Academic Advising at Western State Colorado University
The following guidelines will assist faculty as they advise students throughout their academic career:
Advising Mission Statement
Western State Colorado University promotes the intellectual maturity and personal growth of its students. The aim of academic advising at WSCU is to assist students in becoming lifelong learners by developing educational plans that are compatible with their academic, career, and life goals and to assist students in developing an appreciation of values appropriate to a liberally educated individual.
The role of faculty in the academic advising process is to guide this student initiated development process and nurture the skills necessary to remain committed to a lifetime of learning. The role of the student in the academic advising process is to develop short-term and long term academic goals.
Contact advisor to make advising appointments at least once each semester to discuss progress, goals and semester schedules. Immediately contact advisor if cannot keep a scheduled appointment and reschedule the meeting.
Be prepared for these meetings with preliminary semester plan, questions, and appropriate catalog material. Specifically, have access to and know how to use current catalog.
Know requirements for completing degree. Ask advisor for guidance and clarification when requirements are not understood.
Work with advisor to establish and clarify academic and career goals. Seek referrals to other campus offices when one needs additional guidance.
Take action and accept responsibility for own academic success at Western State Colorado University.
Make informed decisions and register for classes on time.
Become informed and empowered to advocate on one’s own behalf.
Seek out information regarding academic calendar and deadlines, and be responsible for taking action as needed within those deadlines.
Maintain original copies of all advising records and documents and bring to each advising session.
Stay current regarding discipline as well as university policies and procedures.
Be knowledgeable about the University resources and how students access them, e.g., financial aid, career services, Academic Resource Center, library resources, mental health counseling, disability services, multicultural center, service learning opportunities.
Maintain confidentiality, and be knowledgeable about legal issues related to student records such as FERPA, ethics, sexual harassment, and students’ rights and responsibilities as defined in the student handbook.
Post hours and provide contact information so students can make advising appointments. Keep scheduled appointments and contact students to reschedule when necessary.
Provide guidance and assistance to students in the decision making process in areas such as forming semester plans, short and long term academic and career goals, and time management. Be sure students are informed about their responsibilities regarding the advising process. Help students define and develop realistic goals.
Maintain original copies of all advising records and documents and bring to each advising session.
Establish standards for student advising documentation, require that students and advisors maintain copies, and establish a system for that information to transfer to new advisor if advisor changes.
Set clear responsibilities for students and faculty advisors.
Provide professional development for advising.
Provide clear and accessible tools such as advising check sheets and student/advisor agreements which clearly delineate the advisor and advisee roles.
Make resources available via a website. Include links to policies, procedures, internal advising information and national advising links.
Develop system for distributing transcripts electronically to faculty, in a readable format.
Seek student feedback on advising system regularly (assessment).
Following are the occasions during the freshman year when advisors will have the most contact with freshmen.
Freshman Orientation occurs during the summer and is an important first contact between advisors and their advisees. Faculty that are members of the Faculty Advising Corp (FAC) should review the general academic expectations of each of their advisees during their first meeting, and students' course schedules should be assessed to determine if they are registered for the appropriate classes. Advisors will also meet with advisees' parents to discuss the parents' roles and the manner in which they can assist their sons or daughters in making a successful transition into WSCU.
- Progress Reports are completed for first-year students, current and transfer students who have completed less than 27 credits, and students on academic probation. The purpose of requesting progress reports from faculty members is to improve retention by identifying students who are experiencing academic difficulties early in the semester. Through personal contact with these students, the goal is to identify problems early and to offer campus support to improve students' academic performance. These progress reports, collected after the completion of the fifth week of classes, provide data that are used to evaluate student performance early in the semester. Faculty will be sent reminders about the timing of the progress reports and the method by which to enter them into the system.
- Math and English entry-level competency. If a student does not meet the entry-level competency in math and/or English, the Placement Policy should be explained and the dates the Accuplacer test is offered should be given. Students may demonstrate competency by enrolling in Math 098, 099 or English 099 which are offered through Extended Studies at an additional cost.
- Mandatory meeting between FACs and advisees occur each fall. FACs meet with their first-year advisees to help orient them to the registration processes for spring registration. This meeting is also a good time to check in with advisees about their experiences and whether or not they intend to stay at Western.
- Spring Registration generally occurs in early November. Advisors are asked to place sign-up sheets on their office doors for students to schedule advising sessions prior to receiving their Advising Registration Code (ARC). Students must obtain their ARC codes prior to on-line registration. If an ARC is misplaced a new code can be obtained by accessing the advising function on Western OnLine (WOL). Tools many advisors use to help students understand their major and General Education (GE) requirements are major checksheets and GE checksheets.
- Fall Registration generally occurs after spring break. The same advising process is used as outlined above for spring registration.
Should have completed their General Education math (see GE or major requirements for specific math course required) and English requirements (ENG 102) and should consider taking COTH 202 at this point in their studies. In addition, advisors should work with students to ensure that progress toward majors (if chosen), minors, emphases, or second majors has begun. If advisees need assistance in choosing a major, setting an appointment with staff in the Academic Resource Center might be a consideration. They provide career guidance in developing, evaluating, and implementing a career plan.
