Student Advising in the Major:

Advising Criminology and Criminal Justice Undergraduates*

 

 

Kate Hanrahan, Ph.D.

Theodore Shields, M.S.

Kristine Empie, M.B.A.

Department of Criminology

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

 

 

*This paper is a DRAFT. Please do not quote or cite without permission. We would like to thank Dr. Charles Bertness and the staff of I.U.P.'s Applied Research Lab for their assistance with this project.

 

 

Paper presented at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March, 1998.

 

Introduction

 

It is Thursday 3:00 pm and you have just finished your third class of the day. Office hours are next. Rounding the corner to your office you see Melissa R., one of your undergraduate advisees. This visit is somewhat unexpected: it isn't time to schedule, Melissa has a couple of semesters before she faces the "what am I going to do after college" question, and the last day to withdraw from classes has passed. Melissa, it turns out, just "wants to talk." And she does -- for 55 minutes. She talks about the Biology class she thinks she might fail, even though she has been studying with her roommate who always gets As or Bs. She talks about how hard Crim. Research Methods is and how the teacher -- a respected colleague and friend -- seems particularly distant and unsympathtic. She mentions that she really needs to finish a paper this weekend, but her mother is insisting that she come home for her neice's christening. You give what advice you can. As she is standing in the doorway, about to leave, she asks you if you remember the lecture you gave last semester on intimate violence. She wants to know if you believe a person could hit his girlfriend once in while but still really care about her. You invite her to sit down again.

 

No question about it: advising undergraduate students is a challenge. As faculty members, we are responsible for assisting and guiding undergraduates toward successful completion of their college degree. Unfortuately, our role as advisors is neither particularly well defined nor well appreciated. Even so, the role is important and, some argue, expanding. The renewed emphasis on teaching as part of scholarship in higher education explains part of the interest in advising (see Boyer, 1990; Selvin 1992; Gibbs and Hanrahan, 1995). Additionally, there is evidence that effective advising is important to student satisfaction and retention [Kelly & Lynch 1991; Fielstein & Lammers 1992]. As colleges and universities deal with dwindling budgets, they often look to the faculty to enlarge those of our roles that will lessen the burden of administration -- roles like advising. It is certainly the case that efforts to evaluate advising are becoming more common [Severy et al. 1994].

Performance and evaluation of the advising function are complicated endeavors. There is ample evidence beyond the personal anecdotal type that all the actors involved -- students, faculty advisors, and administrators -- view advising differently. Typically, large numbers of students with diverse backgrounds and needs are assigned to us. Typically, we are given little or no formal training, and most of us have survived or evaded an advising system that provided few if any appropriate role models. And, to be honest, we need to recognize that student advising is -- again, typically -- undervalued and carries few, if any, extrinsic rewards in the academic workplace.

Advising in Criminology/Criminal Justice Programs

Advising in criminology and criminal justice programs is complicated by the mixed blessing of the sheer popularity of our major. In many colleges, we make up the bulk of the enrollments. Often, however, the number of faculty lines allocated to our programs doesn't reflect the size of the major. Many of us teach in programs where a very large proportion of classes are taught by adjuncts. In part, this reflects general trends in higher education (Leatherman 1998). In part, it reflects chronic disciplinary disadvantages in funding. Whatever the source, a part time, semester-to-semester, adjunct faculty member is ill equipped (and may not be permitted) to advise students. Large enrollments in the major and small numbers of full time faculty translate into large advisee loads. In our department, for example, each faculty member is responsible for advising about 90 undergraduate students.

As a group, college students face a wide variety of personal challenges. Particularly for traditional-aged students, the college years represent a critical developmental stage. As advisors, we see students in the throes of adjusting to relative independence (often including experimentation with drugs and alcohol), or relationship crises, or physical and mental health problems. We advise students about what to do "with their lives" -- which career paths to follow, whether graduate school is a reasonable option, and many other unfocused but critical issues.

