Rederth and Henning are not alone in their advising challenges, but such problems are not often brought to the school’s attention to be corrected. Owen said she rarely receives negative feedback about advising.
“Hopefully students will communicate that information out and they certainly can contact me as the advising coordinator and we can do some follow-up,” Owen said. “If we see some patterns we can do some additional training on those particular topics or I could at least follow up with the academic adviser the student had questions or concerns about. We try very hard to make sure people are trained and have the information that they need so that kind of thing doesn’t happen, but I guess the most important thing is that students are letting somebody know, because if we don’t know what’s going on, there’s not much we can do about it.”
Nichols had not heard negative feedback from students about advising either and said she was surprised by Rederth’s adviser situation, but suggested students take action and inform school officials and faculty, like the dean of the department
“Report it. Let us know. We’ll get them into more training, or if it’s an issue, we can deal with it that way as well,” Nichols said.
Similar to Rederth’s actions she took when she wasn’t receiving the guidance she needed, Owen said some upperclassmen come to the First Year Advising Center to receive advice if they are not getting it from their appointed adviser in their department.
“We do occasionally get upperclassmen who come to us because they feel they aren’t getting the right advice, so they come to our office and we try to work with the departments and try to make sure the student is getting the correct information from a good source,” Owen said.
In order to prepare advisers to handle situations like Rederth’s in the “right way,” advisers go through two week training programs before meeting with students according to Owen and continuously train throughout the year according to Nichols. But Henning believes advisers, and faculty advisers in her situation, should receive more training.
“It would just be nice if they had more training and were more thorough when they’re checking our classes, because it makes a huge difference when you find out you need a class your last semester and it’s only offered in that fall or spring and then that really messes you up with graduation,” Henning said. “I’m not trying to bash all advisers—they have a lot of students to work with, and it’s on us too to know what classes we need, but … when there’s so many stories of students having bad experiences it’s hard to think that it’s not something they’re doing wrong and they need to do something there.”