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Advising and Mentoring

“Faculty members advise and mentor students as an important component of their scholarship in teaching and learning. By serving as academic advisers and mentors, faculty provide effective guidance so students can maximize their educational opportunities and make critical decisions regarding education, career, and life goals. Faculty mentor students to help them become responsible citizens of their profession and the global community.  Successful academic advising depends on the ability of the adviser and advisee to recognize the nature of the academic advising process, address specific components of academic advising, and together be responsible in the advising process.”(Faculty Handbook, 2012, Appendix 2 – Components of Effective Teaching)

Components of Advising

Academic advising has three components:

  • curriculum (what advising deals with),
  • pedagogy (how advising does what it does),
  • and student learning outcomes (the result of academic advising).

The curriculum of advising ranges from the ideals of higher education, the meaning, value, and interrelationship of the institution’s curriculum and co-curriculum, the selection of degree plans and courses to the pragmatics of enrollment. Academic advising, as a teaching and learning activity, requires a pedagogy that incorporates the facilitation and assessment of advising interactions and is characterized by mutual respect, trust, and ethical behavior.  The student learning-outcomes of academic advising are guided by an institution’s mission, goals, curriculum, and co-curriculum. These outcomes define what a student will demonstrate, know, value, and do as a result of participating in academic advising.


Organization of Advising

High quality advising of undergraduate students is widely recognized as essential for student success, retention, and timely progress toward a degree.  Undergraduate students at UTK may have several points of access to academic advising opportunities, including professional advisers, college advising center staff, and department faculty advisers. It is certain, however, that nearly every undergraduate student seeks (whether formally or informally) some kind of academic advice from faculty members during his or her academic career. For official academic policy on undergraduate advising, please refer to the undergraduate catalog.

In most colleges/schools, professional advisers advise undergraduate pre-major and undecided students, and faculty advises students once they have progressed into a major or declared a major. This structure is referred to as a “blended” model of advising. Other colleges utilize professional advisers for all undergraduates, referred to as a “professional” advising model. In some cases, a college may choose to use only faculty to advise all students. The individual academic department or college determines specific faculty adviser/mentor roles, responsibilities, and workloads.