Criminal Justice and Criminology majors seem to offer a particularly intense concentration of needs. We doubt it is purely coincidental that our major attracts so many students who have personal or family experience with victimization or with the criminal justice system. How many of us have had students -- like Melissa in the example that begins this paper -- drop by during office hours, or after class, or (less commonly) speak up in class and say "that happened to me"? What is an advisor to do?

This paper is written for faculty members who advise undergraduate Criminology and Criminal Justice majors. Our purpose is to explore the area a bit, and to report our experience with two aspects of undergraduate advising at our university: the use of a centralized advising center, and a pilot project on peer mentoring. We will also report on a survey of our undergraduates that was designed to identify preferences for advising services and to evaluate current advising efforts.

Advising Undergraduate Students

The term "student advising" includes a large number of related tasks. There is a literature here, a good deal of which has been created by professional advisors. There are organizations dedicated to student advising [e.g. the National Academic Advising Association -- known as NACADA -- and founded in 1979] that produce monographs and journals, and maintain websites [see e.g. www.ksu.edu/nacada].

A quick jaunt through the advising literature suggests a few different ways of understanding the activity. One classic distinction is between "prescriptive" and "developmental" advising (Crookston 1994). In the prescriptive model, the advisor-student relationship resembles that of a doctor-patient: the doctor tells the patient what to do, and presumably, the patient follows through. Developmental advising uses a different model entirely:

In contrast with the authoritarian quality of the prescriptive relationship between

academic advisor and student . . . the developmental relationship is based on different

values and principles. The most important of these is the belief that the relationship itself is one in which the academic advisor and the student differentially engage in a series of developmental tasks, the successful completion of which results in varying degrees of learning by both parties. These developmental tasks include reaching an agreement on who takes the initiative, who takes responsibility, who supplies knowledge and skill and how they are obtained and applied (Crookston, 1994, p.6, emphasis in original).

Additional studies focus on institutional support as the root of successful advising. Fieldstein and Lammers (1992) note levels of administrative support, available university/college/departmental resources, advisor recognition and/or reward, consensus of role or function of the advisor, and consistent performance evaluation as the pillars of a successful advising system. In their study of three different colleges (Agriculture and Home Economics, Arts and Sciences, and Business), Fieldstein and Lammers found that student satisfaction with advising increased as the student to faculty ratio decreased. The College of Business in Fieldstein and Lammersí (1992) study was strapped with a 1:40 faculty to student ratio and showed appreciably lower student satisfaction scores. In criminology and criminal justice the ratios can be much more extreme; as noted, our department operates on approximately a 1:90 faculty advisor to student ratio.

Other studies seek to identify the key components or main factors in the advising relationship. Essentially (and doing some violence to the studies summarized here), the empirical research on advising needs/desires suggests that students are interested in a wide variety of services and functions. The literature suggests that students are interested in personal relationships with their advisors, personal development, administrative guidance, career advice/planning, and of course, all manner of academic advice: from basic information about graduation requirements to finding the most compatible professors (Fielstein and Lammers 1992; Severy et al. 1994; McAuliffe and Strand 1994; and Crookston 1994). Additionally, it is clear from a recent batch of Dear Advisor letters collected from incoming students at this university indicate that freshmen, quite understandably, place greater weight on transitional/adjustment factors.

Flanagan and his co-authors (1997) have also reviewed this literature and they offer a useful way to classify approaches to undergraduate advising. They rely on four factors to divide the field. First, is the advising intrusive or passive? Intrusive advising requires the student to have contact with the advisor; passive leaves that decision to the student. Second, they consider the "operating philosophy" and distinguish between developmental and informational advising. Their third consideration is the type of advisor: faculty, professional, or peer. Citing Habley (1988), the final issues is the "organizational configuration" of the advisement; that is, whether advising is offered by faculty only, primarily by faculty but supplemented by others (perhaps professionals), or in one of five other arrangements.

