Letter: Adviser training inadequate; university should compensate before introducing evaluations

Ben Rowley

Associate Biology Professor and Faculty Senator

In my opinion, faculty are being shortchanged a bit, especially in the last statement of last week’s editorial (“…Faculty Senate should not stall the introduction of adviser evaluations just because it does not want to put in the effort necessary to help students succeed.”) We all want to do right by our students and help them on the path to success, but some people have different strengths than others.

While some faculty are naturally more adept at advising students than others, part of the problem is we receive spotty/limited (or occasionally no) training in advising itself. Faculty members who aren’t very good at advising to begin with, coupled with lack of training prior to engaging in advising, are not going to excel at the process. Members of the faculty senate voiced those concerns in the last meeting, seeking stronger and more uniform training to go along with adviser evaluations.

The concerns out of this meeting boiled down to two generalities (again, in my humble opinion): 1) We [faculty]would like clearer and more uniform preliminary training on advising processes if we are going to be evaluated on them as a part of our job performance, and 2) While we [faculty]strive to provide a positive and helpful experience to our student advisees overall, the evaluation plan as stated places much of the burden of accountability onto us, and not onto the students.

In the end, the larger portion of accountability for completion of a degree should rest with the individual earning the degree (as you state yourself in the piece).

No one is stalling the idea – we just want to do it properly and most effectively for all parties involved. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify my position on adviser evaluation plans.

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