is academically feasible. Application for a change of major should be made to the chairperson of the department to which the student will transfer.
DECLARATION OF MINOR
A student may declare a minor at any time during the degree program.
The chairperson of the department in which the student wishes to minor must be consulted and the student must prepare a program of studies to accomplish the student's study objective. The department chairperson will assist the student in completing the Declaration of Minor form for filing with the Registrar.
The student is free to change the minor at any time that it is academically feasible. Application for a change of minor must be made to the chairperson of the department to which the student will transfer.
Course content information will be available for advisors and advisees during Academic Advising Week. Department chairpersons will secure from members of their respective departments a short paragraph describing the content of their courses in the forthcoming semester. This information will then be typed within the department and forwarded to the Provost's Office where the information will be duplicated, collated and sent out to advisors. Copies will also be available in the Library and Student Center for students to use. Course information is also available on Wittenberg's Website under "Academics."
A cumulative adviser file will be initiated at the time of matriculation and will accompany the student during enrollment, remaining always in the hands of the adviser. The file will contain a transcript of the student's academic work, a form for accumulative record of interviews, grade reports, and such other information as the adviser considers necessary. The file shall be forwarded to any new adviser and, at the time of graduation, will remain with the department. The advisor file is an academic working file for the convenience of the student and the adviser. The official student personal file is maintained in the Student Services Office. All copies of correspondence and records having a bearing upon the student's personal status should be forwarded to the student personal file which is confidential.