Undergraduate advising in our program

The authors of this paper are involved in providing advising services to undergraduates in a large criminology program. At the moment, we have over 1,000 majors; in fact, about every 10th student on our campus is a criminology major. Obviously, we arenít the typical department on campus, and not surprisingly, we often have had to develop new ways to meet student demands. As our faculty to student ratio might suggest, advising is one area in which we have had to be creative.

Relying on Flanagan et al. (1997), we can classify our approach to undergraduate advising. It is largely passive; students are required to see an advisor to get scheduling materials, but typically little advising takes place at that time. In other departments on campus, this is an opportunity for real contact. With over 1000 students dropping by to pick up materials, we are hard pressed to do more than hand them out and urge students to "come back next week when things are less hectic".

 

In our view, Miville and Sedlacek (1995), quoting Trombly and Holmes (1981), offer a useful way of defining the responsibilities of advisement: "Academic advising involves Ďthe provision of educationally-related information and guidance to students confronted with choices and alternative paths in their educationí" (p.20). Our operating philosophy is both prescriptive and developmental. From the prescriptive view, we think advising needs to be limited to matters that pertain directly to the undergraduateís education (e.g. course selection, graduation requirments). It is not counseling and it is not mentorship, and advisors who stray into these areas do both the student and themselves a disservice. On the other hand, in our view, the goal of advising is to enable the student to make decisions for him or herself, based on the best information he or she can amass -- some of which, but not all, we can provide. What we are seeking is not an absence of decisions to make or problems to solve; it is to enable the student to make those decisions or address the problems competently. The third and fourth dimensions suggested by Flanagan et al (1997) are part of the topic for this paper. We are using a combination of approaches to provide advising services: A centralized advising center and a peer mentoring program.

Advising Center: Initially we created a centrally located Advising Center and bifurcated the advising functions. All Criminology students can obtain advising help on a "walk-in" basis at the Center. We are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and the Center is staffed by a group of Graduate Advisors . The Graduate Advisors provide what we see as "first tier" advising functions. These functions include, but are not entirely limited to, maintaining student records, going over progress toward graduation, devising tentative course schedules, attempting to find open sections for students (this is an especially salient issue within our department), acting as the first line of processing regarding a variety of official student actions (e.g. taking a course pass/fail, securing pre-approval for transfer courses), and serving as the general liaision between the department and the undergraduate population.

Additionally, each student is assigned a faculty advisor. The faculty advisor handles what we consider "second tier" advising matters. These involve discussion of specific career goals, changes of majors, and the more profound academic issues, such as withdrawing from school. For example, students are often unsure about whether or not criminology is the best major for them, or whether graduate school is a reasonable choice. In such instances and in other more idividually specific circumstances, students are referred to their faculty advisor (Bernlohr 1997). These matters are also handled by the Chair and Assistant Chair, sometimes working directly with the student, sometimes working with the student and the faculty advisor.

Peer advising: In a step aimed at addressing more transition/adjustment issues, we have also been experimenting with a Peer Advisor program. We implemented a pilot program during this academic year (1997-1998). The pilot program focuses on transfer students. We chose this focus for two reasons: (1) transfer students have limited time period in which to get "up to speed" relative to other students; and (2) transfer students represent a relatively small group. This academic year, we have admitted about 120 transfer students.

The goals and methods of the Peer Mentoring program are straightforward. As described in a Peer Mentor Packet (Shields and Empie 1997), the goal is to "create a sense of community, friendship, and cooperation within the Department of Criminology". We recuit upper level (most are juniors), student volunteers. The mentors attend a training session, and are introduced to transfer students at orientation. Mentors are familiar with our universityís policies and procedures and can address issues for these sutdents that not only aid the transfer student, but free up the graduate advisorsí time to deal with other advising responsibilities.

