The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Sunday, March 3, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Academic advising: A work in progress

Early this semester, I was asked by my editors to investigate and report on the academic advising department here at UNC. I’ve found the last few months to be extremely rewarding.

We’ve talked to administrators, students and professors, and we’ve researched advising at peer institutions in an attempt to offer suggestions for improvement.

On the positive side, I have found a caring, hardworking director of academic advising and some great advisers, all of whom are open to feedback.

In addition, the Tar Heel Tracker is a fantastic new tool, and the newly revamped website is certainly a major improvement.

It’s been refreshing to see how hard advisers work. But they’re ultimately shackled by a deficient system, and there’s still work to be done.

Advising must immediately change its policies surrounding the application for graduation. Instead of making seniors apply the spring semester of their senior year, students should be able to apply for graduation in the fall.

That way they can make any necessary additions or alterations they need in order to graduate on time.

This is an easy fix that shouldn’t require any money or additional people. It will alleviate a lot of headaches and make life easier for students.

There is also an enormous disconnect between University Career Services and academic advising. Having academic advisers privy to resumes and career ambitions could significantly help students reach their goals and prepare properly for their desired careers.

This too should be an easy fix that does not require money. It just requires better avenues of collaboration and conversation.

Two weeks ago, I highlighted the extremely high ratio of students per adviser and the strain that this puts on both students and advisers. Without a significant influx of funding, there may not be a way in the near future for UNC to hire more advisers.

But perhaps relying more on departmental advising would both lower the loads on advisers and provide students with a more personal relationship with an adviser intimately connected to their major.

The conversations sparked by this series indicate that this is an important issue. The first step to improving academic advising is to get people talking about their concerns.

Members of the Parents Council as well as administrators have contacted me about these issues. Some are currently developing a plan to address the concerns we’ve raised.

We’ve brought many issues to light through this series. But we still have a long way to go. Administrators aren’t the only ones capable of creating improvements. If there’s going to be substantial change, it needs to come from the student level. If this is an issue you care about, now’s the time to speak up and make sure that words become actions.

In just a few weeks, I will walk through the quad for the last time as a student and I will tearfully say goodbye to a university that I have truly come to love.

It is my sincerest hope for future generations of Tar Heels that we work to improve academic advising and think creatively on how we can deliver the best guidance to our students.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.