Last week, while sitting in a meeting about how important advising is, I posted on my facebook about the meeting. And this weekend, a colleague from a different area of campus (and thus not at the meeting), responded with a question about how we know we need to do better advising.
The follow up of her question was about how reasonable adults might make decisions that go against our advice, but that doesn't mean we did a bad job advising.
It's an interesting point. And it gets at the ways we faculty folks (and administrative folks, too), are constantly told that we're responsible for it all. We're responsible for students' learning as opposed to our teaching.
We're responsible for retention as opposed to advising.
And so on. I feel like I've been hearing this "responsible for" stuff so long that it's taken hold, even though I resisted. But it's still there, always there.
In practice, of course, I do hold students responsible, and I respect their decisions, even when they seem unwise to me. I know there are always factors I can't know in their decisions.
But I also know that there's a point at which I'm being held responsible by administrative people for students' decisions and actions, and it comes back to bite me and my department in nasty ways. (Last year, they started measuring stuff and then providing funding based on those measurements, as though they're meaningful and worth measuring.)
I think a lot of the reason I feel dread about this semester is feeling the insidious nastiness that's been building in education for a long time. But for me, I think it's reached a point of inducing my dread.