At the time of this writing, an assessment of the peer mentoring program is underway. Our preliminary (and admittedly unsystematic) observation is that the program shows some promise. The peer mentors have stated that the transfer students find the general orientation meetings to be very useful. In addition to welcoming the students and providing a general overview of the department, this is where the mentors and students meet and discuss immediate concerns and how to keep in touch. The amount of interaction between mentors and students has varied; some transfer students stay in contact, others do not. In general, we see areas for improvement and plan to offer the program next year. Eventually, we would like to make it available for incoming freshmen; at our current rate of admissions, however, expansion will depend on receiving additional resources for the department.

The Survey

We wanted to get some indication of how well we are serving the needs of our undergraduates. As noted above, there is frequently a difference between what undergraduates want from an advisor, and what role the advisor sees as appropriate. We decided to survey our undergraduates to ask the students what they want in an advisor, and then ask them how well our Advising Center is performing. The evaluative purpose is intended to be formative: our Center is relatively new, and recently reorganized. We hoped the survey would give us some direction for improvement of services, and a baseline assessment of student satisfaction.

The survey is divided into four parts. The first set of questions concerns the priority that students assign to various aspects of advising. Our list of items was taken largely from Fielstein and Lammers (1992) with some modification to reflect the survey used by Severy et al. (1994). The list includes 19 items that range from technical matters (e.g. "Explaining the requirements for graduation.") to future goals (E.g. "Exploring potential career choices.") to personal support (E.g. "Talking with you about problems with family or friends."). Students are asked to indicate whether each item is a "Top Priority", "Neutral", or "Not a Priority".

The second set of questions repeats the list of advising activities and this time asks students to what extent the item is descriptive of their experience with the Advising Center; responses range from "highly descriptive" to "descriptive" to "not descriptive". The third section of the questionnaire asks students to indicate their preferences for centralized advising or individual faculty advisors delivery of a range of services. The fourth and final section collected demographic information.

Sample design and respondent characteristics

We used a large availability sample to conduct this study. Essentially, we purposively selected a range of core courses (from 100 level to 400 level) taught over a variety of time slots (8:00am through evening) and class days (Monday and Tuesday), and invited the students in those classes to participate. The surveys were handed out in class and completed during the first 15 minutes or so of class time. Responses were voluntary and anonymous. [*Footnote: Because our major is oversubscribed, all Criminology classes are restricted to Criminology major and minors only.]

The survey response rate is adequate for our purposes. Estimating it precisely is not straightforward due to the way the questionnaires were administered. Using the most conservative approach -- looking at the proportion of returned questionnaires (216) to total students registered for these classes (305) -- yields a response rate of 71 percent. If we adjust the base by 10 percent to take into account students who are absent or who are registered for more than one of these classes, the response rate would be 78 percent.

The demographics of our sample are as follows: Class Year Gender

Freshman 13.1 Female 43.1

Sophmore 20.4 Male 56.9

Junior 39.8

Senior 26.7

 

Age Race

under 24 90.1 Af/Amer 7.4

24 & over 9.9 Asian 3.2

Caucasian 84.7

Full time 95.1 Other 4.7

 

Transfer Student Declared Crim. at admission

Yes 26.5 Yes 70.4

No 73.5 No 29.6

 

n= 191

 

 

 

While the survey does a fair job representing enrollment in our core courses, it is clear that

 

the survey responses under-represent freshman and over-represent juniors. What follows, then, is a preliminary report of the findings. We report raw numbers and indicate, where we can, what adjustments the sample demographics suggest. A re-weighted analysis is planned.

 

 

FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

What do students want?

Student responses indicate that their primary concerns are with technical advising and career counseling. Secondary concerns involve discussion of long range goals, and, to a lesser extent, university policies and procedures. The items most often ranked as "top priority" include:

Table 1: Top ranked advising activities

Questionnaire % Top % Descriptive &

Item Priority Highly/Descriptive

 

Explaining the requirements for graduation. 88.0 73.2

 

Discussing course selection. 85.2 73.6

 

Exploring potential career choices. 83.3 52.4

 

Keeping regular office hours and 80.6 85.2

being accessible.

 

Discussing your career goals. 77.8 53.8

 

Helping you plan a course of study 73.1 53.8

for a few semesters at a time.

