New law creates standards for Texas college advisors
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 01:09
The advising centers at every Texas state school will now be required to provide an assessment of the services they offer after the Texas Legislature passed a bill made effective Sep. 1. The assessment is not to be of the advisors themselves, but rather of the center’s program as a whole and how much students are learning from their visits to advising centers.
According to the Texas Senate Bill No. 36, the means by which the centers are to accomplish the assessment are to use student surveys to determine where knowledge is lacking and to determine ways to measure the effectiveness the institution is having on the student population.
Bill Fleming, Ph.D., executive director of the Student Advising & Mentoring Center (SAM Center) and one of the members on the state committee who helped devise the assessment plan, said that the bill came about because the legislators themselves were concerned their own children were not getting advised properly and wanted to remedy the problem.
The concern over misadvising had also touched the SHSU campus as several students had tales of themselves or friends who experienced difficulties with the SAM Center.
Grant Howarth, SHSU Junior and Music Therapy major, recounted that his experience with the SAM Center almost cost him a semester. Howarth said that he was misadvised and had to be advised three times before connecting with the right advisor, which he was not able to do until the second week of classes.
“It was frustrating because I hadn’t been here before as a freshman and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing,” Howarth said. “I would have wasted an entire semester if I hadn’t called to see why my classes looked strange.”
Fleming expects that the new assessment will be able to clear up some of the confusion and chaos that seems to permeate college advising, but says that there can always be mistakes in the process, particularly in the few weeks before classes start.
“We usually only see students once a semester, so it’s difficult to take enough time to explain everything properly in the amount of time we have,” Fleming said. “It gets even worse when everyone floods in the week before classes and we have to limit our time with the students.”
Fleming is hopes the assessment will enable the SAM Center to learn new tips to help SHSU students become more familiar with their studies.