Mar. 23, 2020

A note on advising

Dear Faculty Colleagues,
With students scheduled to begin to register for fall courses starting April 1, it's time to be thinking about advising. Your conversations with students always inform their academic trajectories, but the ones you're about to have will take on added significance in the current context. As you prepare for advising, consider the following:
  • The initial advising period will go from April 1st to 3rd.  This means that it will be important to check in with your advisees and distribute Pin numbers by March 31st.
  • However, the pre-registration period lasts into May, as students can register for fall classes until the last day of finals.
  • We recognize that the current challenging circumstances may mean that your discussions about course choices may need to extend beyond April 3rd.  This is all right, since students will be able to continue to add and drop courses over the next 6 weeks.
  • Beth Labriola, the Registrar, has sent instructions to faculty and students about the registration.  You can also refer to her March 13th message to the faculty for more information about pre-registration details. 
  • Faculty, especially those with large numbers of advisees, might consider the ways in which available technology can assist with scheduling and communication. The Moodle page, Resources for Academic Continuity, offers an example. If you've found effective ways to advise, please consider sharing by uploading your tips to Moodle. [insert link] We're also interested in hearing from you. 
  • Your advising work with students provides a reassuring constant in a time in which so much is in flux, just as it helps to establish your own routine.  Students have let us know how much it means to them that a faculty member has reached out.
  • We know the importance in which you hold advising. But consider your circumstances--you're engaging in the emotional work of supporting students whose semester took an unexpected turn at the same time that you're in the process of adapting to remote instruction--and don't hold yourself to an ideal which may be hard to attain under normal circumstances.  We are all trying to do the best we can during this unprecedented period.
  • The Class Deans (Emily Morash for 1st years; Carmela Patton for Sophomores; Marina Melendez for  Juniors and Seniors) have been communicating with students and are ready to assist you in any way they can.  They can help you make contact with a student, clarify credit/academic progression concerns, and give you resource information for emotional, medical, and financial support.  
  • Finally, for all of you currently teaching courses, we are receiving reports that some students who have returned home are struggling with a variety of challenges due to the outbreak.  Their families are undergoing health and economic stressors that may interfere with their ability to conduct their studies.  In addition, some of our international students were quarantined upon return to their home countries.  They are in hotels or camps that have unreliable internet and phone access.  We are asking that you show patience and flexibility as these students may have difficulty making consistent contact with you over the next few weeks.
  • Thank you for the resilience and creativity you have shown at each stage of this extraordinary disruption to our normal lives.  We hope that you can stay healthy and safe.           
With appreciation for your efforts, 
Jeff Cole and Jefferson Singer    
Jeff Cole, Dean of the Faculty
Jefferson Singer, Dean of the College