 

Discussing your long range 67.6 51.9

educational goals.

 

Explaining university policies and 52.3 62.7

procedures.

 

Explaining registration procedures. 51.4 64.9

 

Knowledge of your prior course- 48.1 37.8

work and grades.

 

n = 214

 

Students show far less concern than we expected with most items that tap the personal, supportive, aspects of advising. To some extent, this may be a product of the small percentage of freshman participants (13.1%). As previously noted, our Dear Advisor letters indicate that a fair proportion of incoming freshmen are concerned about transition/supportive, aspects of advising. The survey was conducted in the Spring semester, however, so some of those concerns may have passed. Nonetheless, our data show the following regarding personal, supportive, aspects of advising.

Table 2: Items of less concern to undergraduates

Questionnaire % Top % Descriptive &

Item Priority Highly/Descriptive

 

Making referrals to other campus 35.2 54.3

offices.

 

Suggesting ways to improve your 32.4 41.5

study skills.

 

Being open to the idea of helping 25.0 33.5

you with personal problems when you

request help.

 

Helping you improve your inter- 19.0 33.2

personal/social skills.

 

Working on building your self-esteem 18.1 31.3

& improving your academic self-image.

 

Recognizing you out of the office. 18.1 27.9

 

Openness to discuss topics 16.7 67.6

other than academics.

 

Knowing your background, i.e. 10.2 29.6

where you are from and what high

school you attended.

 

Talking with you about problems with 5.6 23.1

family or friends.

 

n = 216

 

The tendency for students to rank administrative matters -- graduation requirements, procedures and policies -- and career/long range goal information over personal contact is supported by another question on the survey. We presented students with a forced choice that pitted the

personal against the instrumental and the majority of the students chose the instrumental focus:

Table 3: Which would you prefer?

 

An advisor who really knows An advisor who knows you by

the requirements for graduation. by name and remembers you

from earlier contacts.

 

64.8% 32.9%

 

Differences by class year: We examined the responses to see if class year made any noticeable difference in preferences. In terms of both student concerns and perceptions of Advising Center services, class year does not seem to play a consistent role in shaping opinions. Nonetheless, freshmen and seniors did tend to deviate from the norm on numerous issues. When they did deviate, almost invariably, freshmen views were of a positive nature and seniors of a negative nature with regard to advising center functions. Freshmen, were more likely to report that the following activities are descriptive or highly descriptive of services provided at the Advising Center: Helping to improve study skills, openness to helping students with personal problems, referring students to other services, working on building student self-esteem and improving academic self-image, explaining registration procedures, discussing problems related to family and friends, helping to improve interpersonal/social skills, and openness to discuss topics which are not education-related. In addition, freshmen also tend to prefer the services of the Advising Center as compared to a faculty advisor regarding going over graduation checklists.

Conversely, regarding numerous activities, senior tend to judge services at the Advising Center as non-descriptive. These activities are as follows: Explaining registration procedures, explaining policies and procedures, planning course schedules for future semesters, exploring career choices, and discussing long-range educational goals. As a general rule, freshmen and seniors, as in reality, tend to bookend sophomores and juniors regarding descriptions of the services in the Advising Center. Also, seniors tend to rate the overall performance of the Advising Center (53% not very good) visibly lower than other classes.

Satisfaction with the Advising Center services

It is clear from inspection of Tables 1 and 2 that our undergraduates give mixed reviews to the services of the Advising Center. We asked directly about satisfaction, and then looked to see if class year has an influence in the expected directions. Overall, students are quite modest in their praise of our efforts, and class year does influence their opinions.

Table 4: GLOBAL SATISFACTION WITH ADVISING CENTER

Item: Overall, how do you rate the Criminology Percentage

Advising Center?

