Mears: Students need to be more involved in degree planning
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 01:09
We've all seen the signs around campus lately: Now advising for Spring 2013!
While many students argue that it is the adviser’s “fault” that they have to retake a class or take another class because they were not advised that it was required for their field of study, I believe that many students are going into the advising process blind. Students go in thinking that it is solely up to the adviser to make an outline of what they need to take for the next semester; however, the advising process is a two way street.
Sam Houston requires its students to be advised before signing up for classes but students are still having problems when it comes to making their schedules perfect and making sure they are headed down the right path for graduation. One such student, Courtney Belk, a senior education major working towards graduating in December 2013, explains that she was advised to take a physics course rather than the first bilingual education class that is required of education majors and due to this Belk says that she is now a semester behind.
I personally have had my fair share of problems in the SAM Center. During the second semester of my freshman year at SHSU, I went to the advising center, ready to be advised for the Spring 2012 semester, thinking that the adviser would just point to this class and that class, give me their business card and send me on my way. To be honest, that is basically what happened.
Yet, when I went to sign up for my classes, I was completely confused and lost as to what classes I needed to take because I had not paid attention during the advising process. I had lost my adviser’s notes that he had given me as a sort of set of guidelines.
At the time, I was unaware that I could access DegreeWorks on my own computer. It wasn’t until the beginning of this semester that I learned how to access it on my own, so that I could view my degree plan and any notes that any adviser I had met with up to that point had put on my profile.
The Houstonian spoke with Wesley Boyd, associative director of Academic Advising. He commented on the issue of student false advising.
“Most of the students at Sam are great, wonderful, ambitious and on top of things, but many of them come into my office to be advised, and they have no clue whatsoever as to what they should be doing or what we expect of them here at SHSU,” Boyd said.
Boyd explained that the reason many students were so clueless as to what is required of them in their field of study is because a significant number of students are not aware of the fact that DegreeWorks is accessible to them whenever they need it. Therefore, the students go in to the advising process blind, handing over responsibility for their next semester to the adviser thinking that the adviser is going to give them the perfect schedule. Boyd stated that the advisers are here “to guide students and lead them in the right direction, but the students are free thinking adults and I cannot tell them what to do.”
It seems rather foolish for a student to hand over their education plan to an adviser who has only known them for a few minutes and only knows facts about them based off of their DegreeWorks profile. To solve this issue, I think that advisers should show students how to access DegreeWorks from their own computer during their first advising session.