Should complete a major checksheet and have Registration Services provide a graduation update during the last semester of their junior year. This typically happens during the semester when a student will earn between 80 and 90 credits.
Should be made aware of specific graduation forms and deadlines. Contact the Registrars Office with any questions. Advisors should review results from graduation updates with their senior advisees, including any additional competencies or GPA requirements of majors.
Certain situations require more specific advice:
Advising students who are on probation or probation after suspension.
The serious nature of this academic standing should be explained using the University Catalog as a reference and the student should be shown where to find the information. Students should be made aware of campus resources and can be referred to the Academic Resource Center for academic skills assistance. Additional information about available resources for students can be obtained by contacting the associate vice president for either academic or student affairs.
Athletes are required to register for at least 12 hours per semester and must take courses that will count toward the declared major. Because of practice schedule demands, some athletes will not be able to schedule afternoon classes. Athletes should check with their coaches for practice times during the upcoming semester.
Teacher Education Licensure
Students seeking teacher education licensure must also meet with a Teacher Education advisor. Holds are placed on student accounts until the student has met with this advisor.
Transfer students should initially be advised by a faculty member who has been identified as the transfer faculty advisor for a department or discipline. Contact the department chair or director for the designated transfer advisor.
- Guaranteed Transfer Courses. Courses approved for the Statewide General Education program are guaranteed to transfer to any public school in Colorado.
- Articulation Agreements and Transfer Guides. Students completing an AA degree at Colorado Mountain College may be able to transfer under an articulation agreement. Advisors in business, recreation, and biology should all be aware of the possible articulation agreements in their areas. Students completing courses at other designated colleges across the country may find that certain courses are guaranteed to transfer as well.
Changing major, minor, emphasis, or advisor can be accomplished by having the student fill out a Change of Major/Advisor form and turning it in to Registration Services.
Students must meet graduation requirements of the Catalog under which they entered. Use the forms on this link to track student's progress toward graduation. Major Checksheets.
Overloads. Students must complete a petition for overload form and return it to the Registration Services office. Signatures of the advisor, department chair, and associate vice president for academic affairs (if the student’s cumulative GPA is under 3.0), in that order, are required.
Getting lists of advisees, ARC codes, or accessing student transcripts
Western OnLine has great resources for getting information about advisees. To locate the appropriate section in WOL, log on to your account, select the “School Services” tab, select the “Administrative Services” option and then go to “Faculty Services.” The functions listed above as well as additional useful information are available.
Academic Resource Center (ARC) If an advisor suspects that a student has an undiagnosed learning disability, a referral to the Academic Resource Center (Taylor 302, 943-7056) is appropriate.
Registration Services Staff in Registration Services can assist students in the process of registration, as well as with many specialized services such as transcript distribution, residency petitions, enrollment verification, graduation requirements, Veterans Services and placement testing (Taylor Hall 201, 943-2047).
Writing Center Western State Colorado University's Writing Center is a place where all members of the campus community can go for assistance in improving their writing skills (Library 115, 943-7079).
WSC Course Search is a quick way for advisors and students to determine what courses are available and how many seats still remain. Students and advisors may sort courses by discipline, GE area, or time of day or week.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Faculty Advising Corps (FAC)? The FAC is a group of faculty who advise students during the summer orientations. These advisors are trained to address the special needs and concerns of freshman, transfer, and undeclared students.
- How are advisees assigned to advisors? When new students register for classes, they are assigned to members of the FAC in their areas of interest or declared majors. Undeclared students are assigned an advisor in the Academic Resource Center. A student can, at any time, change his/her major or advisor by filling out a "Change of Major/Advisor" form available in the Registration Services office.
- Who advises students who have not declared a major? Freshmen who have not decided on a major are assigned an advisor in the Academic Resource Center and are part of the Exploratory Program. The ARC Advisors work with students in the Exploratory Program to assist in determining their interests, skills, and values and how that connects to a major and career.
- What are progress reports? Progress reports provide freshman and probationary student early feedback on their academic performance through the first five weeks of class. Registration Services provides instructors with progress report rosters. Instructors give students a mark of "satisfactory," "unsatisfactory," or "not-attending." Registration Services compiles the data, then prints and distributes the progress report to the student and his/her advisor. In addition, a summary report is provided to the Academic Resource Center, and the Student Services Committee (SSC). Students having notable academic difficulties may be contacted by ARC and/or SSC staff.
Additional Resources in Registration Services
- Academic Calendar
- Address Change
- Catalogs and Course Schedules
- Faculty Office Hours
- General Education Requirements
- GPA Calculator
- Graduation Information
- Major Checksheets
- Placement Policies
- Residency Information (tuition classification)
- Withdrawing from College
- Del Mar College has some excellent strategies for faculty advising at their Faculty Advising Handbook site.