Total F S J Sr

Does a good job 12.6 12 21 13 10

It's OK 34.6 24 34 40 29

Not very good 30.8 24 16 25 53

Can't judge 22.0 40 29 21 8

 

Total 100.0 100 100 100 100

(n) (214) (25) (38) (75) (51)

 

This is not a great report card: less than half of our students -- 47.2% -- say that the Advising Center is doing a "good job" or an "OK" job. If we drop out of the analysis the 47 students who said they "canít judge" the Advising Center and recalculate percentages for the group as a whole, the Advising Center ratings are more favorable: 16 percent rate the Advising Center as "good", 44 percent rate it as "OK" and 40 percent rate it as "not very good." Even with the recalculation, it is clear that a very large group of our students are unenthusiastic about the advising services the Center provides.

We arenít sure how upset we should be with these findings. Given our large undergraduate population, and recent restructuring of the advising function, such results could have been anticipated. It would be nice if we had some comparative prior data on global satisfaction-with-advising measures. Conventional wisdom holds that undergraduates, as a group, are not particularly satisfied with the advising they receive (Flanagan et al. 1997).

If we look back at the individual items in Tables 1 and 2, we find some within sample comparative data. Looking first at Table 1, we see that relative to the priority the students assign career and long range goal discussions, the Advising Center performance is viewed as somewhat lacking. For example, fully 83.3 percent of the students rate"Exploring potential career choices" as a "top priority" activity, while just over half 52.4 percent say this is descriptive or highly descriptive of the Advising Center. (We will remind readers that as we have divided advising responsibilities, career planning and long range planning are more properly provided by the faculty advisor ó and this survey did not assess satisfaction with the faculty advisor.) And, on the other hand, we seem to be doing well with explaining graduation requirements and university policies. Interestingly, the items listed in Table 2 are more likely to be rated as descriptive of the Advising Center activities than as a priority among our students. It appears that we may have misspent a good bit of our time. It may also be true that the logic of two-tiered advising system is lost on our students; they may expect or desire a full service advising center.

Preferences for location of advising services

Our departmentís decision to go with a two-tiered advising system has raised some concerns on this campus about student satisfaction. The assumption is that students would rather have a faculty member give advice than a peer or graduate advisor. Accordingly, we asked the students to indicate where they would prefer to receive a variety of advising services. The results, presented in Table 5 below, indicate that students are often indifferent to the source of advising but show some preference for faculty advisors. Fifty percent of our students would prefer to have a faculty advisor review their class status; 45 percent want job/career advice from a faculty advisor, and about 40 percent would like to have a pre-approval of their graduation requirements and help with planning a schedule done by a faculty advisor. One noticeable difference is that freshmen are more likely to prefer that the advising center staff review their graduation checklists. The findings suggest that we need either to realign our advising functions, or to educate our undergraduates about the accuracy and dependability of the services provided by the center. As the Advising Center is relatively new, both options seem feasible; the finding that freshmen are comfortable with the Advising Center is encouraging.

 

 

Table 5: PREFERENCE FOR SOURCE OF ADVISING INFORMATION

 

TOPIC ADVISING FACULTY

CENTER ADVISOR EITHER

 

Graduation requirements 30.1 37.5 32.4

 

Review of your individual 24.1 50.5 25.5

status (i.e. credits earned)

 

Pre-approval of graduation 30.1 41.2 28.7

checklist

 

Referral to other university 34.7 24.1 41.2

services

 

Law school or graduate school 27.8 34.7 37.5

information

 

Job/career advice 20.4 45.8 33.3

 

Help establishing course 27.8 39.4 32.4

schedule

 

 

 

Making referrals to other offices and services

 

A final area of interest for us was with student perceptions about referral to other offices for services. As noted earlier, we view our job as assisting students to gather and process the information they need to make informed judgments about their education. This often requires that the student take responsibility for locating answers to their questions. By and large, our students donít seem to appreciate our efforts to direct them to additional sources of information/service.

As is evident in Table 2, students do not give much priority to referral to other offices; about one-third (35.2%) rank referral as a "top priority"; however, over half (54.3%) say this is descriptive of the Advising Center. Elsewhere, when confronted with a forced choice, students clearly favored the advisor who would attempt to provide services him or herself:

 

Table 6: Which would you prefer?

 

An advisor who is able to An advisor who tries to

refer you to others for help you himself or herself

help. with a wide variety of issues.

 

15.3% 83.8%

 

 

Given the range of services that our students require, it is not -- in our view -- remotely reasonable for students to expect a single source of help. We routinely refer students to the Writing Lab, and the Learning Center, and the Careers Office. Less frequently, but still often enough, we refer students to sources of help for more personal problems. We believe that students need to be educated about and to understand the necessity for the referral system. We also firmly believe that faculty advisors need to be knowledgeable about making referrals. We have made an effort to train the Graduate Advisors to know when, where, and how to make a referral. To be effective, this knowledge base needs to be more than causal.

Conclusion

The findings of this preliminary study of student satisfaction provide a number of useful insights and directions for the immediate future. It seems clear that our undergraduates are only moderately impressed with the advising services they receive. While about 60 percent are positive in their assessment, 40 percent are not. That such lackluster showings appear to be common is little consolation to those of us who direct time and energy to the process. One obvious suggestion is to concentrate our efforts on those areas that the students consider most important -- academic requirements and procedures, and career planning/discussion of future plans -- and to reduce the amount of time spent on other matters.

Perhaps equally obvious, we need to educate our students about the nature of the advising services we offer. On concrete level, for example, our students donít seem to understand that the Graduate Advisors are a credible source of information, and there is no need to verify information with a faculty member. We can make it clearer to our students that the Graduate Advisors are administratively responsible and that the department will honor their decisions.

On a more abstract level, we need to educate our students about our goals in the Advising Center. We are aiming for a relationship with our students that is more developmental than prescriptive: we help them by providing information and direction to other sources; they make the decisions about their program and their future. Our undergraduate students retain the responsibility for their education. It is our impression that many undergraduates want us to tell them what to do; we donít see this as a reasonable role. We can increase our efforts at education at orientation sessions and in the literature we put out, and we can explain more carefully the reason we are making referrals to other offices.

Emphasis on the role of advising in higher education is growing. This survey provides us with a baseline against which we can measure our performance, and it provides some direction for how to improve services and student satisfaction. More generally, it provides those of us who are responsible for undergraduate advising with one model for formative evaluation of this aspect of our profession. The need for performance measures in our profession is real. This is one area in which faculty should help shape both the nature of the services provided and the measures by which they are evaluated.

Appendix A: Responses to questionnaire items 1-19 and 20-37.

 

Questionnaire % Top %Descriptive

Item Priority Highly/Descriptive

 

Suggesting ways to improve your 32.4 41.5

study skills.

 

Being open to the idea of helping 25.0 33.5

you with personal problems when you

request help.

 

Explaining the requirements for 88.0 73.2

graduation.

 

Making referrals to other campus 35.2 54.3

offices.

 

Working on building your self-esteem 18.1 31.3

& improving your academic self-image.

 

Keeping regular office hours and 80.6 85.2

being accessible.

 

Explaining registration procedures. 51.4 64.9

 

Talking with you about problems with 5.6 23.1

family or friends.

 

Discussing course selection. 85.2 73.6

 

Explaining university policies and 52.3 62.7

procedures.

 

Helping you plan a course of study 73.1 53.8

for a few semesters at a time.

 

Knowing your background, i.e. 10.2 29.6

where you are from and what high

school you attended.

 

Exploring potential career choices. 83.3 52.4

 

Helping you improve your inter- 19.0 33.2

personal/social skills.

 

Recognizing you out of the office. 18.1 27.9

 

Discussing your long range 67.6 51.9

educational goals.

 

Discussing your career goals. 77.8 53.8

Knowledge of your prior course- 48.1 37.8

work and grades.

 

Openness to discuss topics 16.7 67.6

other than academics.

 

 

 

 

FOOTNOTES